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Tesla Reveals Charging Station Sites In 3 US States 332

locallyunscene writes "Tesla has created the first solar charging stations for its Model S and plans to offer free charging. Is free fuel enough to for the electric car to finally gain traction? 'The technology at the heart of the Supercharger was developed internally and leverages the economies of scale of existing charging technology already used by the Model S, enabling Tesla to create the Supercharger device at minimal cost. The electricity used by the Supercharger comes from a solar carport system provided by SolarCity, which results in almost zero marginal energy cost after installation. Combining these two factors, Tesla is able to provide Model S owners free long distance travel indefinitely." The "free charging" part applies at least to Model S owners, and will be available first from a network of charging stations in California, Arizona, and Nevada, to be expanded nationwide over the next 2 to 4 years; Engadget features a video of the announcement.
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Tesla Reveals Charging Station Sites In 3 US States

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  • Had to be said (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @09:34AM (#41448615)

    Obligatory "People who can afford a Tesla aren't bothered by the price of gas"

    • Re:Had to be said (Score:5, Insightful)

      by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @09:41AM (#41448663)

      That is how everything works. The first airline passengers could have easily taken a week off work to travel from NYC to London.

      I am glad rich folks are buying teslas for vanity, hopefully that will fund a car I can afford. Then hopefully my purchase will help to create a car everyone can afford.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @10:07AM (#41448919)
        You have it all wrong. We need to tax all that extra income and so it can be spent on subsidies for companies to build cheaper models that no one will want.
      • by Thud457 ( 234763 )

        That is how everything works. The first airline passengers could have easily taken a week off work to travel from NYC to London.

        I am glad rich folks are buying teslas for vanity, hopefully that will fund a car I can afford. Then hopefully my purchase will help to create a car everyone can afford.

        Where were you last Pluterday ?

        • Bring back the roadster, in more of the price range of a corvette....and then I'll show an interest.

          I'm not interested in a 'family' car for that kind of money....I want a performance sports car that isn't 'fugly' like pretty much every other hybrid or electric car they've put forth so far...

          • Re:Had to be said (Score:4, Informative)

            by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @10:28AM (#41449149)

            The Model S is only about 1 second slower to 60 than a vette.

            The Model S is an attractive car, looks actually a lot like an Aston Martin to me.

            The old roadster was a slower Elise, the Model S is a big improvement.

          • Re:Had to be said (Score:5, Insightful)

            by flyingsquid ( 813711 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:29AM (#41450001)
            The long charging time (1/2 an hour to get enough charge for 3 hours of driving) still seems like a problem. The press release argues that it's not a big loss of time, since you probably want to take a half-hour break every few hours to get some food, go to the bathroom, etc. That's probably true, but it ignores the problem that your car is sitting at the charger for half an hour, so no one else can use it. A single gasoline pump can refuel your car in maybe five minutes, so you can service cars at maybe six times the rate of an electric charger. So if you get there just and there's a line, you could find yourself waiting a long time before you even start to charge.
            • Re:Had to be said (Score:5, Insightful)

              by somersault ( 912633 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:39AM (#41450171) Homepage Journal

              By the time there are enough of these things around to have a line, they'll already have more charging stations. It would be a lot easier and safer to put a charging station at each spot in a parking lot than it would be to fit a gas pump to each one.

      • Then hopefully my purchase will help to create a car everyone can afford.

        So the target is the $100 electric car for rural India?

        • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

          I was thinking 10,000 would be a better target for a car. Maybe $1000 for something like a tata.

      • Re:Had to be said (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ryzvonusef ( 1151717 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @12:23PM (#41450933) Journal

        Reminds me of something that Jeremy Clarkson (of Top Gear fame) once said: If you want to look at the future, you should look at the luxury goods today. He gave examples of how "luxury" features such as power steering, ABS, injection fuel etc that were once the domain of expensive cars are now a part of every ordinary car.

        Same is the case with Tesla and the electric systems; they will start with luxury, and soon (5-10 years?) become part of the ordinary cars.

    • That was true of the Roadster, but the Model-S is much cheaper.

      • Re:Had to be said (Score:5, Informative)

        by captainpanic ( 1173915 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @09:57AM (#41448827)

        That was true of the Roadster, but the Model-S is much cheaper.

        Don't bother. Some people will just keep screaming that electric will never work. They will always find something else.

