Tesla’s Urban Supercharger: Making Urban EV Ownership a Reality

Electric vehicle ownership in big cities still presents a hurdle for the industry.

The problem is, people can’t charge their EV overnight in their garage, like EV owners do in more rural or suburban areas.

Thankfully, Tesla may have found an answer to this problem, in the form of their Urban supercharger.

Tesla’s Urban Supercharger

The Supercharging network has always been a draw for consumers, as Tesla seems to be ahead of the curve when it comes to charging. Tesla’s Urban supercharger should help the company capture a new demographic in cities across the U.S.

The urban Superchargers are smaller and easier to install, making them ideal for city centers. These chargers will provide 72 kW of dedicated power to each car, regardless of how many Tesla’s are plugged into adjacent charging stations.

Although Tesla’s main Superchargers can deliver up to 145 kW of power, this capacity is split between two stations. So, if more than one Tesla is charging at a time, the charging rate drops.

The Urban superchargers are a tad slower than Tesla’s main superchargers but offer more consistent charge rates.

A New Way to Charge

First, Tesla gave us the Supercharger network for long distance travel, meaning an almost global charging route now exists. Next, they gave us Destination chargers for charging once at a destination.

Now, Urban chargers will make us rethink how we charge in cities.

Tesla Supercharger: Photo credit – Darren Berg (flicker)

Tesla’s ingenuity means people in urban communities can now realistically consider buying an EV. According to Tesla:

“Supercharger stations in urban areas will be installed in convenient locations, including supermarkets, shopping centers and downtown districts, so it’s easy for customers to charge their car in the time it takes to grocery shop or run errands.”

With cars like the Model 3, over 100 miles of range could realistically be added while doing the weekly grocery shopping. For some people, this will last them for the week, especially those commuting within the city limits.

Up and Running

Tesla has already opened the first two urban charging stations in Chicago and Boston.

Tesla owners get 1000 miles of free charging annually but, after this, they have to pay to use the network. The price is linked to the electricity rate in the market. Currently, charging in Massachusetts costs 22 cents per kWh, whereas in Illinois it only costs 15 cents per kWh.

Will these new additions to Tesla’s charging infrastructure change the way we think of EV ownership in big cities? Let us know in the comments section below.

By Robert Bacon
Updated: September 27, 2017