Tesla Motors Charging Network

Tesla Motors Charging Network

I have seen some mention in this forum about Tesla's plans to deploy their own charging stations. I was wondering if anyone actually had more information on this. Where did this information/rumor come from? Was there any mention of when, how many and where these would be? Any speculation on where they should put them?

The obvious answer for me would be to have them along freeways between their retail/service locations with an interval of about 100 miles but that would take a very large number of them.

Could non-Tesla cars charge at these locations? So many questions. They all might become irrelevant if a large public charging network will appear but will either be in time for the Model S reservation holders to use when we get our cars?

Brant | October 20, 2011

I posted a video link of Elon discussing this on the "California participation in the green coast highway" thred last month. Not a lot of detail in his statement but worth viewing.

ncn | October 20, 2011

Not much detail on that subject, no. But it's a very interesting talk and questions, so thanks for linking it. (He mentioned something which surprised me about creating energy storage using silicon chip factory methods, which means there's someone I should put Mr. Musk in touch with.... but anyway.)

I emailed Tesla to tell them to please focus on the Chicago-East Coast corridors. Those routes are long -- long enough that level 2 charging will actually slow trips down. The entire area is very-high-population. And -- unlike the West Coast and East Coast -- it's all utterly deficient in alternatives to cars. Especially for intercity travel. Train service is minimal and slow, and air service is overpriced and slow.

Yet, it wouldn't really take very many fast charging stations to blanket the area. It's not like covering the Mountain West. It's the most fertile market for fast charging, I think.

Robert.Boston | October 21, 2011

@ncn: Agreed! An east-coast charging network would be easy and helpful. The I-95 corridor is the primary backbone. Working from the north, charging stations in New England should be set:

1. Augusta, ME: University of Maine at Augusta campus, I-95 exit 112. Between the state and university, this should be easy. From here, all of the tourist areas is reasonable (118 miles to Bar Harbor, 142 miles to Baxter State Park, even 240 miles to St. John, NB)

2. Kennebunk rest area (north- and south-bound). This is 25 miles into Maine, and gets you to all the south and mid-coast of Maine (105 miles to Camden ME).

3. (north-bound) NH welcome center, NH-MA state line; (south-bound) MW welcome center, MA-NH state line. This point is just north of the I-95 / I-495 split.

4. I-90 (Mass Pike) Charlton rest area: just east of the I-84 / I-90 split.

5. I-95, MA Exit 7. Not much here, but this is strategically located at the intersection of I-95 and I-495. Charge here and Cape Cod is entirely in range (117 miles to Provincetown). Also, hits just north of the I-95 / I-295 split around Providence RI.

6. New Haven. I-91 joins I-90 here, connecting easily to charging stations #4 and #5 above.

7. Greenfield, MA. About 100 miles north of #6, 125 miles west of #3, and along the important Rte 2 east-west route. Also a hotbed of sustainable farming.

8. Danbury, CT. About 110 miles west of #4, and just east of the I-84 / I-684 split.

9. White River Jct, VT. 84 miles north of #7, at the cross-roads of I-91 and I-89. 185 miles to Montreal.

10. Concord, NH. At the cross-roads of I-91 and I-93. Puts all of NH in play, including the White Mtn resorts.

I think that pretty well covers it -- 10 stations to serve 14.5 million people. Not a bad ratio.

gjunky | October 21, 2011

I had something similar in mind for the South West. There are the cities of Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix and Tucson with a total population of nearly 20 million connected by about 1000 miles of Freeway. It would take another 10 stations to cover these corridors as well. It would be great if Tesla could put chargers along these roads because most of the roads between the cities (except for San Diego-LA)have a very low density population (very few people living between the cities) and they are far enough apart to make it impossible for any electric car to make the trip without recharging in between.

I think it would make sense for us to start contacting local city governments and ask them for their plans to put in level-2 and level-3 chargers. Even if they don't have plans, this might just give them the idea. I have contacted my first one.

David M. | October 21, 2011

Sure, Tesla could do it eventually. But co-ops, or for-profit organizations could easily be formed by investors to install fast charging stations every 100 miles along every major east and west interstate. Example: I 10 corridor (2,300 miles), 24 Fast charge stations linking Florida to California.