        Range already increased so much that you need to take a break before you're empty anyway. The time loss while charging went to an acceptable amount of time. Prices have steadily gone down. Battery life increased. And now charging stations are appearing everywhere... so the skeptics complain about money.

        • Re:Had to be said (Score:4, Insightful)

          by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @10:44AM (#41449355)

          "Range Anxiety" is still a real issue, even with the most advanced totally electric cars. It's very hard to get the same energy density of gasoline in to batteries. Electrics will just not go as far per "fill up" as their fossil fueled siblings. That does not seem to be changing anytime soon. So, you can add more batteries to the car, increasing its weight, cost and lowering it's efficiency to get more range, but who wants to drive around an SUV sized battery pack with one seat and a price tag that is measured in fractions of GDP?

          Charging stations are *not* showing up everywhere. In fact I've heard that there are places where they have been slowly disappearing because they are not being used. See: ( It's all been a bit more hype than actual progress.

          When electric cars make sense by the numbers, when they are overall cheaper than their fossil fueled counterparts, they will be built and bought by the millions and charging stations will show up everywhere. Until then, the totally electric car will be a fringe market limited to the rich and hobbyist. I expect that Tesla's will continue to be hugely expensive toys, and not much more than that, for a LONG time yet.

          How long? Until it makes sense in Europe and they start driving more electrics over there, forget it in the states. Just not going to be viable here. Now if you want to start talking about CNG fueled cars... We might have a viable option to help reduce gasoline use...

          • Re:Had to be said (Score:5, Insightful)

            by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @10:53AM (#41449459)

            Most people in the states do not drive that far. My daily commute is under 10 miles. I own two cars, one of them could easily be electric.

            I am sure my life is not unique and many american families would be fine with one electric car and one gas fueled vehicle.

            CNG has other problems. CNG cars exist but the range also sucks. LNG fixes the range issue, but handling LNG is not something the average moron should really be doing.

    • I was about to comment that $70k isn't a bad price and is in line for what I plan on to replace my current car. Then I realized that maybe I'm one of the people the OP is referring to.


    • Obligatory "People who can afford a Tesla aren't bothered by the price of gas"

      Probably also obligatory: Will there be enough capital generated from status seeking fans/fanatic to reinvest in a process for creating cost effective innovation in later releases? If Tesla Motors is interested in trying to apply a type of Moore's Law philosophy to the automobile industry, something the old school industry may have genuinely tried in their own way and failed to do, is it more than wishful thinking -- if not in general, perhaps with vehicles using this type of technology?

      Then again, perhap

  • by crazyjj ( 2598719 ) * on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @09:34AM (#41448619)

    But there is no way I've got enough charge to get there.

    • I was gonna say that :( If you have to drive farther than a charge will get you to get to the "free" recharge station, what's the point?
      • I was gonna say that :( If you have to drive farther than a charge will get you to get to the "free" recharge station, what's the point?

        The point is these stations will eventually be everywhere. But you can't really start at the end, you have to start at the beginning. Which is just three states, in this case.

        • But you can't really start at the end, you have to start at the beginning. Which is just three states, in this case.

          Hey, the USA were originally only thirteen colonies, right? And then it twelve. When people from Kobol destroyed themselves. Oh, wait...those were the other thirteen colonies. But you get my point.

    • by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @09:56AM (#41448823)

      He was only 24 hours from Tesla

  • by Orga ( 1720130 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @09:36AM (#41448627)

    3 hours of driving at 60 mph on the highway (which is dangerous IMO) and 30 minute fillup. More likely 70-75 mph, 2 hours of driving + finding a station? and then 30 minutes of fillup. 25% more travel time on a long trip. I don't know who has that kind of time on the road. Timing over lunch a great idea... what about at 3pm, not so convenient then is it. I think they have a lot of work to do

    • Yeah, but it's GREEN, man!

    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      Why is 3 hours of driving dangerous?

      Are we now supposed to stop every hour for a break?

    • Yeah, I think [] has the better idea. Swapping out a battery in just a few minutes is far superior to waiting 30 minutes for a charge.

      • by Orga ( 1720130 )

        I agree I think this is the way to go, much like propane tanks. Even take a deposit in the system if it's needed. Regular gas stations can use this to supplement their income and it's easy enough (just like most sell propane)

      • Yeah, I think [] has the better idea. Swapping out a battery in just a few minutes is far superior to waiting 30 minutes for a charge.

