Tesla's solar-powered, free-to-use Superchargers growing like weeds worldwide
Tesla's Supercharger network of very-fast-charging stations that are solar-powered and will remain free-to-use "forever" is extremely important because of what it means for the future. The Model S might be an amazing award-winning electric car that raises the bar in pretty much every category and smokes gasoline cars left and right, but the real future of Tesla has always been their next generation, the more affordable, mass-market Model 3.
So while Superchargers are a great way to make the Model S more compelling and convenient, the real test will be to make the Model 3 desirable to a large number of people, most of whom won't be wealthy early adopters.
Based on what Elon Musk has been saying, the Model 3 should have at least 200 miles of driving range, but to make it more affordable compared to the Model S, it'll probably never have quite as much range as its bigger sibling, so truly fixing range anxiety is crucial. The company has been attacking this on the software front, with an update that Musk says makes it "impossible to unintentionally run out of range."
But the linchpin of the strategy is still to have enough super-fast charging stations everywhere so that wherever you are, and wherever you want to go, your Tesla's onboard computer can pick a route for you that will ensure you don't run out of juice. This is why I keep an eye on Tesla's progress with the Supercharger network; for the future mass-adoption of electric cars (Model 3 at the leading edge, but also no doubt other upcoming EVs from other companies).
So far, what I've seen has been very impressive. Just a few months ago, Tesla hit 2,000 superchargers and 86 million electric miles recharged at those stations. That's just a bit more than a year after hitting their 100th station (note that each station can have more than one supercharger, so the numbers are a bit apples to oranges, but still, it gives you an idea...).
As you can see from the up-to-date maps in this article, new Supercharger locations have been mushrooming all around the globe, with notable growth in Europe and Asia (and 2 in Australia not shown here). The company now has 437 Supercharger stations with 2,395 Superchargers.
Tesla’s Supercharger Network = Super International. April's Top 10 most used stations include CN, HK, NL, NO & US. pic.twitter.com/KRUi1lNTJk— Tesla Motors (@TeslaMotors) May 27, 2015