“Tesla’s Supercharger network is a game changer for electric vehicles, providing long distance travel that has a level of convenience equivalent to gasoline cars for all practical purposes,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk Said. “However, by making electric long distance travel at no cost, an impossibility for gasoline cars, Tesla is demonstrating just how fundamentally better electric transport can be.”
Where the term “Supercharger” would conventionally refer to a belt-driven device that crams air into an engine, the Tesla Supercharger crams electricity into the car’s battery pack at a greatly accelerated rate. While it doesn’t make the car any more powerful, the system is capable of replenishing enough power to carry the car for three hours at 60 mph in 30 minutes.
Tesla constructed the units in secret before revealing their locations scattered across California and reaching to Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe. The automaker worked in conjunction with California’s Solar City to power its charging stations through solar panels, making them capable of offering Tesla owners charging at not cost.
“We are giving Model S the ability to drive almost anywhere for free on pure sunlight,” Musk said.
Each of the charging stations is designed to absorb just over the amount of power consumed by Tesla vehicles over the course of a year, adding a small percentage of energy into the grid.