Tesla Charing Network

Actual Innovation

So much of what passes for innovation is little more than swapping whose bank accounts profits go into while putting others out of business. Yeah, Uber, I’m looking at you! The convenience of your app: yeah, innovative. Everything else: all that is hideous about capitalism!

But Tesla…

Now these guys are innovative! They are seriously changing personal transportation! Their impact is being felt, in a positive way, throughout the entire automotive industry as they have made much of their intellectual property open source for any company to use.

I feel rather confident that the Chevy Bolt, all electric with a range of 238 miles per charge and a price tag of around $35k, is a result of Telsa. Many other luxury car brands lost market share in California and had to cough up their own luxury EVs to compete.

And Tesla is scheduled to release the Model 3 this year: around a 230 mile range per charge and selling for around $35k. An electric car for the masses.

Infrastructure

So, we’ve been moderately worried about the super charger network when everyone starts driving a Tesla. Charging times at the superchargers run about 20 – 30 minutes. Tesla is so popular in California (even Atlanta, GA!) that superchargers are filling up with cars charging as people take long trips.

Tesla Charging Station Solar
Tesla Solar Charging Station

Well, Tesla announced today that they are going to double their current charging infrastructure! Many of the new charging sites will be solar powered. This means they will go from 5,000 chargers to 10,000 en route chargers in the US. They will increase “destination chargers” (at hotels and restaurants) from 9,000 to 15,000. All told, the north American network will expand 150% this year!

Tesla Charing Network
Tesla Charing Network (Red = current; Grey = new)

They are ramping up to sell a lot of electric cars! They plan on producing 500,000 cars next year. By comparison, they made 76,000 cars last year.

My Reaction

I’ve blogged several times about the fact that we love our Tesla and Leaf and never want to go back to driving a combustion engine again. They’re terribly sluggish by comparison to the astonishing responsiveness of an electric vehicle. And stopping at gas stations is a total nuisance now. Who wants to have to do that? We just plug in at home (solar powered) and start the next day with a “full tank!” Another perk: everyone who bought the original cars gets free charging at the super chargers for the life of the car! (For that reason, we haven’t traded up to the newer model.)

This is innovation: Tesla is changing an entire industry without voting any automotive company off of the island (and killing those jobs). They are making the world less noisy. They are making the world less polluted with CO2. They are providing a better driving experience. And the cars just look damn fine!

Yay! True innovation!