Not-quite-Super: Tesla has been quietly building another charging network
All the attention is going to Tesla's Supercharger network, with huge expansion plans in North-America, Europe, and Asia over the next few years (the map below shows plans for 2015). Just in the month of June, the Supercharger network has delivered over 1 GWh of clean electricity, enough to drive 3.7 million electric miles. That's a record that is likely to be broken each month as more Superchargers are installed and more Model S electric cars are sold...
But quietly, almost in secret, Tesla has been building another charging network to make life even more convenient for its customers.
"[W]ith little or no fanfare, Tesla also has been installing high-power wall chargers at restaurants, hotels, beach parking and other locations that can send 80 amps of electricity into the Model S and add 58 miles of range in an hour," reports the Wall Street Journal.
It's a brilliant idea: You put more expensive Supercharger stations in strategic spots to facilitate long-distance travel between big population centers, but why not also sprinkle slower but less expensive chargers around the places where people park to further reduce any chances of running out of juice.
If you look on Tesla's website, you can see that the chargers that they're installing appear to be the same models that you can get for your garage. It makes a lot of sense, especially since Tesla can get economies of scale by making more of those, driving the cost per unit down. This can only be good: More Tesla chargers everywhere means that customers have a better experience, are more satisfied with their purchase, and are more likely to recommend Teslas to their friends and family and maybe even consider the upcoming Model 3 or Model X, but lower charger production costs also mean that Tesla can either drop prices over time or increase its profit margin on that item.
The company has started installing the non-super-chargers this spring, and they already have installed over 100, with "more coming daily". While those chargers aren't nearly as fast as Superchargers, they don't necessarily need to be. Getting a little battery top up while stopped at the restaurant or out grocery shopping is just a bonus, and it also means that Supercharger stations probably won't be as crowded and can be used primarily for people don't travel long-range.
Hopefully this encourages other automakers to also build more charging stations. Someday soon, EV drivers will be able to find a convenient power outlet almost anywhere.