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Tesla had a record year of Supercharger expansion but fell short of its goal

Tesla aimed to double the size of its Supercharger network from ~5,000 to 10,000 Supercharger stalls this year.

With the end of the year near, it is becoming clear that Tesla is not going to achieve this ambitious goal, but the automaker nonetheless reached a new record deployment of charging stations in 2017.

Tesla started out the year with about 5,000 Superchargers at 770 locations in its network.

In April, the company announced its plans to double the number of chargers on the network by the end of the year in a blog post called “Charging is our priority.”

Now with just a few days left in 2017, Tesla currently operates just over 8,250 Superchargers at 1,120 locations around the world.

They added 350 stations over the year – 38% more than their previous record – and over 3,150 Superchargers.

Those numbers could grow a little in the next few days since Tesla currently has quite a few stations under construction that look almost completed, but it still gives us a pretty good idea of the growth of the network over the last 12 months.

Here are the maps for the operational and planned Superchargers from April 2017, when Tesla announced the expansion, and from now in December 2017:

North America



Electrek’s Take

Obviously, it’s not exactly where Tesla wanted to be at this point and it’s easy to just say that it’s another delayed goal, but it was also a record year for the Supercharger network, which is already the single most extensive fast-charging network in the world.

Almost every Tesla owner has at least one complaint about a particular route not being covered by Superchargers (come on guys get the 15 and 40 done up here in Quebec, please and thank you), but they don’t have much to complain about compared to most EV owners.

Like we discussed in our latest podcast, the Supercharger network is one of Tesla’s best advantages over other automakers.

Most automakers working on electric vehicles still rely on third-party charging networks, which have also been expanding rapidly, but they are not optimized for user experience. Since they are standalone businesses, they have to optimize use rate in order to make money, which results in low numbers of charge points per station.

Instead, Tesla didn’t launch the network as a profit center but as an infrastructure to enable long-distance travel – complementary to its car business.

While Tesla is now changing some aspects of the network and ending its free access for new owners, it still resulted in the best model for a DC fast-charging network yet.

We are only now starting to see other automakers coming up with competitive networks, but mainly in Europe with Ionity, which is backed by BMW, Mercedes, Ford, and Volkswagen, and Ultra-E, which is backed by Allego, Audi, BMW, Magna, Renault, Hubject, and others.

In the meantime, Tesla’s Supercharger network is still growing. While the automaker didn’t reach its 2017 goal, it has the even more ambitious goal of having 18,000 Superchargers by the end of next year.

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