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Tesla To Triple Size Of Supercharger Network Within 2 Years

Tesla VP Drew Baglino said last week that Tesla plans to triple the number of Supercharger locations.

Based on comments made by Drew Baglino, Tesla’s vice president for drive systems and energy engineering, during last week’s third quarter earnings call, Tesla plans to triple the size of its Supercharger network over the next 2 years.

The issue is not that Supercharger locations are overcrowded at present. In general, they are not. In fact, Baglino said congestion has actually decreased in the past quarter despite a surge in new car sales. To address local congestion in the short term, Tesla is deploying mobile Superchargers and aiming to introduce pricing strategies that encourage more off-peak usage, he said.

The issue is that Tesla is selling a ton of new cars and planning to open up its charging network to drivers of other makes and models shortly. It doesn’t hurt that the Biden administration is solidly behind the idea of providing federal funds to pay for the expansion of EV charging infrastructure in the United States.

While waiting for more Superchargers to be installed, Tesla is exploring other software and interface tools at its disposal. “Dynamic routing to avoid busy Superchargers — that’s actually really helpful,” Baglino said. “We take the real time busyness of the stations into account when choosing where to navigate people on their road trip. And then beyond that we’re also continuing to improve the trip planner itself and how it estimates how much energy people use so it’s not too conservative in asking people to charge more than they need to, which is another thing that can delay a total trip,” he added.

Tesla installed 288 new Supercharger stations with 2,381 new individual connectors during the third quarter. It now has an average of 8.3 chargers per location. The first Supercharger in Africa has now been installed and the first in Alaska will be available soon. Many of the new Supercharger stations will be manufactured in a dedicated factory in Shanghai.

Is Tesla Getting Ahead Or Falling Behind?

Peter Rawlinson, the CEO of Lucid Motors and a former Tesla executive, suggests Tesla is falling behind in the charging infrastructure race. With Electrify American now offering some chargers that operate on 1,000 volts, Tesla, he says, is stuck in the slow lane with a charging system that tops out at 400 volts. Rawlinson, who is no friend of Elon Musk [the feeling is mutual, by the way], thinks the power difference could give Lucid a second mover advantage. His company uses Electrify America to recharge its vehicles.

At the end of September, Tesla had 3,254 Supercharger locations — 49% more than one year ago — with 29,281 individual chargers — 41% more than a year ago. If Tesla succeeds in tripling those numbers, by the end of 2023 it could have close to 10,000 locations with a total of nearly 90,000 chargers. That would be quite an accomplishment, one that would give a tremendous boost to the EV revolution.

 
 
 
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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. 3000 years ago, Socrates said, "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." Perhaps it's time we listened?

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