        I'd love to see Tesla working with those guys. The Tesla cars with the Better Place battery swap system would be great!

    • Arguments like yours annoy me on a few levels. First, you've already prejudiced yourself by declaring that you don't think highway driving is a reasonably safe mode of transport. Second, you seem to think that 25% more travel time is unacceptable -- when I travel back to my hometown every few weekends, I experience much greater variation in my travel time than 25% just based on the traffic and whether it is a holiday weekend or not. You've also neglected that most people driving for more than three hours te

      • by Orga ( 1720130 )

        You're correct I don't think 60mph on a highway is safe, but not because it's too fast. Visiting the restroom, bottle of Gatorade, whatever doesn't typically take 30 minutes. I hope these stations have a place to eat in walking distance... cause you'll be walking... and I hope there's something scenic close by.. cause you'll be walking. What I know from experience is that fueling stations off the highway don't typically have a lot going on for themselves and MOST definitely do not have anything interesti

    • So let's say I offered you two options:
      A) A free plane ticket for an 10-hour flight from point A to point B
      B) A paid plane ticket for an 8-hour flight from point A to point B

      You're saying you'd rather pay and get there 20% faster? My point here is that if you're really that pressed for time where you can't afford to stop every 3 hours to stretch your legs, grab a bite to eat, or whatever, then you're probably in a big hurry and money would be no object anyway. But for a cross-country (or in this ca
      • by Orga ( 1720130 )

        Fuel cost is only one of many things calculated in the cost of travel. Wear and tear, maintenance on a vehicle. Perhaps a 2 day trip is then stretched to 3 and you're staying another night on the road. On the road food is also typically more expensive, along with your personal time, which perhaps you enjoy driving great, but still, fuel is not the only consideration in the cost of a trip.

    • The only reason you can drive gasoline cars long distances is because "charging stations" (aka "Gas Stations") have been built on every corner. The Tesla has about the same range as a gas car, but the infrastructure has yet to catch up. These charging stations are the first steps in providing unlimited range for EVs in the same way as it is done for gas cars.

      That they allow driving long distances with NO emissions - since the power is solar there is no "long tailpipe" - emphasizes the superiority of th
      • by Orga ( 1720130 )

        The Tesla has about the same range as a gas car, but the infrastructure has yet to catch up.

        Even my gas guzzler family hauler has a 360 mile range on a tank. From TFA: 3 hours at 60mph is 180 miles. 50% is not about the same.

      • The only reason you can drive gasoline cars long distances is because "charging stations" (aka "Gas Stations") have been built on every corner. The Tesla has about the same range as a gas car, but the infrastructure has yet to catch up

        2012 Tesla Roadster EPA estimated range (Per Wikipedia): 244 mi/charge

        2012 VW Jetta TDI EPA estimated range (Per MotorTrend): 493 mi/tank

        Since when does "less than half" == "about the same range?"

    • I think that people spending their lives on the road will not buy a Tesla, but something that can run longer. That 3h/30 minute example is probably here to dispell the "but what will I do if I want to go on vacations with my electric car ?" problem.
    • You create a situation in which your product looks good. You insert reasonable values into an otherwise onerous situation to spin the conversation in the direction you want.

      You expect to have some people pick apart the argument you put forth, however you expect far more people to just nod their heads and move on.

  • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @09:41AM (#41448665) Homepage Journal
    Like local and state sales taxes paying for services, state and federal fuel taxes are not going to be able to pay for roads and the deficit in the same way as we move to more efficient vehicles. Now with electric cars there is no fuel tax. The states have loved to live on these hidden taxes, in clothes, in fuel, on the phone bill, but really we are going to have to start more open taxes and explain what they pay for and how they are applied. If every dollar a middle class American makes is going to be taxed three times, one on payroll, once on income, once when it is spent, that makes less sense than just taxing it to begin with. Of course that will result in the wealthy paying taxes. For instance, most of us pay payroll taxes on everything we make, but someone making 200K does not. Now if you can afford a Tesla, you don't pay for the roads you use.
    • The free ride will only apply during the early adopter phase. And it's needed to encourage this shift in technology. Once it becomes mainstream, for sure it'll be taxed, in one way or another.

