Musk Builds Out EV Infrastructure

Gary S. Vasilash

Following up on yesterday’s piece on the Fit EV lease and the charging time requirements, it is worth pointing out that last week Elon Musk, CEO, product architect and co-founder of Tesla, announced that the company is greatly expanding its range of 120-kW Supercharger stations.

Tesla Supercharger

Today there are eight stations. By the end of summer, 25. By winter 2013, one will be able to go coast-to-coast via I-80 with proximate stations. And by 2015, Musk says, there will be 98% travel coverage of the U.S. and Canada with Supercharger stations.

He also says that they are working on developing the means to accelerate the charge time, which is going to be on the order of 20 minutes for three hours’ worth of driving.

Oh, and one more thing (in keeping with yesterday’s quasi-economic EV considerations): those rolling up to a Supercharger in their Tesla Model S can keep their credit card in their pocket. The fill-up is free. “Now, and forever,” says Musk. Which is a long time.

Again, realize that as there is a burgeoning EV market, not only will there be technological developments like faster charging and better batteries, but also the need to roll out with new infrastructure. While some of this infrastructure is being built out by utilities who are interested in having people plug in to their portions of the grid, Elon Musk evidently sees the need to greatly supplement those efforts via the creation of Supercharger stations.

The man is certainly smart. Remember, he not only founded PayPal, which was sold to eBay for $1.5-billion (he was the largest shareholder at the time of the sale), but he is also the CEO and CTO of Space X, the company that develops and launches rockets. Yes, arguably Musk is a rocket scientist.

It is difficult to imagine a world where there are GM or Mercedes gas stations. But in this timeline, it seems as though EV stations may come branded with names other than those of an energy supplier.