An Electric-Car Highway in California, But Just for Tesla

By Eliza Strickland | September 23, 2009 10:19 am

Tesla-RoadsterIn a move that may give electric cars a literal and figurative boost forward, five battery-recharging stations have been established on California’s Highway 101, which will give certain electric cars enough juice to drive all the way from San Francisco to Los Angeles with one less-than-one-hour stop to recharge. But there’s a catch: At the moment, only Tesla Roadsters can charge at the stations [The New York Times].

One of the biggest concerns regarding all-electric cars is the limited driving range provided by a fully charged battery. The Tesla Roadster, for example, can go about 250 miles before pooping out, inspiring the new term “range anxiety”–the fear of running out of juice far from your home recharging station. This project is meant to demonstrate that ubiquitous availability of fast-charging stations could make that point moot [The New York Times].

Tesla teamed up with the Dutch bank Rabobank on the project, and four of the charging stations (open only to Tesla cars, per the deal) will be in the parking lots of the bank’s branches. Because the car will have to be plugged in for 30 or 45 minutes, the charging stations are situated in areas with shops and restaurants. Stopping at one of the five stations would give a driver enough of a boost to cover the 380 miles between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The bank will cover the cost of the electricity, which isn’t expected to be very high. Fully charging a Tesla costs about $4. Most drivers using the stations are expected to top off their batteries rather than recharge from scratch, which takes more than three hours. And Tesla Motors … has sold just 700 roadsters so far. “I do not believe we’re going to have a hundred cars lined up tomorrow – there’s not that many of these cars on the road yet” [San Francisco Chronicle], says bank executive Marco Krapels.

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Image: Tesla Motors

  • hsr0601

    Theme : Addressing Range Anxieties.

    1. As for long trip needs, all but Americans and many of developed nations have existing automobiles, in this regard, EVs are best suited to their daily use until the infrastructure comes into wide use. And people are already doing that.

    2. With a long extension code inside, just in case, riders can get help from almost anyplace as electricity is everywhere, not to mention the stores to provide charge service, and many of EVs are equipped with a quick charger.

    3. The on-board IT system shows the driving radius on a maximum range display under the current state of charge and calculates if the vehicle is within range of a pre-set destination. And the navigation system points out the latest information on available charging stations within the current driving range.

    4. Unlike fuel price, as time goes by, the price of battery is expected to drop dramatically in the foreseeable future as with computer components, in that case, mounting additional battery might be not a problem. And the EVs that come in a range of 200 to 300 miles between charges are on fast-tract toward mass-market, as well.

    5. Indian EV maker Reva said it has also set about addressing anxieties about e-car range, this fantastic wireless electricity/ “instant remote recharge” will be widely available down the line.

    6. The vehicle-to-grid communication technology is helping the battery serve as a storage to prevent the costly blackout standing at about $90 to 100bn per year. That means utilities are shedding cost for additional storage facilities and ratepayers are selling electricity during peak demand so that EVs can make more economic sense, as we know.

    It is also in the best interest of electricity utilities that EVs are going mainstream, thereby they need to put in charge stands where needed around highways, major roads with card readers or cell phone tech.

    7. I’m hopeful that the charge network will extend the select districts to nation-wide scale throughout the world, and this environment can usher in active private investings in EVs. And I remain confident that investing in charge stands could give rise to multiple times as much investing effect, so to speak, some billions of investing, this simple deployment, could call into the most-sought energy independence and solid recovery around the world.

    Thank You !

  • Doug Nickerson

    I’ve never heard any information about how well these purely electric cars function when the temperature drops below zero F for extended periods. I live in an area where this happens every winter so I’m very interested in hearing about this.

  • Chad Schwitters

    I’m not sure I see the point of mentioning that only Tesla Roadsters can charge at the highway stations…the situation could not be different, because they are the only highway-speed EVs sold in the U.S.!

    I am sure that there will be plenty of J1772 chargers that many cars can use as soon as other cars are available.

  • Jennifer Angela

    Sounds like a fantastic idea to me, as petrol has caused enough pollution already and it is being used to produce heaps of different kinds of products, so people might run out of it otherwise.

  • Jerry

    Production of electricity leaves a carbon footprint. Nothing is free.


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