Tesla announced Monday that it plans to expand its Supercharger network into city centers.
Downtown Chicago and Boston are first up, according to a post on Tesla’s blog. The Windy City will be receiving three new Superchargers by the end of 2017, while Beantown will get three by the end of 2018, as well as some in its densely populated suburbs, according to Tesla’s Supercharger map.
There are currently 951 Supercharger stations across the U.S. equipped with 6,550 chargers, but few are located within the urban cores of major cities, where people are least likely to have garages with immediate charging access.
As of now, a downtown Los Angeles resident with a Tesla must venture 15 miles to Burbank or Hawthorne, or 10 miles to Culver City to find a Supercharger for their vehicle, while a Philadelphia resident must drive over 25 miles north to Levittown. New York, Chicago, and Houston all sport only one Supercharger for all of their residents.
To kick off Tesla’s effort to reach urban consumers, Chicago will be receiving three new Superchargers by the end of 2017, Tesla projects. Boston will see four by the end of 2018, as well as several in its densely populated suburbs. The stations will be set up in “convenient locations” including supermarkets and shopping centers, according to the blog.
The new urban Superchargers are designed to be smaller, and to handle more cars with more consistent charge times than their predecessors.
With the Model 3 just out the door, the urban supercharger push is just one step in what appears to be a much bigger expansion for Tesla. Three stations are slated to appear in Hawaii by the end of 2018, with one in downtown Honolulu as early as the end of this year. And hundreds more have been promised in Central America, Canada, New Zealand, and Eastern Europe. Only time will tell whether the increased convenience of charging will be enough to boost sales.