      • The problem is, it'll probably be taxed by mandating a GPS unit in all electric vehicles --- but there are no privacy implication for that, right?

        A better solution would be to place the tax on tires (which are already the subject of especial taxes and disposal fees), say based on the mass squared of the tire --- this would penalize the heavier vehicles which actually damage roads and encourage people to take better care of their tires and keep their vehicles in alignment.

        • I'm reminded of the natives who didn't like their photo being taken because they thought it was taking their souls. People fear what is new. But they get used to it.

          Credit cards have privacy implications. But people have got used to it, and they don't worry about it when making a purchase.

          The future is bringing ANPR anyway. Automatic Number Plate Recognition. It's already a fact of life in the UK. And it's becoming a fact of life in the US for toll roads and priority lanes.

          Your suggestion is problematic too

        • The problem is that it's way too easy to get contraband tires. Go over to Canada for the day and get a new set of tires. Canadians do it all the time going the other way, not because of taxes on tires, but because tires are so much cheaper in the US. Plus tires only have to be bought once ever 100,000 or more KM. That would have to be a pretty hefty tax to account for all the gas taxes that would have been collected. This would make getting non-taxed foreign tires too good for most people to not do it
    • by hsmith ( 818216 )
      I love this "argument".

      Greens have pushed for huge subsidies for electric/hybrid vehicles, in the $5k-10k+ range

      Which is more than any of these vehicles would ever pay in gas taxes in their entire life time for road maintenance.

      So, we are giving huge tax breaks on these vehicles, then bitching that they aren't bring in tax revenue for roads. It is beyond stupid.
      • This is just an argument being used as an excuse to install trackers in cars so that the government can track us down wherever we go.
        • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

          Or just use the odometer like they do during the yearly inspection.

          No tracking needed, and data that is already collected!

  • meh (Score:5, Funny)

    by MonoSynth ( 323007 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @09:42AM (#41448681) Homepage

    No wireless. Lame.

  • But I want a Mr. Fusion, not a solar charger.....
  • it seems like the car is meant to be a toy for a midlife crisis like the corvette.

    for most people with kids you need something bigger

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I forgot, almost everyone with a vehicle is in the breeding phase of their life. Back to the drawing board.

    • The Tesla seats 5 people.
      The average US household size is approx 2.6.
      The average US family size is approx 3.2. (not 3.2 children, but 3.2 in total.)

      The Tesla is certainly big enough for the vast majority of families.

      • Actually, the Tesla model S seats 5 Adults + 2 children in rear facing seats. When you consider this, the Tesla looks very attractive. You'll be hard pressed to find a 7 seater car that gets respectable gas mileage. Also, 7 seater vehicles are often more expensive meaning that it makes the tesla even more competitive and appealing to certain market segments.
    • by Deag ( 250823 )

      They are releasing new models. The roadster was the initial toy, but the long term goal of the company is to make regular cars.

  • by dnaumov ( 453672 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @09:50AM (#41448755)

    From the SEC filling:

    As our main focus is on quality, we have methodically increased our Model S production at a rate slower than we had earlier anticipated.

    We now anticipate that we will deliver between 200 and 225 Model S vehicles to customers in the third quarter and between 2,500 and 3,000 Model S vehicles in the fourth quarter.

    We anticipate, however, that manufacturing and supplier issues will continue to arise and need to be addressed in a timely manner.

    In the third quarter of 2012, we anticipate that our gross margin will be negatively affected primarily by the limited number of Model S vehicles we intend to deliver

    We also expect selling, general and administrative expenses for the third quarter to increase modestly over the prior quarter as we continue to increase our vehicle selling and servicing capabilities.

    We have now fully drawn down our $465 million DOE Loan Facility.

  • Meanwhile, Toyota (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kupfernigk ( 1190345 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @09:52AM (#41448777)
    (Who know a thing or two) are abandoning pure electric cars because they can't make the engineering sums add up with present battery technology. They have even produced a hybrid (Yaris hybrid) that undercuts the cheapest electric cars without subsidy. Now that Mercedes is bringing out hybrids and are producing their first fuel-cell cars, meaning we have gasoline, diesel and fuel cell hybrids, it looks like Tesla and the other all-electric experiments are a dead end.
    • I would think that Toyota could figure out how to make the engine/generator a swapable unit, so that people could just buy a hybrid without it. Then you put in a 3rd party battery configured to the same space as the engine/generator, et viola, a pure electric vehicle. (Perhaps it is, and they are just not advertising it)
    • by Ost99 ( 101831 )

      Hybrids are fossil fueled and represent a short term improvement over existing designs, not a solution to fossil fuel dependency. Anything involving a fossil fueled combustion engine is a dead end in the long run. I'm not sure I understand the significance of the Yaris hybrid introduction, the Yarris is far-far smaller than the Tesla S, and also significantly smaller than the Leaf.