A network of only 300 stations would be adequate for traveling just about anywhere in the USA with a Tesla vehicle capable of a 230 mile range (or more).

Or perhaps one or more companies will offer leases of Level 3 charging stations? Or perhaps a major hotel chain might offer to be a key partner for Level 2 charging?

Larry Chanin | October 23, 2011

"Sure, Tesla could do it eventually. But co-ops, or for-profit organizations could easily be formed by investors to install fast charging stations every 100 miles along every major east and west interstate. Example: I 10 corridor (2,300 miles), 24 Fast charge stations linking Florida to California."

Hi David,

Yes, Elon has made a few encouraging statements about donating fast charging stations, but I doubt there will be any sense of urgency while they are grappling with rolling out the Model S.

I wonder how much these chargers will cost if private organizations are going to try to pick up the ball from Tesla? The fact that the charger is proprietary is going to present a bit of a hurdle to private implementation. Even with fast charging a full charge could take up to 45 minutes. So having a fast charger at roadside restaurants on major highways, were you could have a leisurely meal while waiting, would be ideal locations. However, restaurants might be reluctant to dedicate parking spaces and contribute to the installation costs of chargers that can only be used by Tesla Model S cars. Even Roadsters couldn't use the charger without an adapter.


jackhub | October 23, 2011

In one of his interviews Elon said they could put in 12 charging stations and reach across the US @ a total of $1.2 million. I'm still searching for the source.

Larry Chanin | October 23, 2011


Does $100,000 per charger seem right to you?


David70 | October 23, 2011

I thought the number of stations would be at least 20. IIRC, the cost per station was no more than $50k.

jkirkebo | October 23, 2011

Meanwhile, Nissan will shortly be shipping CHAdeMO 50kW units for less than $10k...

Timo | October 24, 2011

Maybe Tesla buys Nissan CHAdeMO chargers and modifies them for Model S :-)

Brian H | October 25, 2011

No, he said one every 100 miles on all major routes. That would be at least 80-100.

Timo | October 25, 2011

Unless he is talking about one in every 100 miles in all major routes in Monaco :-)

Seriously talking, I don't think that covers Europe or Asia, so we are left behind in this. I hope there will be some global standard that is faster than CHAdeMO 50kW units that Model S can use.

jackhub | October 25, 2011

@Larry Chanin
Donno. From what I read it seems reasonable. What Tesla needs is a tie-in with some national chain that would like to have Tesla buyers coming to their properties.

Larry Chanin | October 25, 2011

"Donno. From what I read it seems reasonable. What Tesla needs is a tie-in with some national chain that would like to have Tesla buyers coming to their properties."

Hi Jack,

To me that number is too high, even if we consider the cost of installation. Yes, it would be nice if a national chain of say roadside restaurants would partner with Tesla, but I think that is unlikely especially if the installations cost $100,000 each. Why would they spend so much for a proprietary charger that only accommodates Tesla Models S sedans? Not even Roadsters could use that charger without an adapter. They could spend a lot less for a more standard charger that accommodates both Leafs and Volts that will be produced in much greater numbers than Model S sedans.


Loek | October 25, 2011

Jackhub, I remember reading hte same comment about crossing the country. That was from Mexico to Canada along I-5. Don't remember where I saw it though.

Mycroft | October 25, 2011

The electric highway initiative probably.

David70 | October 25, 2011

And that's being done by the states (WA, OR, CA). There are already enough level II chargers in those states to make it from Canada to Mexico. They aren't all on I-5 though.

Robert.Boston | October 26, 2011

Level II chargers don't really help much, though. Adding ~30-50 miles/hour makes for very long waits between driving segments. Helpful in emergency settings -- I'd rather have some way to charge compared to no way -- but not an enabler for long-distance touring.

David70 | October 26, 2011

Exactly, but if Tesla can get level III charges installed, it will make it feasible to take reasonable length (time) road trips. An hour stop for charging and eating every four hours doesn't significantly add to trip time.

Volker.Berlin | October 26, 2011

Here is a recent review of 5 different smart phone apps that locate your closest charging opportunities:

jackhub | October 26, 2011

Does anyone know what comprises a charging station? How many simultaneous charging operations can be handled? Perhgaps Elon had something more in mind than a single car station. Where is the principal cost?

