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Tesla taking Supercharger network to city centers, starting with Chicago and Boston

Tesla has largely focused its Supercharger charging station network on highways and popular roads, but the Silicon Valley automaker will soon change that. Tesla announced it will begin to expand its Supercharger charging network to city centers, with downtown Chicago, Illinois, and Boston, Massachusetts, first on the list.

The electric-car maker said it wants to make Tesla ownership easier for everyone, especially those who do not have access to overnight charging stations or stations situated at various workplaces. The new Tesla Supercharger stations will use a new a post design that takes up less space and makes them ideal for urban areas. Additionally, the stations will be installed at supermarkets, shopping centers, and other downtown areas. Tesla continues to identify areas where its charging stations will best support drivers. In this case, urban dwellers may charge their Tesla while grocery shopping or running other errands in the city.

Tesla Supercharger network, North American coverage map, Feb 2017 [graphic: Isaac Bowser]

Tesla Supercharger network, North American coverage map, Feb 2017 [graphic: Isaac Bowser]

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Tesla also says the price rates for charging will be identical to current Supercharger stations, which is still less expensive than topping a car’s tank off with gasoline. For some owners, Supercharger station use is still free, however. The new stations will also use from a new architecture that ensures constant 72-kilowatt power to each vehicle; consistent charging times of about 45 or 50 minutes will ensue. The highway chargers can charge at up to 135 kw, and only Teslas are able to take that much juice at the present time.

Plans to double the automaker’s Supercharger network were announced earlier this year. Then, Tesla said it plans to have more than 10,000 stations, up from its current 5,400 around the world. The rapid expansion likely coincides with Model 3 production, which is expected to ramp up in December of this year. The electric-car maker also operates 9,000 Destination Chargers for owners at restaurants and hotels.

Tesla said it will continue to expand its network, but urban areas are on deck first.

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