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Digitimes Research: Tesla to expand Supercharger stations in 2018
Carlos Chen, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei

Tesla had sold 233,856 electric vehicles (EVs) and deployed 948 Supercharger stations with 6,426 charging piles in total around the world as of September 2017, and as the company is expected to sell 800,000 EVs cumulatively by the end of 2018, it has to expand Supercharger stations with 25,000 charging piles in total in 2018.

The ratio of the number of cumulatively sold EVs to the total number of charging piles at Supercharger stations fell from 62.3 in 2013 to 36.4 in September 2017 and will further drop to 32 by the end of 2018 if Tesla realizes the expansion, Digitimes Research estimates.

While charging piles at Superchargers have power output of 145kW to enable 20-minute charging for running 250km, Superchargers need connection to power grids of high voltage and amperage and enough ground space for EVs to stay for charging. As an alternative, Tesla has deployed destination chargers each with power output of 20kW at commercial facilities such as hotels, restaurants and shopping centers. Cost for installing a set of destination chargers at a location is much lower than that for setting up a Supercharger and they complement each other. As of June 2017, Tesla had installed 5,886 sets of destination chargers around the world.

In addition to Superchargers and destination chargers, Tesla has offered a battery swap program to allow EV owners/drivers to exchange batteries at swap stations, with the entire process fully automated. Battery swap takes much less time than charging at Superchargers but costs much higher. Tesla is also developing wireless charging through cooperation with a technology development company. However, there have not yet been common international hardware specifications for battery and wireless charging and therefore there is not significant demand for battery swap and wireless charging for the time being.

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