On January 10Tesla has achieved something impressive. The company now operates Superchargers in all 50 states thanks to a new four-charger terminal in Soldotna, Alaska near Anchorage.
The first Superchargers opened in September 2012, and it took less than a decade to expand the network to all 50 US states — plus Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Middle East, China, Japan, South Korea and even a few states from stations in Kazakhstan.
At the time, Tesla was the only big name in electric car charging, but that’s no longer true. Thanks to a massive injection of money from Volkswagen as part of the Diesel Gateway settlement, Electrify America is the other big player in DC fast charging within the US – although “big” is a relative term.
Tesla has about 30,000 chargers (not to be confused with charging stations, which are locations with multiple chargers) around the world, while Electrify America has just over 3,000 fast chargers at about 700 live stations around the United States.
Leadership Anywhere – in a tweet Announcing the developmentTesla claimed it was now possible to “drive anywhere in the United States with the Supercharger network.” But this is not quite the case. A look at the network map shows that not only is it still not possible to drive from Under 48 to Alaska (we’ll leave Hawaii out of this map), there are large parts of the country inaccessible as well.
Tesla covered most of the interstate highway network, but parts of the plains (Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, and Idaho) are inaccessible. There are also gaps in Nevada, northern Arkansas, and a few other places. This is certainly Tesla’s claim that you’ll be able to” Driving anywhere” must stand up to scrutiny.
Electrify America is still far from having chargers in every state as well, it’s worth noting. North Dakota, Wyoming, West Virginia, Delaware, and Vermont all lack chargers (although many apparently have stations in the works), as well as Alaska and Hawaii.
What then? Electrify America says it plans to expand its network to 1,800 stations and 10,000 chargers across the US and Canada by the end of 2025, and the recently passed infrastructure bill includes $7.5 billion earmarked for EV charger development. However, it is not clear how much of this funding will go to fast charging stations for electric vehicles rather than the slower, but much cheaper, Level 2 charging stations you might find in a parking garage or supermarket.
But there are promising developments coming for owners of electric cars other than Tesla. Elon Musk recently promised to open the Supercharger network to non-Tesla electric vehicle owners who use the CCS charging standard — and the company already has an open network in parts of Europe.
Between Tesla, Electrify America, and all the other chargers like Blink, EVGo, and Chargepoint (not to mention Rivian’s upcoming exclusive Adventure Network), we might really be able to take our electric vehicles “anywhere” in the US before too long. But there is still a long way to go.
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