Tesla Motors Supercharger

Tesla Motors is making good on its promise to cover the United States with “Supercharger” fast-charging stations to support its luxury electric vehicles. The California-based company is expanding the Superchargers’ reach with two new stations on the East Coast.

The first East Coast Supercharger stations are located in Milford, Connecticut and Newark, Delaware, facilitating EV travel along the busy Boston-Washington, D.C. corridor. Both Superchargers are located at rest stops on heavily traveled Interstate 95.

The Supercharger adds 150 miles of range to a Model S equipped with the largest battery pack (85 kWh) in 30 minutes. That means a Model S can drive the 443 miles between Boston and the District of Columbia with just an hour of charging time. Even drivers of electric cars have to stop for lunch, after all.

The Supercharger is “super” because it pumps more electricity into a car’s batteries at a faster rate. It draws 90 kW, compared to the 10 or 20 kW of normal chargers. It also bypasses the Model S’ conventional charger to feed power directly to the battery. The system only works with the Model S.

Reinforced cables keep Model S drivers insulated from the current, and hopefully they and the rest of the Superchargers’ hardware will survive the rigors of an I-95 highway rest stop.

The stations in Connecticut and Delaware join six Superchargers in Tesla’s home state of California. They are located at shopping centers, hotels, and Los Angeles’ Hawthorne Municipal Airport.

Tesla hopes to have 100 Supercharger stations in operation by 2015, allowing drivers to take their EVs from San Diego to Vancouver, and from New York to Montreal or Los Angeles.

Limited range and long charging times are the two biggest drawbacks of current electric cars, so if Tesla’s network of charging stations can erase those concerns, they really will be super.

By Stephen Edelstein