Tesla taps sun for free electric car fuel (Update)

Sep 25, 2012

Tesla on Tuesday opened the first part of what it said would be a large network of stations that will provide free charges to its electric cars courtesy of the sun.

The company unveiled six Supercharger stations in California, where it is based, and disclosed plans for more to be located "in high traffic corridors" across the continental United States.

Tesla said it will begin installing Supercharger stations in Europe and Asia in the second half of next year. It promised to have more than 100 such stations running in the year 2015.

"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," said Tesla chief executive Elon Musk.

"We are giving Model S the ability to drive almost anywhere for free on pure sunlight."

Electricity used by the Supercharger is generated by solar systems designed to procure more energy than will be used by cars, according to the company.

The surplus energy will be directed into local power grids for general use.

"This addresses a commonly held misunderstanding that charging an electric car simply pushes carbon emissions to the power plant," Tesla said in a release.

"By adding even a small solar system at their home, electric car owners can extend this same principle to local city driving too."

Superchargers take about a half-hour to replenish electricity drained by driving three hours at 60 mph (100 kph), according to Tesla.

Tesla in June began deliveries of Model S cars touted as "the world's first premium electric sedan."

Musk, a co-founder of PayPal and SpaceX, created Tesla in 2003 and the company has a factory in the Northern California city of Fremont.

Tesla markets a sports car at more than $100,000 and launched the Model S at a starting price of $49,900.

Without an internal combustion engine or transmission tunnel, Model S has more cargo space than any other sedan and includes a second trunk under the hood.

It accelerates from 0 to 60 miles (100 kilometers) per hour in as little as 4.4 seconds and includes an in-dash touchscreen with Internet capabilities, allowing for streaming radio, Web browsing and navigation.

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4 / 5 (1) Sep 25, 2012

The thing holding EV's back are producers are making them overweight, overpriced and over teched.

What we need are lightweight, aero medium tech composite body/chassised EV's that need battery packs 35% of the present ones while getting the same range, speed.

Examples are the GM UltraLite and Toyota X-1 showcars.

There is little reason for over 100 mile EV range as a
5-7kw/1000lb car weight generator gives unlimited range at much lower costs.
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 25, 2012
"about as fast as stopping for gas and a bathroom break in a conventional car."

"The free stations are designed to fully charge Tesla's new Model S sedan in about an hour"

Why do they have to lie? I travel cross country by car almost every year, a gas stop and bathroom break takes about 10 minutes, not an hour, not a half hour...
3 / 5 (2) Sep 25, 2012
Perhaps they only plan to sell them to the constipated.
5 / 5 (1) Sep 25, 2012
Why do they have to lie?
That quote doesn't exist any more. I think it was probably a phys.org editor taking some liberties since it is gone now. Tesla's own website claims 150 miles worth of charge in 30 minutes, no mention of bathroom breaks to be found.
1.5 / 5 (2) Sep 25, 2012
"I travel cross country by car almost every year, a gas stop and bathroom break takes about 10 minutes"

I hang out for hours in the truck stop bathrooms - doesn't every one?
1 / 5 (1) Sep 26, 2012
The weight of the vehicle is irrelevant if any of the car designers ever bothered to consult an engineer. You just need a bigger electric motor and more batteries.

The current Teslas can drive for 3 hours non-stop. Do you really want to sit behind the wheel that long and never so much as stretch your legs?

So you drive 3 hours in the morning, plug it in at a restaurant for lunch, then drive another few hours.

I really don't miss the good ole days when I used to power through those 20 hours long haul drives. I suppose I can understand you'd still want to do that, but it doesn't appeal to me.

So they need to have some removable supplementary battery packs for those once/year trips. Even make them recyclable alkaline batteries. Toss a few in the trunk and you're good to go for 500 more miles... once per year.

You're not exactly going to be towing your tent trailer and loading it's roof racks with luggage. That's not really what luxury sedans are meant for.
1 / 5 (3) Sep 26, 2012
Free fuel in America?
I wonder just how long before the Big Oil lobbies start going after this...
1 / 5 (2) Sep 26, 2012
The weight of the vehicle is irrelevant if any of the car designers ever bothered to consult an engineer. You just need a bigger electric motor and more batteries...

Indeed, the weight of the vehicle does not matter to the motor's ability to move it, as evidenced by locomotives that only use the diesel to generate the power it takes to run it's massive electric motors. However, I think for a personal cross country vehicle, I'd want something that wouldn't require me to read the load capacity of every bridge along my chosen path. Weight also makes a huge difference when attempting to navigate muddy ground, like in a campground, or if you happen to live on a dirt road. There are many reasons to consider keeping weight down.
1 / 5 (1) Sep 27, 2012
The current Teslas can drive for 3 hours non-stop. Do you really want to sit behind the wheel that long and never so much as stretch your legs?

I see you've never driven long distances before...

I've driven from 5pm to 10am before with only < 10 minute gas stops, and have many times gone for a lot longer than 3 hours.