Elon Musk to open up Supercharging patent designs

The Tesla CEO hopes to spur the development of supercharging stations

Hoping to spur an industry standard for recharging electric vehicles, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he plans open up his patented designs for Supercharging stations.

Musk made the announcement about the Supercharging technology during the UK launch of Tesla's Model S electric vehicle (EV) on Sunday.

Supercharger
A Tesla Supercharging location (Image: Tesla).

By allowing other automakers to use the Supercharging technology, Musk hopes to boost EV adoption.

He noted that for the technology to be rolled out, there would be some "cost sharing," according to target="new" href="http://green.autoblog.com/2013/06/06/tesla-ceo-gets-emotional-over-nada-during-shareholder-meeting-s/">Autoblog.

Today's fast chargers operate at about 50kW and take about 40 to 45 minutes to recharge an EV battery. Musk claims the Supercharger stations cut that time in half by charging at 120kW. "This is something that allows you to make a brief stop at one of our Tesla Supercharging stations, charge a car very quickly and be on your way," he said during a 49-minute presentation to reporters and investors.

Musk also said the number of supercharging stations being deployed by Tesla continues to increase dramatically.

Supercharger
Tesla's Supercharging locations today (Image: Tesla)

Telsa's 94 Supercharging stations now cover most of the metropolitan areas in the U.S., the company said. In a year, Musk expects Supercharging stations to be within reach of 98% of the U.S. and Canadian population. Superchargers are located near amenities like roadside diners, cafes and shopping centers.

The cost of the charging stations is built into the price of a Tesla car, so recharging is done for free.

"So by buying a Tesla, you'll essentially have free long distance travel throughout the country forever," Musk said in his presentation. "It's not just free now, it's free forever."

Lucas Mearian covers consumer data storage, consumerization of IT, mobile device management, renewable energy, telematics/car tech and entertainment tech for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at  @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

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