Tesla’s supercharger network is going to get way, way bigger in the next year, but on Wednesday, CEO Elon Musk let on that some of the improvements might be on a different scale than another few charging points.
During a question and answer session of Tesla’s second quarter earnings call, Musk said that Tesla was on the verge of unveiling its first Mega Supercharger station, a combination of a gas station and a luxury-class rest stop, packed to the brim with amenities to keep a Tesla road tripping family occupied while their electric car fills its battery back up at a supercharger.
Musk was responding to a question from Colin Langdon, an analyst at UBS, who wanted to know how Tesla assessed the numbers and needs of its supercharger network going into the mass production of the Tesla Model 3. Musk explained that expanding the network, which he claims will triple by the end of 2018, is more than just adding more superchargers, it’s also figuring out where the superchargers should go. The network is divided between superchargers that are placed strategically on major highways to enable longer distance trips, and ones in city centers that serve the daily demands of customers in high traffic areas (Musk mentioned the the uber-rich, super-dense neighborhood of Malibu in Los Angeles specifically). To make the experience even better for Tesla A-listers and owners, Musk said the company was planning a different kind of supercharger as well.
“We’ll also be experimenting with our first, I dunno what you’d call it, mega Supercharger location, like really big supercharger location with a bunch of amenities so we’re gonna unveil the first of those relatively soon.” Musk said. “I think we’ll get a sense for how cool it can be to have a great place if you’ve been driving for three four hours to stop, y’know have great restrooms, great food, amenities, hang out for half an hour then be on your way.”
John McNeil, Telsa’s president of global sales and service, chimed in, explaining that in some places, particularly the supercharger stations in between cities, still have a lot of open slots much of the time, meaning that the network isn’t operating at full capacity even at its current size. This, he said, was a good sign for the network being able to handle the influx of Model 3s, which are surely coming as the company ramps up production.