Having last week driven the Tesla Model S at Millbrook proving ground, it is with great anticipation that yesterday’s announcement of Tesla’s electrified network is coming to Europe. As many of our readers will already know, the Tesla Model S is one of the most hotly anticipated cars ever created, let alone electric cars.
However, the focus of yesterday’s announcement was not focused on the Model S, but instead on Tesla’s Supercharger network. Already a rapdily expanding service offered in America, the exciting aspect of Tesla’s Supercharger system is that it is free to use and already here in Europe. If you’re lucky enough to live in Norway for instance, there is already in place a large network of strategically positioned Superchargers, enabling Tesla Model S owners to charge up around the entirety of Norway (in theory), utilising the excellent range given by the enormous battery pack installed in the Model S.
Speaking to the two Tesla representatives at last week’s CENEX LCV, I was told of a fun little trip they were sent on in Norway to drive around the entire country using nothing but Supercharger stations to top up the battery. Aside from the obvious joys this would have given, it proves the point and purpose of the network and more importantly, that it does indeed work. A short film was made about the trip which will be shown at Frankfurt this week.
Tesla have already shown and proven they also have the capability to swap batteries on the Model S altogether, rather than charge them, but there is not yet any information as to whether this will make it to the Supercharger stations they’re building. Complexity and cost are the two fundamental reasons why this wouldn’t be the case, but the point is that it can be done and they’ve proven the system and it’s fast – faster than filling up a fossil fueled vehicle for example.
At the Frankfurt Motor Show, Tesla is keen to gain popularity for Model S and deliveries have already started since August in Norway, followed by Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Iceland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland.
“The focus of Model S on design, engineering and performance makes it very well suited for the European market. This year has already been one of tremendous growth and expansion throughout Europe for Tesla and Model S. Before the end of this year, our European operations will expand even further, with new stores and service centres in locations including Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Stuttgart, Berlin, Paris, Cote d’Azur/Provence, Stavanger, Vienna, Amsterdam, Basel, Geneva, Rotterdam, Arnhem, Stockholm and London.”
Said Elon Musk, Tesla co-founder and CEO.
At the same time that Model S hit European roads in August for the first time, Tesla powered up their Superchargers in Europe, including one on-site at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Tesla Superchargers represent the most advanced charging technology in the world, capable of charging Model S 20x faster than most common charging stations. Superchargers provide half a charge in about 20 minutes, delivering up to 120 kW DC (Direct Current) power directly to the Model S battery.
More European routes will be powered up by Tesla Superchargers in the coming months, providing coverage well within the Model S rated range of 300 miles (480 km) per charge. By the end of 2014, 100 percent of the population of Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Denmark and Luxembourg will live within 200 miles (320 km) of a Supercharger station, with about 90 percent of the population in England, Wales and Sweden living within the same distance of a charging station.
Although that distance might well still be a long way from home for a lot of people, for example, owners are not likely to travel 200 miles just to charge their car, it is a start and set to expand as Tesla introduce more and more chargers. Ultimately, they have to start somewhere and implementing their Superchargers at distances such as this makes a lot of sense at the present time and of course owners can still charge their vehicle from their own home for general daily use.
JB Straubel, Chief Technical Officer at Tesla, said,
“Tesla’s Supercharger network is a game changer for electric vehicles and will offer Model S owners free, fast charging for convenient long distance drives throughout Europe. All our Superchargers are located near amenities like roadside restaurants, cafes and shopping centres so that road trippers can stop for a quick meal while their Model S charges for free.”
Source; Tesla Motors