Tesla has opened its 100th Supercharger, adding to its network of free recharging points for the Model S, with the end goal of creating a huge infrastructure for electric cars to roam without range-anxiety. The latest milestone means Tesla now has 86 Superchargers spread across North America, along with 17 in Europe, and two in China.
Telsa started building out its charging network a little over a year and a half ago, with six locations in California. By January of this year, the company had sufficient Superchargers in place for a driver to go coast to coast across the US.
Superchargers are effectively high-speed power stations for the Model S, pumping electricity into the EV at a rate roughly 16x that of a normal public charging point. Tesla suggests drivers could get half of a full charge in 20 minutes, with each location having 4-10 stalls.
The goal is to more than double the existing European infrastructure by the end of 2014.
However, there are even swifter systems potentially in the pipeline. Last year, Tesla demonstrated a battery swapping system for the Model S, which would switch out an empty power pack for a fully-charged one in minutes.
The company envisages drivers either returning to collect their original battery, or paying the difference in a one-off billing arrangement, depending on what was most convenient for their route.
Not every Model S can use the Supercharger network, however. Support is standard on the mid-range 85 and above, though can be added to the entry-level car for $2,500. Actually recharging is free for the lifetime of the car, however, which Tesla says is to encourage owners to take longer trips.