      The hydrogen economy needs a significant technological breakthrough to be feasible, the energy efficiency of the current technol

    • Abandoning? (Score:4, Informative)

      by SilverJets ( 131916 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @10:50AM (#41449437) Homepage

      By abandon do you mean rolling out an all electric RAV4?

      Sure, they're dropping one line of car, their little eQ minicar. But that doesn't mean they are dropping electric all together. They've just realized that the technology isn't there quite there yet. And they are planning on having 21 hybrid versions of their vehicles by 2015.

      In other words they moved too fast on the all electric cars for some markets and are backing off for now until the technology catches up with the ideas. []

    • by Locutus ( 9039 )
      or it couldn't be the Toyota dealerships are fighting the electric car as is likely the US automaker dealerships are. And Toyota has a hybrid lineup which is soon to be 14 different models and retains the nice features the dealerships like, ie constant maintenance. They also have plugin hybrids which cross the pure EV and hybrid lines without having to try to change the publics mind about how viable EVs are.

      While it may still be true that huge battery packs which get you 200+ miles on a charge and are very
  • electricity used by the Supercharger comes from a solar carport system

    Maybe if you have one car to charge every couple of days - but with the total solar energy hitting the eath's surface being about in full sunshiew, and many cells producing 100-130 watts per square meter [] this cannot be the sole energy source for a 40 - 85 kwh charge []

  • The article (yeah, I read a bit), doesn't seem to give much info about the charger that is going to be in use: is it going to be DC Fast Charging with a Combined Charging System [] (what a name) , CHAdeMO [] or something new?

  • I prefer Better Place []'s approach of using swappable battery modules. It's faster for the consumer. Batteries can be tested and replaced before they degrade.

    - Jasen.

  • This seems to be a reoccurring problem for many an electronic.
    We've advanced far and wide in several fields, but we're not advancing (fast enough?) with batteries.
    Instead of focusing on these charging stations (which just feels like a bandaid fix to me), they should be finding a way to make a higher capacity/more efficient battery.
    • by gaelfx ( 1111115 )

      Even with better batteries, generating electricity is something that still needs to be handled. The advantage of this sort of technology is that it theoretically should be grid-independent, so even in the middle of the desert (Arizona or Nevada, take your pick), you can still top 'er off. This is the sort of modular power generation that can't be accomplished with things like coal or nuclear power, though I do wonder what kind of footprint it would have and whether or not units could feasibly be placed in m

  • will they start using some new battery technology [] to make this actually significant?

    PS To those who are saying electric vehicles have already lost, you're not thinking longterm enough. They will (have) work(ed) by the time the sun burns out.

  • Constant Fill Up? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by inhuman_4 ( 1294516 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @11:10AM (#41449691)

    One thing I don't understand, and perhaps someone on here can enlighten me, is why people always assume you will fill up only when the tank is empty? It seems to me that one of the big advantages of electric is that you don't need a speciallized fueling station. You should be able to fuel up all over the place (although perhaps not quickly) provided there were enough charging stations. For example charging while:
    At home.
    Parked at work.
    Out to dinner.
    Overnight at a hotel.
    At a movie.
    Shopping at a mall.

    The tank doesn't have to be empty, and the charging doesn't have to be to fill. But consistantly charging a little bit here and there should be one of the main ways to extend range. I realize that infastructure like charging stations need to be installed and the electrical grid must be able to handle it all. But other than that, what am I missing?

  • Free electricity? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cellocgw ( 617879 ) <cellocgw@g[ ] ['mai' in gap]> on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @12:45PM (#41451235) Journal

    OK, I'm going to buy one of these cars, charge it up for free at the nearest station, drive home, and dump the battery into my house inverter.
    I'll get all the electricity for everything I own, for FREE!!!!!! Maybe I'll even dump some back into the grid and make money off whatever Con Ed is calling itself these days.

"Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb