Tesla is proving just how serious they are in making solar energy the standard. This week they announced their plans to disconnect almost all their Superchargers from the electricity grid. Instead, the Supercharger stations will rely totally on solar and battery power.
Tesla has been talking about adding solar arrays to its Supercharger stations since the network debuted in 2012. But until now only about 6 out of the 800 stations have solar arrays. Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the company’s plans to roll out more battery and solar systems in time for the launch of the Version 3 of their supercharger. He has taken that promise a step further and has claimed: “almost all Superchargers will disconnect from the electricity grid.” Musk made the claims on Twitter directly stating that they are not only adding solar array and batteries to “all Superchargers”, but also that “almost all” Supercharger stations will eventually disconnect from the grid.
All Superchargers are being converted to solar/battery power. Over time, almost all will disconnect from the electricity grid.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 9, 2017
The comments may have followed from some critics of the company saying that Tesla’s Superchargers are charging vehicles with dirty electricity from coal plants. While this is essentially true, the electric cars themselves are reducing polluting emissions immensely.
Previously, Musk had said that Tesla’s Powerpack and solar arrays would power some Superchargers where the conditions would allow it. “The grid won’t be needed for moderate use Superchargers in non-snowy regions.”
Tesla still has lower total emissions
Even in regions of the US where coal provides the majority of electricity generation, electric cars are still more efficient than most of the most efficient fossil fuel-powered cars. Meaning the idea to remove the Supercharger network off the grid is not essential for Musk to still be morally and environmentally leading the game. However, we know that Musk is not content with half measures so he will further accelerate the rise of sustainable energy with this move on solar and battery powered charging stations.
Tesla Supercharger stations are the equivalent of a gas station for ordinary cars. Tesla Model S and X are able to use the stations that take only 30 minutes to charge your car to the recommended 80% battery load, this supplies about 170 miles of range. The supercharger stations have places for up to 20 cars which would require a huge amount of solar power to provide full capacity. Unless the company has some news on solar efficiency they haven’t released yet, it is scientifically unclear how they can fulfill the claim.
[Image Source: Tesla]
There are about 769 stations globally. Tesla announced the expansion of its Supercharger network, earlier this year to include bigger stations that can host 50 to 100 stalls. Some of these are expected to include large solar carports which could host part for the required arrays. Tesla will start to produce its own solar panels with Panasonic at Gigafactory 2 this summer. In conjunction with this, Tesla also announced an increase in the number of Supercharger stations. There are reportedly 40 more stations currently under construction or in the permit phase since April.