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Tesla expects coast-to-coast superchargers this year

Tesla CEO announces plans for a network of superchargers that allow the company's all-electric vehicles a broader range of operation.

Good news for folks who've dropped $70k on a Tesla Model S: You might actually be able to drive it across the country by the end of the year.

At the D11 Conference, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company expects to have superchargers in place in most metropolitan cities this year, and will triple its supercharger coverage throughout the country. The new chargers should allow drivers to Los Angeles to New York City.

Tesla's electric cars don't need superchargers to power up--they can also plug into to any 110-volt or 220-volt power outlet--but traditional chargers can take as much as six hours to charge fully using Tesla's universal connector. Supercharger stations can restore half the car's battery in about 30 minutes.

Currently, Tesla's Supercharger network connects San Francisco to Las Vegas (via Los Angeles), and Washington, D.C. To New York City and Boston. The latter network caused a brouhaha in February, when New York Times reviewer John Broder failed to reach a charging station before completing his trip. Musk accused the Broder of sabotaging the trip on purpose, citing the car's official logs. The Times' public editor conceded that Broder made bad decisions regarding fuel management, but said the review was written in good faith.

Regardless of who was right, the review did publicize a couple of key points about Tesla vehicles: They require much longer to "refuel" than gas-powered cars, and they demand a greater degree of power management by the driver. Hopefully these hassles will become less pronounced as Tesla installs more superchargers throughout the country. The three-fold expansion of the network is a step in that direction, and with Tesla now turning a profit, the company is unlikely to slow down anytime soon.


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