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Tesla Motors Charging Network

I have seen some mention in this forum about Tesla's plans to deploy their own charging stations. I was wondering if anyone actually had more information on this. Where did this information/rumor come from? Was there any mention of when, how many and where these would be? Any speculation on where they should put them?

The obvious answer for me would be to have them along freeways between their retail/service locations with an interval of about 100 miles but that would take a very large number of them.

Could non-Tesla cars charge at these locations? So many questions. They all might become irrelevant if a large public charging network will appear but will either be in time for the Model S reservation holders to use when we get our cars?

@David70: that's going to be very tough in the Model S. Perhaps swap cars with a friend for a bit?

Nope. One way and staying at the other end up to 5 months. I know I won't be able to do one day 750 mile trips, but with superchargers I don't see why I can't make it in two days.

With level 2 charging at a long lunch break each day, overnight full charging, it seems just possible. But a supercharger would take all the anxiety out of it.

Shortage of imagination, hereabouts! ;)
Let's suppose some of the MIT, Stanford, IBM research hype about 10X capacity works out. (Some were claiming it would only take 3-5 yrs to modify existing production lines to accommodate their advances.) That changes everything.

For the same weight, you get 3,000 miles. Or 900 miles for 1/3 the weight. Or 1,500 miles for half the weight.

Charging times/connections etc. would have to evolve too, of course. But it would make all sorts of things possible.

A side benefit would be that normal range use would always be in the "sweet spot" ranges of the batteries. No over-charging or over-draining necessary.

Arithmetic typo: 900 miles for 30% of the weight.

There's some saturation point where you've simply got enough for almost all situations. There will come a point when more range is effectively meaningless to nearly all drivers.

Growing up, we took long driving vacations. Looking back over some of the routes that I recall, on "travel days" we'd log between 500-600 highway miles. Of course, there was lunch somewhere along the way. If I use this as a benchmark, a car that could replicate such a trip would satisfy 99.9% of my driving needs. Ideally, you wouldn't even need the lunch break to top up, but I think it's reasonable to include a 30-minute "top up" in the calculation. If so, that puts the 500-mile battery (and that's 500 miles mostly on highways at the top of the reality range.

Again, this is an eastern/rust-belt perspective. Western drivers face longer distances, on average.

The longest road-trip that I ever took was about 750 miles, again, all interstates. I'm really not sure that the EV industry needs to be targeting manic college kids' exploits, though!

The need for energy is insatiable; Almost as much as the need for energy storage, as well as portability. If there is a market for a 1000 mile range 100lb pack it will happen one day.

If there is any doubt in how insatiable the desire is for energy just look at the memory or storage R&D.

Today you can carry 1,000,000 songs comfortably and there are still companies doing things like this: (carry around 1,000,000 movies)

Personally, my range needs will be satiated as I won't need to drive over 300 miles in a day (I'm not my Father or Grandfather) *and* our family camps on trips so we are good to go. It's only price and weight that is not satiated for the general market (TM knows this). And TM also knows there is a market for it. I fully expect TM to compete (either directly or indirectly, with their IP or hardware/firmware/software through other companies) in those markets.

Who knows what batteries we'll have by the time we're ready to replace our original battery packs? IBM is projecting a prototype lithium-air battery in 2013 with production in 2020. No big deal, except they're expecting 1000x energy density according to CNET.

I'm with Robert on this one. I think in 5 or less years we will have battery potentials that will exceed anyones need for distance. I think we will be able to drive non stop from the east coast to the west without stopping but that size battery just won't sell because 99% of ppl would never even attempt it without stopping .
However the trucking and bus industry will need those Megawatt batteries. Think about 4 motors, one for each rear wheel of the cab and the power needs.
I think a local bus could probably be made now with around 8 Tesla battery packs that could drive for 12 hours at speeds under 40mph (city speeds)..... maybe only 4 packs depending on gear ratios and top speed.
As far as charging a 900 mile pack for a consumer car, I don't think there would be a worry about charging the full 900 every night in the garage. With a battery that size I would just us a 120 volt slow charge because cars usually sit idle 20 hours a day 7 days a week.

I think a local bus could probably be made now with around 8 Tesla battery packs that could drive for 12 hours at speeds under 40mph (city speeds)

8 * 85kWh / 12h = 56kW. You underestimate the average power need. You might manage eight hours with eight packs, but even that is a bit of a stretch. Buses are a lot heavier than Model S or Roadster so they use a lot more power at the optimal range speed point (rolling resistance is a lot higher = optimal speed point is higher).

That's not the problem with those though. If you drive eight hours using 680kWh battery you have 16 hours time to charge that and that can be achieved by 40+kW charger (you would need to change bus and not just the driver at the and of the shift, and that could be a problem though).

Problem is with big long-haul trucks that drive using highways and very long distances. It doesn't matter anymore how big the battery is, you will have to charge it at some point, and there is no charger in the world that can output the energy needed before car is used again. Probably never will. You need something that can transfer the energy a lot faster safely than an electric plug.

