In the early days of the internal combustion engine, gas stations were generally spaced a tank apart, or the distance the average car could go on a single tank. History is repeating itself with Tesla's announcement it would build a network of fast charging stations on major traffic corridors around the U.S.
The first six stations have already gone up in the California towns of Folsom, Gilroy, Harris Ranch, Tejon Ranch, Los Angeles, and Barstow. The placement seems designed to support road trips from San Francisco to Los Angeles and Lake Tahoe, and from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.
Tesla calls its new charging stations Superchargers. The 90 kilowatt output of the chargers will restore 180 miles to a Tesla Model S battery pack in about 30 minutes. These chargers are equivalent to the SAE specification for a DC Level 2 charger. The SAE is working a specification for a DC Level 3 charger that could more than double the output of Tesla's Superchargers.
Controversially, Tesla has made its Superchargers proprietary, only usable by its Model S, and of that vehicle, only those equipped with the two highest range battery packs. However, Model S owners will enjoy free charging at the Supercharger stations.