Brant | October 26, 2011

"Mr. Musk said that the first Supercharger would be installed along Interstate 5 at the Harris Ranch in Coalinga, Calif., roughly halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, within the next three or four months."

David70 | October 26, 2011

Good. Now if they would put one at Barstowe Station.

jkirkebo | October 27, 2011

What they might consider doing after the currently reserved cars have been delivered is to jack up the price per car $1000 and use that money to build the quick charge network. If they sell 20,000 cars per year they will have $20M each year to expand the network. That should amount to a few hundred chargers per year.

The money would have to be reserved by country. If norwegians buy 500 cars in 2013 then $500k should be used in Norway the following year.

VPLACE | October 27, 2011

Does anyone know if Tesa's Model-S GPS will provide displays for re-charging locations the future??
That would be a great anxiouty (sp?) relief for traveling long distances!

Volker.Berlin | October 28, 2011

@VPLACE, I already replied in the other thread. It's usually not helpful to cross-post the same question to more than one thread.

ncn | October 29, 2011

I worked out potential locations using the 300-mile model S.

11 level 3 chargers in major cities would cover the entire triangle formed by Chicago, New York, and DC, plus most of Upstate New York and the populated half of Michigan.

Now that's a lot of population. And some of those chargers overlap the ones you'd want on the East Coast (NY, Philadelphia, DC).

For east coast-Chicago: NYC, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Toledo, Chicago
(also covers half of Michigan, much of Illinois, Connecticut, NJ, etc.)
To add most of upstate NY: Erie PA, Syracuse, Albany
(also ends up covering much of Pennsylvania)
To add Maryland and DC: DC
To add all of Ohio: Columbus
To add all of Indiana: Indianapolis

These 11 would also cover parts of West Virginia and Kentucky.

This is a short list to cover a huge, huge swath of population, and several of them are part of the desired East Coast network as well. Doubling the number (which could still be done entirely by locating in major cities) would make it possible for shorter range cars.

This really seems entirely within Tesla's reach. If they can manage the land acquisition, which given their store rollout I question.

Robert.Boston | October 30, 2011

@ncn: Level 3 chargers should be at mid-points, the "nowhere"s, between major cities. If I'm in DC, I'm staying overnight for business or pleasure, so Level 2 charging at my hotel will do the trick. The high-speed recharging of Level 3 is needed not at destinations, but at places I'm passing through.

gjunky | October 31, 2011

@robert: I agree completely.

Theoretical places for chargers are not at the edges of the car's range either. Even with a 300 mile pack, putting chargers 300 mile apart would make no sense as you can't guarantee if you could actually make it that far.
Putting chargers 100 miles apart would give you more flexibility. And those level 3 chargers would have to be in those "nowhere" spots like a restaurant along a mayor freeway. I am planning to get the 160 mile version simply because I can’t afford the larger ones. For me to drive any distance with the car, I would need chargers every 100 miles. Of course this would mean a 20-30 min charge every 1.5-2 hours!
For example: It is 365 miles to drive from my house to San Diego. This would require 3 charges in between if I started out with a full pack and then charge it again when I arrive. This is 5 hours of driving and 1.5 hours of charging in a best case scenario which is 6.5 hours. Really not much longer than taking the same trip in an ICE car.
The chargers would have to be spaced correctly and be available. If one of them is occupied, or worse, out of service, I would be “stuck” for the next 4-12 hours depending on what kind of other plug I could find. The benefit of the 100 mile interval being that I would still have range left to search for one :-)
So, yes, even with the 160 mile pack it is doable to drive long distances IF the infrastructure gets there.
I didn’t look / address the possible damage to the pack by rapid charging it so many times in a short period or the option to swap in a 300 mile pack for the trip if Tesla is going to provide this service.

Mycroft | October 31, 2011

As long as the fast charge is up to 75-80%, there shouldn't be much damage. And it's not like you're taking the trip every weekend.