Those will probably be fuel cell vehicles in the future. Preferably with liquid fuel like methanol which is easy to transport and store. Same probably applies to buses too. There is a weight threshold where FC starts to make sense. It isn't sensible with passenger cars with future batteries and reasonable charging times (and plugs everywhere), but it is for a lot heavier cars like buses and trucks (and others, imagine a construction site where you don't hear any engines, only other noises).

Commercial vehicles do not need public friendly chargers. A bus with 8 packs can use 8 chargers. If you change the top speed gear ratio you'll get more range (bus doesn't need to do 0-60 in 4 seconds). Battery packs for truck and buses can definitely be swapped at commercial swap stations.

A ~10 car NY subway uses about 35kWh/mile without regenerative braking.
Let say the bus is 1 subway car. That's 3.5kWh/mile without regenerative braking.
680kWh/3.5kWh/mile=194 miles

So yah if the bus did not have regenerative braking and was always fully loaded, never stopped it would only run for about 4 hours at city speeds.... was definitely not talking about tour buses or long haul trucking. Did not say it would be practical with todays tech :-)

I doubt that most city buses travel 194 miles in a day, at least in the Northeast where longer-haul commuting is mostly done on rail. So, Sudre's proposal would work perfectly well for city buses -- a little pricey, though.

City buses should be charged inductively at every stop. Here, induction makes a lot of sense. At the current state of technology, the intermittent charging over the day would not be sufficient to sustain charge, but it would extend the range to a degree that much smaller batteries (read: save money and weight) would do.

Translink in Vancouver is playing around with a few hybrid models of buses. Haven't checked the details, but I think the battery is on the roof; it's thick all the way back. They certainly run quieter. And no blast of diesel fumes as they accel away from stops.

There are still electric buses here that run on overhead wires!

@Sudre If you change the top speed gear ratio you'll get more range.

You don't. Losses are losses, independent of torque. If you require 100kW to move then you require 100kW no matter the torque car gets from the engine. You might gain tiny amount of drivetrain efficiency, but I doubt that would be any significant amount (if at all).

@Robert.Boston, I got 200+ miles easily for most of our local buses counting distances they travel in just business hours. More if you count nighttime driving. Example: Bus number 75: ~40 minutes end to end, ~16 km distance = 48km/h average speed = 240 miles in eight hours). Quite ordinary route (that one drives a small stretch of highway, thought to get another that doesn't use that and got even faster average speed. Go figure.)

Because of really high rolling resistance those buses and trucks actually might have range high point at highway speeds. They do have also bad aerodynamics, but weight is still playing the main role there. Go slow and you lose more. This is reverse to Roadster.

Sure battery swapping might be possibility, but since there is no battery pack standards (and can't be, at least not yet) cost of building such swapping stations for that small fleet of vehicles for a tech that changes this rapidly is economically unsuitable. You can charge several packs at once using several chargers (probably smartest thing to do for charging), but it still requires huge power output from single point of charging station. Inductive charging / bus stop works too, technically, but costs way too much to build.

Fuel cell just plain makes sense for those. You don't need the huge power that large battery pack can output and definitely you could use cheaper tech (fuel tank, either methanol or hydrogen) and pay for relatively small fuel cell compared to batteries.

Yes, lots of routes with overhead wires here, too. The bulk of the downtown, and some major cross city (EW) routes are wired. They took out trolley tracks long ago, and probably regret it. Though the friction-factor (loss of) was always a complaint while they were in.

I think BEV buses will await the next-gen or two of capacity upgrades. 3-10X would do it! I think, by the way, that such batteries would doom Better Place and similar schemes. The frequency of recharging required drops off the map.

HOWEVER: there would remain one really major market: apt. dwellers, or any others without personal overnight charging facilities. They would want/need some very fast method of 'refueling' regardless of battery capacity. And in some areas that makes up a large portion of current or potential car owners.

P.S. to above: car sharing clubs etc. are a major possibility for such Plugless Ones, too. And EVs are well-suited to their usage mix -- as long as they have ranges measured in the 00s of miles. I guess there's a 300-SmartEV pool, though, in San Diego(?).

"Suddenly, the whole 'I can't take road trips,' and range anxiety and all these red herring arguments are essentially obliterated."

After reading the article it sounds like they are going to concentrate on the coasts first then maybe get something going across the country. As long as vehicle demands remains strong I am sure they will continue installing chargers.

Which route across the country do you think they will take? South or North? I would think the first one should be the southern route simple because it can be driven year round.
I think the Northern route is better to look at.

It only makes sense to cover the coasts first. Much denser population, so they get the max bang/$. Likewise, it probably makes more sense to cover the more southern e/w route. I'm partial to the northern routes, myself. But when you think about states like Montana with more cattle than people, or Wyoming, one of the only states actually losing population...

