Posted November 10th, 2012 @ 08:20pm by Erik J. Barzeski
The Tesla Model S starts at less than $60k and is Motor Trend's 2013 Car of the Year.
Even with its remarkable, 85-kW-hr battery, the Model S' EPA-certified 265-mile range is about 100 miles short of spanning California's two biggest cities. And if you can't manage that, how would you ever get to New York? To answer that, Tesla recently unveiled the first five of what it calls its Supercharger stations along routes connecting L.A. to Las Vegas and San Francisco, and S.F. to Reno. (A sixth is located at SpaceX's Hawthorne factory.) These Superchargers are veritable electron fire hoses, delivering DC energy directly into the battery at rates up to 80 kW, bypassing the on-board 10-kW (or optional 20-kW) inverter(s), and gaining 150 to 160 miles in range in 30 minutes. As Tesla says, stops on long drives often take that long anyway, if you use the bathroom, stretch, and grab a snack.
Moreover, charging will be partially sun-powered -- the stations' roofs are covered with Musk's Solar City photovoltaic cells, but don't worry, you can recharge at night -- and it's permanently free to Model S owners with the 85 kW-hr battery, and 60 kW-hr cars with supercharging capability. As Musk says, as long as you bring enough sandwiches and drinks, you could drive across the country without your wallet. Tesla predicts 100 stations nationwide by 2015.