Until now, Tesla’s growing network of Supercharger stations was generally aimed at the long-distance crowd. If a (very) premium-priced sedan can’t make the five-hour trip to your sister’s house for Thanksgiving, well, second thoughts might crop up about that purchase.
To accomplish the goal of Tesla proliferation, much of the automaker’s fast-charge network sprouted up in locales convenient for travellers. Places like Holiday Inn Express parking lots, restaurants, visitor centers, and Macadoodles Fine Wine & Spirits in Springfield, Missouri. In the Midwest, hungry travellers can hop off the Interstate and charge up at Meijer while shopping for juice boxes and potato wedges.
However, logic (and infrastructure) states that the majority of Tesla buyers, current and future, live in large cities and don’t leave town all that often. They’re also more likely live in condos with garages free of any plug-in points. Tesla’s latest round of Supercharger construction takes this into account, dropping the fast-charge stations directly where those urbanites inevitably show up once a week.
Starting in Chicago and Boston, the newest urban Superchargers will crop up in grocery store parking lots. A no-brainer, sure, but it’s a move that’s secondary to the company’s initial goal of cross-country Tesla viability.
The chargers located at downtown supermarkets will be supplemented by others at shopping centers and other high-traffic, centrally located destinations. As for cost, the same variable rates apply. With hundreds of thousands of reserved Model 3s waiting to be built, Tesla can’t afford to give new owners the same free ride they once enjoyed. It also can’t afford to not have the infrastructure in place to serve those vehicles.
From Tesla’s blog:
Superchargers in urban areas have a new post design that occupies less space and is easier to install, making them ideal for dense, highly populated areas. To increase efficiency and support a high volume of cars, these Superchargers have a new architecture that delivers a rapid 72 kilowatts of dedicated power to each car. This means charging speeds are unaffected by Tesla vehicles plugging into adjacent Superchargers, and results in consistent charging times around 45 to 50 minutes for most drivers.
The roll-out of new urban stations includes eight stalls in Boston and 10 in Chicago, both of which opened to drivers today.