Tesla celebrates 10 years of installing Supercharging stations. The first ones were installed in September 2012. It supported the launch of the Tesla Model S, the model which helped push the EVs. It started at 90 kW and increased up to 120 kW.
The high power output is only one of the various updates. In recent times, the company also filed a patent for Tesla restaurants to set up Charging stations. Tesla introduced multiple concepts that were really pioneering. The network itself was the first proprietary fast-charging network for an EV brand. It was initially free to use for Tesla cars, which was an important marketing tool to encourage customers to buy a Model S.
Additionally, the company utilized an Ultra-compact proprietary connector for both normal AC charging and fast DC charging. Back then, the DC-only CHAdeMO was a separate thing from the SAE J1772 AC connector. At that point, CCS was not yet available. Tesla pioneered a super convenient way of opening the charging inlet (through a button on the plug). It also had the very fast authorization of the vehicle with automatic charging start (it was easier than in the case of the general industry, due to a unified fleet of cars and its own customer database).
All of the charging-related data and settings were available on the vehicle’s screen (or the app), instead of on the charger’s display (there were none). Tesla was the first to build a fast charging network with multiple stalls per single station, while CHAdeMO chargers were usually lonely and usually only 50 kW. Tesla’s had a real strategy, which included even the station layouts, which correspond with the position of the charging inlets (left rear), with an idea to park in reverse.
In 2012, other manufacturers were still mostly neglecting BEVs, while in the case of the fast-charging infrastructure, automakers appeared as though they’d like to focus on vehicles and let someone else build the chargers (government, fuel stations, charging operators). Now, 10 years later, the Tesla Supercharging network has roughly 39,000 stalls at about 4,300 stations in 46 countries around the world. In recent quarters, on average, Tesla deploys a new station for every 1,000+ cars it sells.
According to the manufacturer, the network provided enough energy to power Tesla cars for some 20 billion miles (32 billion km). In Europe, the company is testing also Supercharging of non-Tesla vehicles at select stations in 14 countries. In the near future, Tesla is expected to repeat its approach with the Tesla Megacharging network for electric trucks.