Ever since Tesla introduced its Supercharger stations back in 2012, the company has talked about adding a combination of solar arrays and batteries to them, essentially removing them from the grid.
Out of the approximately 800 Supercharger stations, only around a half dozen stations ever received solar arrays. However, Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently said that the company wants to install more battery and solar systems with the new Supercharger Version 3. He also said that eventually “almost all Superchargers will disconnect from the energy grid.”
Musk had said previously that Tesla’s solar arrays and Powerpack technology would power some Supercharger stations in sunny regions, enabling them to go off-grid, saying that “the grid won’t be needed for moderate use Superchargers in non-snowy regions.”
However, Musk just recently said via Twitter that the company will not only add solar panels and batteries to all their Superchargers, but that “almost all” stations will eventually be disconnected from the electricity grid.
Musk’s recent comment was made in response to a complaint that Tesla’s Superchargers make use of electricity generate by coal-fired energy plants. This statement is true, however, a recent study found that the average electric car in the United States currently gets the equivalent of 73 miles to the gallon for a gas-powered vehicle, even after accounting for emissions from electricity production.
However, while electric vehicles are currently more fuel efficient and better for the environment than gas cars, Musk does not seem content to stop there. He apparently wants to remove Tesla’s superchargers from the grid entirely as part of the company’s goal to accelerate the development of sustainable energy technology.
Tesla Superchargers vary in size from 6 to 20 stalls in varying stages of use. The larger stalls are often constantly in use, meaning that Tesla would need some rather large solar arrays to make good on those promises. At this time, it isn’t clear exactly how the company intends to make the transition happen.
Tesla announced earlier this year that they would be expanding their network of Superchargers to include installations with 50 to 100 stalls. These larger installations are expected to come equipped with solar carports.
Tesla will begin producing its own solar panels in conjunction with Panasonic at Gigafactory 2 starting this summer. This may pave the way for more of Tesla’s facilities to receive solar panels. The company has also acquired permits for construction of over 40 more charging stations since they announced their planned expansions 2 months ago.