O ne of the great things about buying a Tesla isn’t necessarily the car itself. It’s the Supercharger network. You still can’t cross the country quite as quickly as you could in a car with an internal combustion engine, but there are enough charge stations that almost any road trip is possible. Plus, charging is free for most owners. But if you live in a major city, you may have noticed the lack of Superchargers. Over the next few years, that’s going to change.
Tesla announced this week that it plans to expand its Supercharger network into city centers. First on its list? Chicago and Boston. After those are taken care of, Tesla didn’t say where it plans to build next.
These urban Superchargers will get a new post-like design so they take up less space and fit better in crowded areas. Tesla says they’ll mostly be placed in places like shopping centers and grocery stores so that owners can charge their cars while doing errands.
Because there will likely be a lot more cars at a city Supercharger than there are along the highway, each plug gets a dedicated 72 kW of power. That means that if a couple cars pull up to charge next to you, it won’t add to your total charge time. Instead, full charges should take between 45 and 50 minutes.
For a lot of people in densely populated cities like Chicago and Boston, this is a big deal. Yes, the Model 3 is much more affordable than the Model S, but without the ability to quickly charge its large battery pack, there’s no reason to buy one.
And while suburban Tesla owners can recharge at home, urban apartment renters rarely have that luxury. The more Superchargers Tesla makes available to them, the more likely it is that they’ll be able to justify making the switch to an electric car.