http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/09/tesla-20120925.htmlTesla unveiled a network of six fast charge stations, powered by solar cells. They intend to expand the network across the country. From the Press Release:"TESLA MOTORS LAUNCHES REVOLUTIONARY SUPERCHARGER ENABLING CONVENIENT LONG DISTANCE DRIVINGDRIVE THE MODEL S ELECTRIC CAR ANYWHERE IN THE COUNTRY ON PURE SUNLIGHT FOR FREEMONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2012Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) today unveiled its highly anticipated Supercharger network. Constructed in secret, Tesla revealed the locations of the first six Supercharger stations, which will allow the Model S to travel long distances with ultra fast charging throughout California, parts of Nevada and Arizona.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 (1) free long distance travel indefinitely....(1) Supercharging hardware is standard on Model S vehicles equipped with an 85 kWh battery and optional on Model S vehicles equipped with a 60 kWh battery."So they are including free fast-charging, free juice, with high end Tesla Model Ss? Astonishing. Quite a marketing gimmick. There must be limits, surely.
See also http://vimeo.com/50129899 where Elon Musk makes the announcement.It seems like about 95% marketing gimmick to me. He claimed the "network" of chargers (6 so far) would solve the 3 perceived problems of electric cars. I'd say they are: 1: not being able to drive anywhere you want like you pretty much can with gas, 2: the cost of the battery, both as part of the purchase of the original car and replacement as needed if you keep the car that long, and 3: lack of a wide variety of vehicle sizes, styles, and trim levels. He said they are: 1: not being able to drive anywhere you want as conveniently as with gas, 2: that the emissions aren't really reduced because the power is likely generated by fuel-burning power plants anyway, and 3: the cost (specifically which costs, he didn't say, just of "electric vehicles compared to gas").He went on to show how it's just as convenient to drive the Tesla Model S as any gas car. Imagine a trip from LA to Vegas (this is a pretty common trip in the southern-CA area). You drive a few hours, and when you get to Barstow you're ready for lunch or dinner or at least a bathroom break. So you stop at the one-and-only restaurant that has a Supercharger, and have dinner while the car charges. Then you drive on to Vegas. Hey... that's pretty much the same as with gas.Except it's not an accurate picture. First of all, most people who drive from LA to Vegas also want to drive back later. Assuming you started with a pretty good charge (because the charge you can add in 1/2 hour at the charging station in Barstow may be less than the remaining 150 to 200 miles, depending on route) you can indeed get to Vegas. But then you're stuck there. There's no charging station in Vegas. According to Tesla's on-line calculator, at the electric rates I pay a 150-mile charge takes $10.61 worth of electricity, which is not something a typical motel is going to be happy with you taking for free... and it's probably illegal to use someone's power without permission. But worse for our hypothetical Vegas visitor, it takes almost 33 hours to perform such a charge from a 110-volt outlet that just happens to somehow have 12 amps available (a typical circuit, which usually serves several outlets, has a 15 amp total limit, though some have 20 amps).Second, when you get to Barstow, will any of the 4 charging spots there be available? Since charging is free, you better hope the Model S doesn't become popular with Barstow residents. Although with pricing for the "Signature" starting at $88k and the "Signature Performance" at $98k (both after fed tax credit), it may not be a very common vehicle in Barstow.The free charging, by the way, is how the third problem he mentioned is solved. You don't need to worry about cost, because once they finish putting their planned charging stations in place (about 100 total), you can drive anywhere in the continental US for free. This is because if you draw circles around each charging station showing the available range, those circles cover the entire US. Don't worry about the fact that the route any normal person would take to get from one place to another might not ever go near any of the changing station locations. It'll be "just as convenient as gas" to drive, say 50 miles out of your way to a charging station and then 50 miles back to your route.The 100 charging stations they hope to have in place by 2015 is roughly equal to the number of Model S cars they are building each week now (according to Musk). So by 2015 they should have about 100 times as many cars on the road as there are charge-for-free stations (more if production rates continue to improve). At 4 car spots per station, the maximum possible number of cars a station can charge per day, even with a continual 24-hour-a-day line, is well under 200.The second problem is solved because the roof covering the charging station spots is covered with enough solar panels to generate, they estimate, more power per year than the charging of cars will consume during that year. Which might lead you to believe no fuel-burning-derived electricity will be used. Unless you realize there's no way they're going to store enough of the sunlight-generated power to actually operate the charging station during periods of low sunlight. During those periods, they're going to use power from the grid, which might (or might not) be fuel-derived. I suppose you could get into elaborate calculations about whether or not the excess power generated during peak sunlight causes less fuel-derived power to be needed elsewhere on the grid, but that's an exercise in futility with the available data.Mind you, I really admire Tesla and think he's done wonders for the electric car market. The Roadster shattered the "they're all glorified golf carts with no power" myth. But this "everyone will drive for free, for free!" is nonsense. Reminds me of the "nuclear electric power will be too cheap to bother metering" story.Phil
Unless you realize there's no way they're going to store enough of the sunlight-generated power to actually operate the charging station during periods of low sunlight. During those periods, they're going to use power from the grid, which might (or might not) be fuel-derived.When the charger is fully charged, it can deliver power to the grid--thus reducing the need for fossil/nuclear fuels. That means the NET use of fuel is essentially reduced to zero.
