Peter Anderson | Sep 25, 2012

Tesla Motors' CEO Elon Musk has unveiled the company's new US-based Supercharger network, a series of charging stations for use by Tesla owners.

Constructed in secret, the first six 100kW Supercharger stations will allow Model S owners to extend their roaming range throughout California and into parts of neighbouring Nevada and Arizona.

The current network could technically allow a trip from Lake Tahoe, via Los Angeles and then back out west to Las Vegas.

The company says that with the higher volumes of the Model S comes economies of scale that have allowed them to build the Supercharger points far more cheaply than before.

The Supercharger stations themselves are solar-powered, using SolarCity carports. Once installed, Tesla reckons that the chargers won't cost anything to run after installation, and are expected to be net exporters of energy back into the power grid.

"Tesla's Supercharger network is a game changer for electric vehicles, providing long distance travel that has a level of convenience equivalent to gasoline cars," Tesla Motors co-founder and CEO Elon Musk said.

"By making electric long distance travel at no cost, Tesla is demonstrating just how fundamentally better electric transport can be. We are giving Model S the ability to drive almost anywhere for free on pure sunlight."

Supercharger stations can charge the Model S for three hours of driving at 100km/h in the space of thirty minutes. The three hour mark is what Tesla calls the "convenience inflection point for travellers at a highway rest stop."

In other words, the charging regimen is based around toilet and snack breaks.

The Supercharger hardware is available on the 85kW/h Model S as standard, while 60kW/h owners can option their S with Supercharger.

Provided your Model S has the Supercharger point installed - and as long as you live in the US - you'll get free charging for the whole time you own the car.

Roadster owns will miss out, however, due to the lack of Supercharger hardware on Tesla's first production offering.

Tesla plans to significantly expand the network, concentrating on high traffic corridors across North America.

"Within two years, you'll be able to travel practically anywhere [in the USA]," Musk told the crowd at the launch party.

The company says that Model S owners will soon be able to drive from Vancouver to San Diego, Miami to Montreal and Los Angeles to New York. The five year plan is to completely cover the US and huge chunks of Canada.

Superchargers will also be installed in Asian countries during 2013.

There are no specific details available on any Australian roll-out, with the Model S tentatively set for launch here in 2013.

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