AutoNews.com reports: Tesla Motors said today it will expand its network of fast-charge stations beyond California and the Northeastern seaboard within several months to a year.
Elon Musk, CEO of the electric-vehicle maker, said the fast-charge stations are being upgraded from 90 kilowatts to 120 kilowatts, meaning they will be able to return most of the vehicle's range in 20 to 25 minutes, roughly twice as fast as the Tesla charging time.
The upgraded chargers will be available within the next few months, he said. Existing chargers can return 150 miles of range in 30 minutes, or 200 miles of range in 45 minutes.
By means of perspective, a 120-kilowatt supercharger is delivering 60 times the power normally used by a suburban house.
Tesla's latest announcement follows several weeks of good news for the California automaker, which reported its first ever quarterly profit on May 8. Then last week the company paid off the $452 million balance of its federal alternative energy loan nine years early.
Tesla shares, which have nearly tripled in value since March 19, today closed at $104.95 on Nasdaq, up 32 cents or 0.3 percent.
By the end of June, Tesla will have added stations in California, as well as coverage of routes from Vancouver, British Columbia; to Seattle to Portland, Ore.; in the Northwest and from Austin to Dallas in Texas. Networks also will be established in Illinois and Colorado. When that is accomplished, Tesla says the number of its fast-charge ports will be tripled from the current level.
Within six months, Tesla will have connected most of the United States and Canada, with expansion into Arizona, Texas, Florida, the Midwest and Southeast.
"It will also be possible to travel diagonally across the country from Los Angeles to New York using only the Tesla Supercharger network," the automaker said in a release.
By May 2014, Tesla fast-charge stations will cover "almost the entire population of the U.S. and Canada. … Model S drivers can take the ultimate road trip -- whether that's L.A. to New York, Vancouver to San Diego, or Montreal to Miami -- without spending a cent on fuel."
Tesla also is expanding the number of charging ports at existing stations. For instance, the station at Harris Ranch, outside Los Angeles, has grown from one port to 10, Musk said.
"If there are about 200 stations [nationwide], there are probably 2,000 to 3,000 ports," Musk said.
Musk has said the cost of the network is between $20 million and $30 million.
Each station will cost about $150,000 each if using the existing electrical grid, and an additional $150,000 per station if solar panels provide the electricity.
"When dealing with a car with a range of 200 miles, you will have at least two or three Superchargers within that charge range," Musk said. "We'll be at the 100-station mark next year, twice as fast as planned."
There is no charge to Tesla Model S customers. The stations work only on Tesla Model S sedans.
"We actually have grid storage going on at some of the [solar] charging stations. Stationary battery packs take in energy from the solar panels, and that stationary battery pack charges the Model S. It's capable of going completely off-grid," Musk said.
He added: "If the zombie apocalypse happens, you will be able to travel across the country using the Tesla supercharging network."