Tesla was the first company to make electric vehicles practical for long-distance driving when they introduced a car with greater than 200 mile range plus a network of supercharger stations across the United States. Europe now has a substantial network, as well. Instead of waiting hours for a charge, a driver can now pull into a supercharger station, plug in, and be on his way in about 20 minutes.
Only 17 months ago, three Tesla Model S vehicles headed east in the dead of winter to prove that cross-continent driving was now possible in the United States. Come summer, Michael Fritts and Lita Elbertson bagged all 50 states in their Model S adventure. Those were pioneering efforts, but now Tesla’s supercharger network has expanded to the point where taking a tour of the states with your dog is no big deal. Still, the network is anemic compared to what it will look like next summer, and so a few challenges fortunately still remain. Alaska tops the list, but then there’s Northern Michigan and the black hole of Tesla’s U.S. network: Arkansas. Naturally, I must visit these places in order to call this outing a proper adventure.
Initial reactions to supercharging? Fast! I’ve seen more than 350 miles per hour of juice flowing into my S. At times I drove for two hours and the charge to get to the next supercharger station was a mere 15 minutes. That’s hardly enough time to check your emails.
Just for fun, I walked by the pumps at a local gas station while picking up a quick charge at Mt. Shasta supercharger, in California. This one said $65, that one said $71. My supercharger fillup didn’t cost a dime. Ford or Honda drivers will get back on the highway a few minutes faster than me, but how long did it take them to earn the money to pay for that fillup? All things considered, I’d rather supercharge!