Tesla's Solar Supercharger Revealed in California, and It Looks Awesome


Tesla is building one of its largest charging points, with giant solar panels sheltering up to 40 electric cars while they charge. Photos revealed Wednesday shows the new installation in Kettleman City, California, is taking shape. When complete, it will provide a way to quickly recharge Tesla cars at a halfway point between Los Angeles and San Francisco, along Interstate 5.

The addition of solar panels is a big step toward CEO Elon Musk’s goal to transition the world onto clean energy. While cheaper electric vehicles like the $35,000 Tesla Model 3 mean more people switching from gas-powered cars, these vehicles need a renewable source of energy in order to make a difference. While most cars gets around 32 miles per gallon on average, an EV driving in the United States currently gives out the equivalent emissions of a 40 miles per gallon car, due to the country’s energy production. Solar points like these will help make Tesla’s vehicles even more efficient.

According to plans obtained by Electrek, this new station will have 40 stalls, making it a major charging point for the company’s cars. These are expected to be arranged in an A/B arrangement, meaning there are 20 power points split between two cars each. The charging point also includes a lounge, with tables and restrooms for customers to wait while their car charges.

User “jchag” from the Tesla Motors Club forum posted further images of how the station looks in practice:

The Kettleman City project.


The supercharger network is a key aspect of Tesla’s plan to bring electric cars to a mass market. The points charge up cars with up to 120 kilowatts of power, meaning a 90kWh Model S can charge from zero to 80 percent in 40 minutes. Owners receive 400kWh of free charging credit per year, after which they pay a fee that’s “a fraction of the cost of gas.” With 1,032 stations providing 7,320 access points globally, and more expected to open soon, the company has poured tons of resources into rapid expansion.

The Kettleman City charging point is part of what Musk has referred to as the “mega supercharger” plan. In the company’s earning call in August, Musk said that he thought it would be cool if charging points had “great restrooms, great food, amenities, hang out for half an hour then be on your way.”

The new stations look to be taking the shape of the “mega superchargers” revealed in Tesla’s own renderings:

Solar panels at work.


If Tesla gets its way, similar panels will soon start arriving on people’s home in the shape of Tesla solar roof tiles. The company plans to begin shipments of textured and smooth style tiles sometime this year.

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