Right, the free charging is limited by supply, if nothing else. If you arrive at your selected charging point and there is already a line 4 deep, then you have a substantial wait before you even plug-in.With good trip planning recharging in Vegas is no problem, I think. This article describes free charge stations at two casinos, and I'm sure those two aren't the only options. http://www.lvrj.com/drive/venetian-installs-charging-equipme... Tesla will have a supercharger station in Vegas within a year or two if they can stick to their plans.The 100 kilowatt soon to be 120 kilowatt capacity is a big jump forward in charge rate. That is important. I expect they hope other businesses will adopt the standard and offer supercharging as a profit center down the road as the number of compatible EVs grows.Definitely not a 'everyone will drive for free' plan, but it is a big jump forward, if they successfully build it out like they plan. It makes a cross-country trip realistic for Model S owners, possibly at zero fuel cost depending on trip planning. Quite a perk.I wonder how busy the LA one will be in a year, and if Tesla will offer more than 4 chargers if there is demand. Will they have a valet to manage the queue, or will you have to wait with your car in line. A valet is called for, I think, so that you could drop your car off in the queue and not worry about it, come back at your leisure.I guess their marketing is effective. It has fired up my desire for a top-end Model S. The one I picked out runs $101,550, lol. The cheapest one with Supercharger capability is $62,600.
BenSolar,With good trip planning recharging in Vegas is no problem, I think. This article describes free charge stations at two casinos, and I'm sure those two aren't the only options.It'd still take almost 5 hours to charge up 150 miles of range (the shortest route back to Barstow) at those high-power Tesla charging stations, and even longer using the standard J1772 stations (less time with the Supercharger, if they ever put any in, of course).I can picture myself jumping in my gas-powered car for a spontaneous drive from LA to Vegas and back... even though my car's tank is probably pretty empty right at this moment. I can't picture hopping into a Tesla-S on the hopes that one of the four spots in Barstow will be available (even waiting for one car could take a good portion of an hour — or longer if the drivers are slow eaters — before my 1/2 charging begins), and also having to hope that one of the, say, three charging spots at the Venetian will be available for 5 hours before I want to come back. And if the Tesla-S isn't fully charged right at the moment, I wouldn't necessarily be able to make to Vegas even with a 1/2-hour charge at a Supercharger in Barstow (some routes from Barstow to Vegas are longer than the 150-mile boost).It makes a cross-country trip realistic for Model S owners, possibly at zero fuel cost depending on trip planning. Quite a perk.Unless there's a, say, 80%+ chance of an already-open spot at each Supercharger along the way, I'd say it makes a cross-country trip "possible". Not "realistic".Will they have a valet to manage the queue, or will you have to wait with your car in line. A valet is called for, I think, so that you could drop your car off in the queue and not worry about it, come back at your leisure.Clearly a valet would be a huge improvement, because otherwise a car whose driver is taking an hour dinner is going to tie up a charging spot for an hour (or longer) rather than 1/2 hour with the valet moving it at that time if the next car needs in. I think it's pretty much impossible for Tesla to provide valets at a free service though.Phil
It'd still take almost 5 hours to charge up 150 miles of range (the shortest route back to Barstow) at those high-power Tesla charging stations, and even longer using the standard J1772 stations (less time with the Supercharger, if they ever put any in, of course).The Tesla high-power charger provides ~60 miles range/hour charging if you have the dual charger option on your Model S. So, that's just 2.5 hours for 150 miles worth of juice.If you have the 85kwh Model S and its fully charged, you can drive LA to Vegas in one sitting with no recharge, though you might have to drive a little slower than normal. This has already been done successfully.
BenSolar,It'd still take almost 5 hours to charge up 150 miles of range (the shortest route back to Barstow) at those high-power Tesla charging stations... — RadishThe Tesla high-power charger provides ~60 miles range/hour charging if you have the dual charger option on your Model S. So, that's just 2.5 hours for 150 miles worth of juice.Indeed... my mistake. I used the calculator at http://www.teslamotors.com/models/charging#/calculator but failed to set it for dual charger. With single charger it's 4 hours 43 minutes, with dual it is 2 hours 21 minutes.If you have the 85kwh Model S and its fully charged, you can drive LA to Vegas in one sitting with no recharge, though you might have to drive a little slower than normal. This has already been done successfully.Yes, but you also have to drive with the A/C off through the desert. Musk mentioned in the presentation that you wouldn't really want to do that.A friend of mine estimated the area of solar panels that would be required per charging spot (at the Supercharger) assuming less than a dozen cars charged per day per spot, and it's vastly larger than the size of the entire Supercharger station (shown with 4 charging spots). So when Musk said they would generate more power than the chargers consume, he must have been including solar panels at sites unrelated to the Supercharging stations.Again, I really like the Tesla series cars, and I for one would probably buy one immediately if I were, say, as rich as Elon Musk. But I think his "three points" being solved by a few "free" Supercharging stations is complete hype. Sure, a few charging stations are cool. But will they let all Tesla-S owners drive anywhere in the US for free, as (or even nearly as) conveniently as with a gas car? Not a chance.Phil
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