November 2nd, 2012 by Guest Contributor
All-electric vehicles may be the way of the future. Or not. However, they are certainly becoming more popular. A plug-in vehicle produces no direct emissions, reducing smog and releasing no carbon into the atmosphere.
The name ‘Tesla’ has become synonymous with all-electric cars, recalling the famous scientist Nikola Tesla. Now Tesla Motors is setting out to address one of the biggest problems with all-electric cars: Range.
Most electric cars have a relatively short range and then have to be recharged overnight. It’s simply not practical to recharge on the road during long-distance trips, and people’s concern about this (even if it isn’t very relevant to most people and can easily be overcome by renting a car for long trips) is slowing adoption of the technology.
Most people are going for hybrids or for ‘extended range’ electric cars, in which a traditional internal combustion engine cuts in when the battery is depleted.
There are 4,688 EV charging stations throughout the U.S., compared with about 129,000 gasoline stations, according to the Department of Energy and the Census Bureau.
On October 19, Tesla took the first steps towards ending that. Six Tesla Supercharger stations, all in California, are now available to the public in October, and if you own a Tesla you can use them at no charge. Tesla unveiled the Model S, its first mass-market vehicle, in June. The base model sells for $49,900 after a federal tax credit.
These stations take only an hour to recharge the batteries on the Tesla S, or you can stop after 30 minutes to get an extra 150 miles. Needless to say, that’s still a wait, which is why Tesla is locating its charging stations near malls, restaurants, and fast food outlets.
Within two years, Tesla hopes to have the entire country covered. Obviously, it is prioritizing areas where people already drive Teslas, but it is also offering a major incentive for new purchases. Some will still look for a Toyota Prado or Jeep Wrangler.
In the future, you may be able to drive your electric car everywhere. With ranges starting to reach 200+ miles and supercharging stations popping up, these vehicles will become much more practical for everyone’s use.
Tesla is blazing the trail, but it’s entirely probable that restaurants, fast food outlets, and strip malls located on the interstate will start to offer charging stations routinely. And that will change the electric car situation completely. The development of charging stations and increased sales will go hand in hand and we may see a lot fewer exhaust pipes on our streets in times to come.
According to industry experts, solar-powered stations in California would produce more clean energy than is needed to keep the cars running.
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