Now, Teo, don't forget all those Bakkan millionaires and very flush gas/oil workers ... though it would be kind of odd to see fossil fuel producers in EVs!! Of course, gas is transforming the power gen market:

I would love to be able to drive my Model S from SoCal to NoCal, but it's going to take more than a single charging station to make that work. For example, on the idea of a charging station at the mid-point on Interstate 5, I do the math and I don't see how a single charging station is going to make a SoCal-NoCal trip workable.

Here is my scenario:

1. Start the trip in Pasadena with my fully-charged 300mi Model S. (Among SoCal cities, Pasadena is about a "typical" distance from Northern California. Some are farther, some closer.)

2. Harris Ranch is 200 miles from Pasadena, so when I get there I have 100 miles of range left. That should get me to 80% of 300, or 240 range miles.

3. Continue to, say, Palo Alto. Again, this is "in the middle" of the Bay Area. That is 160 miles from Harris Ranch. I now have 80 range miles left.

4. Overnight at a relative's house. If I can't get access to a 220v dryer plug, I'm stuck with five range miles per charge hour, right? Maybe 60 miles/night?

5. Next day, drive maybe 80 miles visiting relatives, traveling to SF, etc. Now I have about 60 range miles left.

6. Trickle charge 12 hours overnight again, and I'm up to 120 range miles, maybe.

How am I going to get back to Harris Ranch, 160 miles away? Maybe if I spent extra hours charging, or didn't drive while I'm in the Bay Area, I could do it, but a practical trip looks very, very tight to me.

It seems that a practical SoCal-NoCal trip is predicated on either (1) favorable start/end locations, (2) 220v dryer plug access, (3) many more hours of trickle charge than is realistic, (4) access to high capacity chargers while I am at the other end of the trip, or (5) additional high capacity chargers also at the top and bottom of this route.

But if you assume I could use additional HC chargers for me to do this trip, then I'm going to need three 30 minute top-offs in a single weekend jaunt. Now we're approaching irritating.

Then, of course, is the reality that no one on I5 travels at just 55mph, the speed that is the basis for the 300mi range estimate. So, the above numbers are actually very agressive.

Bottom line, if you don't have access to a dryer plug everywhere you sleep, you are going to have range anxiety on long trips.

Can someone find a flaw in my math, please?

The Tesla page that talks about the Roadster's charging cable possibilities indicates that, from a 30amp, 240v dryer outlet, the roadster takes 10 hours to charge. 245 range on the roadster so I'm thinking that they're anticipating 24.5 mile charge per hour from the 30amp, 240v dryer outlet.

If we assume (and yes, I know that it's dangerous to do to) that the Model S will do about the same then 24.5 mile charge per hour over a 12 hour period leads to a 294 mile charge.

It seems to me that the bottom line is that, if you have access to a dryer plug where you sleep you'll be just dandy... I'd be far more concerned with only having access to the 120v 15 amp outlet. That only charges at about 5 mile charge per hour.

There will also be at least HPC charging available at the local Tesla stores and maintenance facilities.

Good point Mycroft! Also, don't forget the increased proliferation of non-Tesla EV chargers. I imagine that, pretty soon, a couple of hours at the mall could turn into a couple of hours of charging. Even at 30A x 240v you should pick up 50miles or so.

And anyone who can't make it home from the mall with 50 miles charge is shopping way too far afield!!

Depends of the population density. In here when we were cruising around north eastern border of Finland we encountered a sign "Kauppa 50km" translation: "shop 31miles". I found that funny until we had driven an hour after that shop without seeing any signs of civilization (except the road itself). After that it didn't sound quite as funny anymore.

Round trip that makes 62 miles. And it wasn't "mall", more like tiny grocery shop, for something worth calling mall you would have to travel far longer trip if you live there.

I bet places like Canada it gets far worse for low population density areas.

This pasadena scenario looks a lot like how I would use my Model S. I also would like to have at least one fast charger somewhere between some of those places so that I could fast charge up to what I need before going back home and having my garage charger do the rest of the charging.

Looks like we still have long time before BEV finally really obsoletes ICE cars. Cars are (almost) ready, but charging infrastructure is still at its infancy.

@Brian H: I'm thinking more about destination stores than going to the grocery store. Like Timo was saying, I like in a place without huge population density (Oregon) and I don't live in Portland.

A "for instance:" we went to Portland to go to IKEA this weekend (closest one) which is about a 250 mile round trip. Almost all of it it on I-5 where the prevailing speed is around 70mph most days. With the 85kWh battery I would worry about having enough charge to get home without at least some recharge while I was shopping. An extra 50 miles in the 'ol battery would make me a lot more confident of making it home with all of my flat-pack goodies.

Actually, now that I've written this, I think that I'll send the IKEA in Portland an email suggesting that they install an EV charger! ;-)

@phb: I think that I'll send the IKEA in Portland an email suggesting that they install an EV charger! ;-)

Why bother? According to this report, they already have 2 level charging stations.

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