Tesla is unique. Every other car maker on the planet is building cars designed to meet future emissions and fuel economy regulations. Tesla doesn’t care about any of that. It makes only electric cars. By definition, they have no tailpipe emissions at all.
It is fair to say that Tesla dances to its own tune. Its main mission is not to build cars. Its whole corporate existence is based on converting the world from fossil fuels to electric power. It is just as committed to making electricity solely from renewable sources as it is to building automobiles. Tesla’s general counsel told the Federal Trade Commission recently, “We are evangelists.” You won’t hear any other car maker making that claim.
Tesla knows in order to sell significant numbers of electric cars, consumers will need places where they can recharge them conveniently. While governments, private companies, and other manufacturers are all waiting for someone else to to the heavy lifting,Tesla is taking matters into its own hands. It is using its own money to build a large and growing network of Supercharger stations in the US and around the world.
On February 27 last year, Tesla reported it had 400 Supercharger stations in the US. Each location had an average of 5 individual chargers for a total of 2,000. 11 months later, it has 595 Supercharger stations and a total of 3,465 chargers. The company is also aggressively expanding its network into central Europe and Asia.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk says his company will be selling “millions of cars” by 2020. He boldly predicts the company will grow by 50% a year for the next 10 years. If so, that will make it one of the most successful companies of all time. It will need to keep pushing the growth of its recharging network in order to meet the needs of all those customers.
Tesla is also promoting what it calls “destination chargers” at hotels, B&B’s, and other locations where drivers plan to leave their vehicles for a while. The powerful Supercharger stations are meant for travelers who need to recharge quickly and get back on the road. Destination chargers have much lower power but are more than adequate for those times when a car will be parked for 6 hours or more.
While everyone else in the industry is focusing exclusively on range, range, and more range, Tesla is honing in on meeting the needs of its customers. We would expect nothing less from evangelists.