Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA ) passed a fresh milestone this week, after the electric-car maker officially connected its East Coast and West Coast Supercharger network. This will allow Model S drivers to travel virtually for free across the U.S. without ever using a drop of gas. Tesla's CEO, Elon Musk, wasn't shy about sharing the news. Yesterday he tweeted that approximately 80% of the U.S. population is now within range of a Supercharger station.
If you're not yet familiar with the term "Supercharger", it's Tesla's answer to range anxiety, a fear which has plagued electric vehicles up to this point. These highly energy-efficient EV-charging stations let Tesla drivers charge their cars along major highways throughout the United States and Europe. Moreover, the company's Supercharger technology delivers the fastest electric-vehicle charge in the world today -- recharging half the capacity of a Model S battery in as few as 20 minutes!
Electric cars have had a tough time catching on in the U.S., largely because of the lack of EV infrastructure. Today, Tesla is one step closer to changing that. While right now you'll need one of Tesla's $73,000 cars to use the supercharging stations, the network creates tremendous value for Tesla as it aims to convert more drivers into EV owners with the coming of its more affordable Model E.
Gas-free road trips forever
With this latest completion, coast-to-coast Model S travel is now a reality. Two Model S owners were the first to complete a cross-country drive using only the superchargers, according to PlugShare. Meanwhile, two groups from Tesla will attempt to set speed records driving across the U.S. later this week. Musk is also planning to get in on the Supercharger action, with plans for a cross-country trip with his family over spring break -- perhaps he'll be driving Tesla's upcoming Model X crossover.
Looking to the not-so-distant future, Tesla is now on track to have its Superchargers covering 98% of the U.S. population and parts of Canada by next year. The company is also expanding its charging network globally. In fact, Tesla says it will cover 100% of the population of Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, and Luxembourg with superchargers by the end of the year.
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