Tesla to Double Supercharger Network

17Tesla_Model-S_OEM_20.jpg 2017 Tesla Model S | Manufacturer image

CARS.COM — If Tesla faithful are worried that an influx of Model 3 owners could make for a long line at the local Supercharger station, here’s good news: Tesla plans to add a lot more of them. The California automaker pledged today to double its network of quick-charging ports, dubbed Superchargers, by the end of this year.

Related: How Quickly Does the Tesla Model S’ Battery Charge?

Tesla said its Supercharger network, which dates back to 2012, amounts to 842 stations with 5,431 Superchargers worldwide. That’s an average of six or seven chargers per station. Tesla plans to hit 10,000 Superchargers by year’s end, a 150 percent increase in North America. California alone will get about 1,000 more chargers, the automaker said.

It’s unclear if the distribution will be heavy on all-new stations or additional chargers at existing stations, but Tesla’s Supercharger map gives some clues. The automaker currently has about 350 Supercharger stations in the U.S., with another 350 or so coming soon. Tesla said it also plans to build larger stations with “several dozen Teslas supercharging simultaneously” along its busiest routes, with more stations in urban centers so local owners can find one easily. Then there are some 9,000 custom chargers (not Superchargers) at hotels and restaurants worldwide for owners to use while they’re out — a figure Tesla plans to increase to around 15,000 by the year’s end.

A Supercharger-enabled Tesla can add 300 miles’ range in about an hour at a station, depending on various conditions. At home, by comparison, it would take around 9.5 hours on a Level 2 (240-volt) outlet to charge that much. New owners received free Supercharger access for the life of their vehicle until Jan. 15, when Tesla throttled back access to 400 kilowatt-hours — about 1,000 miles’ worth — per year for new purchasers. Fees apply beyond that, and there’s also a fee in some situations if you leave your car at a Supercharger berth after it’s full.

With the Model 3 coming, an influx of Supercharger demand is all but assured. Hundreds of thousands of shoppers have put down a deposit on Tesla’s forthcoming sedan, its most affordable car yet. Major production on the Model 3 reportedly begins in September, and once it’s up and running, Tesla plans to sell 500,000 cars worldwide — including the Model S, Model X and Model 3 — in 2018. Many of them will end up in other countries, but it’s fair to say those sales will dwarf the earlier numbers from the Model S and X alone: By’s estimate, U.S. sales for both cars have reached about only 120,000 cars in the history of both nameplates.

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