An alternative that I'm going to use is to swap cars with a friend. They'll be fighting amongst themselves to be the "winner" who lends me their car for the weekend while they get to drive my sweet electric. :)

Volker.Berlin | October 31, 2011

Mycroft, that's the obvious solution. However, I am not sure if it's going to work for me. I'll be having a seriously hard time -- emotionally -- to leave my Model S with someone else for a week... ;-) And also, driving an ICE for any amount of time, and particularly for long trips, will be more dissatisfying than ever.

Mycroft | October 31, 2011

That's the problem with you Deutschlanders, you're such an emotionally sensitive bunch. :-D

Volker.Berlin | October 31, 2011

Particularly when it come to cars. So true.

Volker.Berlin | October 31, 2011


Brian H | October 31, 2011

But absence make the heart grow fonder; think how much more you'll appreciate the S after you return!

gjunky | November 1, 2011

The whole idea of buying this car is to use it ALL the time. This would be my first truly luxury car (whatever the definition of that is :-) )

I don't mind having other people drive the car. I actually think we need to have other people drive the car to promote EVs but I especially want to be able to drive the car on longer trips. I don't want to take an ICE car in those cases if I don't need to.

Call me emotional about cars too :). Aren't we all? Isn't that why we are standing in line to get the first years Model S?

jackhub | November 2, 2011

In the conference call, Elon talked about a public Tesla charging station being deployed in January/February with a capacity for 150 miles charging in 30 minutes. He seemed excited about an announcement that would be made at that time that would be 'very exciting' to the Tesla family. Perhaps a Tesla network of charging stations? I wish.

Robert.Boston | November 2, 2011

Almost surely he was referring to the Harris Ranch, CA facility. This facility has been announced as the first "supercharging" site.

David70 | November 2, 2011

A Tesla network is what I'm really hoping he announces. In talking to a Rep in the Park Meadows store in Denver last month he indicated an announcement about the rapid charging stations that would please most of us. Of course, he couldn't give any details. I'm just hoping he gives a list of locations and expected opening times for such stations.

jackhub | November 2, 2011


Yes, he mentioned that, but he also indicated there would be an announcement of something more that he found to be very exciting.

Klaus | November 8, 2011

The US is aproximately 3.8 million square miles (including Alaska and Hawaii and water). A charging station placed 100 miles apart, it would take 380 stations and that includes a lot of really remote areas. So I would estimate a much lower number to cover the entire US. So the question is, how much does it cost per station? Unlike gas stations, there isn't a need for large structures. Just someplace with access to electricty. One unit capable of say two cars at a time at each location. Then as electric vehicles become more populus, just add additional units where needed. Highway rest stops, restaurants and even existing gas stations, I think, will be quick to adapt.

Robert.Boston | November 8, 2011

Klaus, with a 100-mile radius, theoretically each charger serves a landmass of 10,000*pi ~ 31,416 sq. miles, so notionally 121 chargers can serve 3.8 million sq. miles. Optimal packing of circles is only 91% efficient, so bump that up to 133. (20 of those are for Alaska, though...)

Of course, the United States landmass is not a hexagon, so we'd need more. ;-)

Regardless, the idea that only 200-300 stations or so could blanket the U.S. and the southern tier of Canada says that this charging infrastructure is easily done.

petero | November 8, 2011

Tesla Rapid Charging Corridor LA to SF.

FYI. Courtesy of Earth Techling /Green Car Reports.

“In an official Tesla earnings call last week, Musk let slip where the first of these ultra-rapid charging stations would be: somewhere between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Musk joked that the massively powerful “Supercharger” 90 kilowatt charging stations looked a little like an advanced alien artifact, reiterating that the stations could easily add as much as 150 miles of range to a 2012 Model S in under 30 minutes. “

David70 | November 10, 2011

Driving from Desert Hot Springs to Sacramento I saw a large "neon type" Harris Ranch sign off to the right (east) side of I-5. I didn't know it was that close to the highway.

petero | November 11, 2011

Slightly off subject. We love eating at the Harris Ranch, it is worth a stop even if you don't charge up!

adlink | November 27, 2011

Besides CA, a Tesla rep mentioned a fast charge network between DC and Boston.

Robert.Boston | November 27, 2011

Oooh, yeah!

Mycroft | November 27, 2011

Yes, if that report turns out to be true and they implement it properly, it would open up a HUGE market for Tesla!