Tesla is getting ready to produce the Model 3 at volumes unprecedented for the company, but it hasn’t forgotten about that other key ingredient in the electric vehicle mix – charging infrastructure. The automaker announced today that while it began 2017 with over 5,000 Superchargers installed globally, it will end the year with double that, offering 10,000 Supercharger connections worldwide.
The Destination charging connectors, which are commercial equivalents of the high-capacity home chargers EV owners install in their garage, will also get a boost, from over 9,000 installations today, to over 15,000 by end of year. In total in North America, the number of Superchargers will increase 150 percent, and EV-loving California will get over 1,000 new Superchargers during 2017 within the state alone.
Tesla’s global doubling of the Supercharger network in 2017 represents an exponential acceleration of its expansion; the Supercharger program launched in 2012, meaning it’s taken five full years to get to the 5,000 charger milestone. The expansion also includes increasing capacity at existing sites, adding more in dense areas like urban centers, and generally trying to eliminate and alleviate existing and expected wait times for drivers.
In the end the Tesla infrastructure push will be much-needed, since the additional demand brought about by a Model 3 vehicle population that could swell by as many as 500,000 units per year (if Tesla meets its ambitious production goals) will come with an equivalent spike in charging location demand. And since most Model 3s will likely have lower top range capacity when compared to Model S and X vehicles, demand could spike further still.