Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) is taking the automotive industry by storm -- but that's not all. Some of the largest energy corporations around are kicking themselves for not investing earlier in one of the electric-vehicle maker's smartest moves. Here's what you need to know.
If you build it, they will come
Tesla Motors, is building more than cars -- it's building a support system to overthrow the entire way we conceive of getting from Point A to Point B. The key: electric-vehicle charging stations. Tesla Motors knows it's up against a century-old status quo of gas guzzlers, so the company is doing everything in its power to ease consumers' switching costs.
While technological improvements are enabling Tesla drivers to go further on faster charges, the company's massive network of Supercharger stations is what truly sets it apart, and what energy companies wish they'd cashed in on earlier.
At what is dubbed "the fastest charging station on the planet," Tesla owners can charge their vehicles at more than 10 times the rate of public charging stations. With 84 stations open across the nation, Tesla drivers can now make a full American road trip without needing a single drop of gas. Just check out the video below for proof.
It's all about infrastructure
In a recent survey, 527 utility professionals offered surprising thoughts on Tesla's major infrastructure advances. Only 17% of those surveyed said there isn't an opportunity for utilities to deploy electric-vehicle charging stations, while 46% said they utilities are missing out on the opportunity. It's not hard to understand why. Here's a map of Tesla Motors' 84 current stations:
But by the end of 2015, the United States of America is going to look more spotted than a three-year-old with chickenpox. Ninety-eight percent of the entire U.S. population will be Tesla-able:
Perhaps the survey's most shocking number is the 37% of utility professionals who responded that "[u]tilities are not and will not miss the [electric-vehicle charging station] opportunity." Unless energy companies have super-secret plans they're not telling anyone about, their current grand total of 147 stations doesn't come close to Tesla Motors' plans.
If you look at the geographic spread, it's easy to see that utility companies aren't concerned with nationwide access. While Tesla wants drivers across every state, energy companies are currently playing to their strengths. Sorry, Washington state, Texas, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Tennessee, Maine, and many others -- utilities have yet to put a single station in your state
It takes two (hundred stations) to tango
With more than 200 stations expected for 2015, Tesla Motors is gearing up for massive growth. And while utilities are collectively sitting on billions in cash, they're either bureaucratically unable or unwilling to go where this electric-vehicle maker is going. Ironically, Tesla seems less afraid of infrastructure investments than the corporations that lit up America -- and they're paying a pretty price in lost profit.