Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA ) opened its second supercharger station in North Carolina last week, making it possible for Tesla Model S owners to travel for free between Charlotte, N.C.; Richmond, Va.; and Washington, D.C. without ever needing to stop for gas. The electric-car maker is rapidly expanding its supercharger network, which lets Model S drivers charge their EVs free along major highways throughout the United States and Europe.
Tesla's superchargers are the fastest EV-charging stations available today, and promise to recharge half the capacity of a driver's Model S battery in as little as 20 minutes. For those keeping score at home, that's 20 times faster than most public charging stations. The North Caroline and Virginia stations come on the heels of another supercharger milestone. Last month, Tesla officially launched its West Coast Supercharger Corridor .
This means that Model S drivers can now drive gas-free between San-Diego, Calif., and Vancouver, British Columbia. Now, "more than 99% of Californians and 87% of Oregon and Washington owners are now within 200-miles of a Supercharger," according to Tesla. These stations are also strategically positioned near restaurants and shopping centers, so owners aren't just waiting around for 20 minutes while their cars recharge.
SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY ) is providing the solar panels for each supercharger station. On top of this, SolarCity and Tesla specially designed these solar power systems to put more energy back into the grid than is consumed by Tesla drivers recharging their cars. Cool, right? Better yet, it's also cost-effective for Tesla. Thanks to its partnership with SolarCity, and the existing charger capabilities in its electric cars, Tesla can deploy supercharger stations inexpensively .
Electrifying the switch to EVs
Tesla currently has 34 supercharger stations up and running in the United States, and six so far in Europe. Additionally, the California-based company is on track to have stations covering 80% of the U.S. population and parts of Canada as soon as next year. In 2015, Tesla's supercharger coverage will reach 98% of the U.S. population, as well as parts of the Great White North.
Tesla is also expanding its network globally. The automaker now plans to cover 100% of the population of Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, and Luxembourg with superchargers by the end of 2014 . In addition, 90% of the population in England, Wales and Sweden will have stations nearby.
This is an incredible feat for Tesla, particularly because it's only been a year since the EV maker first introduced its supercharger concept to the world . One of the main reasons more drivers don't switch to electric cars today is the fear of running out of charge. However, the global expansion of Tesla's supercharger network should continue to erode so-called "range anxiety" in the years ahead.
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It's no coincident that Tesla is one of the best growth stocks this year. The company has beaten incredible odds to get to where it is today, and it should give shareholders more reasons to smile as it ramps up production of its Model S in the quarters to come. However, with the stock having gained nearly 300 % year to date, investors can find more rewarding growth stocks elsewhere.
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