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Tesla finishes coast-to-coast Supercharger installs

Thu, 23 Jan 2014 00:00:00 -0800

Tesla has delivered on its promise of an all-electric coast-to-coast trip being possible by this winter, activating the 69th and 70th Superchargers in its growing network. But, while it's technically possible to drive a Tesla Model S from New York to Los Angeles, the route itself is a bit... unusual. The Supercharger Trail as we'll call it (in a 21st century update to the Oregon Trail) takes a hard turn south in South Dakota as it progresses from east to west, down through Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, and then on to California. At about 3,560 miles, it's not the most efficient way to get from NY to LA, and one will need to add charging time on top of the estimated 53 hour trip.

Back in the spring of 2013, Tesla made the announcement that it would install hundreds of superchargers across the U.S. and parts of southern Canada, with the goal of covering 98 percent of the U.S. by 2015. Just 21 Superchargers were installed by September of last year, but Tesla picked up the pace in recent months, installing the most recent Superchargers just days ago.

A Supercharger can charge a Tesla Model S to 50 percent capacity in just 20 minutes, and up to 80 percent in 40 minutes; the rollout of the Supercharger network has been seen by Tesla as crucial in its goal of eliminating range anxiety. Speaking of range, the Model S has an EPA-rated range of 265 miles, though Tesla says 300 miles is possible if cruising at 55 mph.

The last two superchargers were installed just days ago, linking up overlapping driving-range circles shown on the map.

It's now also possible to drive a Tesla all the way from Boston down to Miami, or to go from Seattle to Los Angeles. About the only isolated spot right now is in Texas -- there are five Supercharger stations there with overlapping ranges, but you won't be able to make a wild dash to the next closest Supercharger that's just a few hours west of Albuquerque, NM. Similarly, one won't be able to drive a Tesla from South Dakota to Washington state directly, without dropping by Los Angeles.

By Jay Ramey