When I wrote about how to install a DC fast charging station, one commenter responded by saying a "50kw charger is useless."
I thought that was a little unfair. In my experience, while I use them infrequently, a 50kw charger provides the option of a relatively quick "top up" that makes somewhat longer journeys significantly more practical.
But they're not ideal for road-tripping. And, in that regard, Tesla's Supercharger network has so far been the only credible game in town. And it's about to get a lot better.
As reported over at Electrek (with pics) and Cleantechnica (with details), the company has just launched its two largest supercharger locations in the United States. Located in Kettleman City, California, and Baker, California, each location boasts 40 charging stalls (yes, charging stations really are getting bigger); a 24/7 customer lounge with craft beverages and food, a kids' play wall, and outside seating areas too; covered solar parking, as well as battery storage to help maximize green energy and lighten the load on the grid.
For the longest time, naysayers have argued that nobody will want to sit around for half an hour or an hour when they are used to topping up with gas and getting back on the road. I'm no longer sure that's true. As cars with 200+ and 300+ miles of range become available, they are nearing the edge of range for how long many of us will comfortably sit in a car without at least a comfort break, and maybe an opportunity to stretch your legs and grab a bite to eat.
Given the dismal state of most highway gas stations, and the food they have to offer, I would actually quite like to access a station like this to hang out—even when my minivan is running on gas.
Sadly, these particular charging locations are for Tesla drivers only. But they may provide a taste of what's to come for the rest of us too.