Tesla Motors has opened its first supercharger station for the state of South Carolina in Santee, a resort town with approximately 900 residents. In the ribbon cutting ceremony opening the Supercharger Station on Thursday, Santee Mayor Donnie Hilliard compared the station to the arrival of the Jetsons, stating, “We’re here.” The Jetsons is a futuristic cartoon which originally aired in the early 1960s, and the cartoon characters lived in the futuristic world of 2062.
The Santee supercharger station will be open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and according to Tesla Motors, will only require between 20 – 30 minutes for nearly a full charge.
For home charging stations, the typical time to charge a full battery is a few hours to fully charge a vehicle, compared to the Supercharger station, which clocks in at approximately 75 minutes. Another bonus of the Supercharger station is that it’s free for Tesla owners.
Just a few days ago, Tesla Motors announced that their national network of supercharging stations is nearing completion. The network will run from Los Angeles, California to Connecticut and from L.A. north to Vancouver, Canada.
According to Jerome Guillen, Tesla’s Vice President of global sales and service, Tesla Motors is only meeting the huge demand he is experiencing first-hand. Guillen says he receives dozens of emails daily from people requesting supercharger stations to be built at certain locations. There are plans to place supercharger stations in Arizona, Ohio and Pennsylvania, amongst other states.
How many Tesla vehicles are currently out there on the roads? Guillen places the number at over 25,000 Model S vehicles. In Norway, they are currently the best-selling vehicles with a completed supercharger network reaching the arctic circle.
Tesla Beset With Other Challenges
The good news of a full-coverage US network in the works is hampered by other vehicle hiccups which Elon Musk, Tesla Motors’ Chief Executive Officer has recently taken to disparage and dismiss publicly on Twitter. It had its underpinnings in last year, as the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began their investigations into battery fires of the Tesla Model S sedan and instigated a recall and demand for a reduction in fire risks.
In a statement to Bloomberg, Musk said that the NHTSA is particularly hard on Tesla Motors precisely because of the attention and publicity it has always received. He compared the fire incident ratios for gasoline cars, which is one in 1,300 to Tesla vehicles, which are one in 10,000.
“We should be applauded for how amazing our car is for never catching on fire relative to a gasoline car,” Musk said.
The latest fire incident occurred in an Irvine, California garage back in November 2013, where the Model S was recharging. Tesla Motors concluded the cause was due to house wiring, while Orange County fire officials concluded it could have also been due to the car’s own charge cable.
The other incidences back in November which prompted the NHTSA’s investigation involved two separate fires that started after road debris punctured the vehicles’ battery packs while on the road. However, Musk was quick to point out that Tesla Motors was quick to cooperate with the NHTSA and get them all the facts.
Despite the hiccups, it looks like Tesla Motors is forging on full-steam ahead with Elon Musk behind the wheel – as the public waits for the installation of the next supercharger station to come up right behind Santee’s.
By Joscelyne Yu