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A Big Advantage, the Tesla Motors Supercharger Network
Posted on May 27, 2015 by Matt Pressman
Yes, we know. Other car manufacturers are working hard to play "catch up" with Tesla and introduce new EVs (electric vehicles) over the next few years. So, who is out there scrambling to compete with Tesla? We'll get to that in a minute. But, before we analyze the so-called competition, let's focus on a key advantage Tesla already has in place -- it's ever-expanding Supercharger network.
To understand this advantage, let's contrast "road trip" charging from other car manufacturers entering the EV space. According to Autoblog, forthcoming EV competitors include: "the 2018 Nissan Leaf, next-gen Volkswagen e-Golf, Chevy Bolt, Audi R8 E-Tron sportscar and Q6 E-Tron SUV, an un-named Ford, Aston Martin DBX, and Porsche Pajun... [but] the big difference here is refueling infrastructure. Sure, Nissan has put a good deal of effort into the CHAdeMO network, but these... [CHAdeMO] stations only refuel at a rate of 62.5 kW at most, and usually less. Furthermore, a good many of these stations are located at dealerships on the West coast (with a few Eastern city exceptions), and not always accessible 24 hours a day. With this new bigger battery comes a need for even more charging speed, and this is where Tesla's 135-kW monster connection excels."
"Yes, an electric Porsche Pajun might be an awesome challenger to the Model X, and we look forward to hearing more details, but unless the Stuttgart company makes a deal with Tesla – an option CEO Elon Musk has said it is open to – it's unlikely to be supported by a charging network with the coverage and convenience of the Supercharger. Likewise, the Chevy Bolt is expected to be priced lower than the [Tesla Model] 3... But again, the SAE Combo charging network that the Bolt will use is, at this point at least, practically nonexistent, slower than the Supercharger at a maximum 90 kWs, and not free."
According to Tesla's website today, there are "437 Tesla Supercharger stations with 2,395 superchargers... [and] Model S is currently the only EV capable of charging at up to 120 kW, which equates to 170 miles of range in about 30 minutes." And, by the way, charging your Model S at a Supercharger is free. Plus, Tesla is augmenting it's Supercharger network with its fast-growing "Destination Charging" program with more than 800 locations worldwide including Costco, Hyatt, Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, and Westin.
So, how fast has the Tesla Supercharger network grown? Check out this clip showcasing Tesla supercharger network growth animated (2.5 years in a two minute video)...
Source, Youtube: Hubert Dekock
And, recently on Reddit, a few posters have put together some impressive/helpful charts to point out the remarkable worldwide growth and expansion of the Supercharger network. Note: for those in the U.S., check out the third chart below specifically identifying soon-to-be-built Supercharger locations currently under construction or permit. Click on any of the images below to enlarge...
So although we anticipate other car companies introducing new electric vehicles to their line-up, we continue to wonder if any of these players will be able to compete with Tesla's Supercharger network. Questions remain. Will they partner with Tesla? Will they invest in a similar network on their own? Can they match the speed, convenience, and footprint that the Tesla Supercharger network has already established worldwide? No matter how optimistic you might be on the other car manufacturers' upcoming EV programs, the big question remains... how will they compete with the Supercharger network?