Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

Tesla Plans Super-Charging Stations for Texas (But Still Can’t Sell Direct)

Map courtesy of Tesla Motors

Tesla plans to have six super-charging stations in Texas within the next six months, with more to come.

The luxury electric car company Tesla announced plans today to rapidly expand its network of “super-charging stations” across the country, including a number of spots in Texas. But the company still can’t sell to consumers in Texas directly, despite a strong effort to lobby state lawmakers to change the rules.

The charging stations are meant to allow drivers to go from city to city, and the company is planning to put them outside of Austin, Dallas, San Antonio and Houston. In fact, the company plans to add so many charging stations that within six months, they say it will be possible to travel from Los Angeles to New York in a Tesla. The stations charge a car for 20 to 30 minutes, allowing a Tesla S to run for around three hours of driving, and are free for Tesla owners. (Other electric cars, however, cannot charge at the stations.) That’s significantly faster than existing public charging stations in Texas, but Tesla’s East Coast network of charging stations was negatively reviewed in the New York Times earlier this year. And that review was subsequently criticized by the paper’s public editor. Regardless, the controversy doesn’t appear to have slowed Tesla down: the company posted its first profitable quarter recently, earned a near-perfect score from Consumer Reports for the Model S, and paid off its federal loans nine years early.

But if you want to go to a Tesla dealership in Texas and take a test drive or buy a car, you’ll be disappointed. Because of state franchise laws, car makers aren’t allowed to own their own dealerships in Texas (as well as many other states). While Tesla lobbied hard this legislative session for an exception, they weren’t successful.


  • WeaponZero

    There was no controversy with the NYT. The editor on purpose disconnected his car before the supercharger was finished charging. Effectively, he didn’t put enough miles into the car so he couldn’t have made it whether he wanted to or not.

    The tesla has 2 readings, EPA miles and predicted miles (based on your driving habits). The author on purpose reported the EPA miles making it seem like it wasn’t his fault but neglected to report predicted miles. Effectively, the moment he disconnected from that supercharger without fully charging. It was a lost cause.

    • Kip Schmidt

      We must be reading different articles. The one I read he was reporting the estimated range the car was giving him, he also states pretty clearly that he was following “Tesla’s range-maximization guidelines.” I think the general public (which is who Tesla is targeting right?) would agree with the editor, if you have to drive 45 miles and your “mileage range” is 90 miles….you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

      I came to this article because I am interested in purchasing a Tesla someday, I wouldn’t call this a failure on the battery or the drivers part….it’s simply software on range calculation that needs to be perfected. Unfortunately this comes with a lot of trial and error and user reports, which is why I always wait a few years for a technology to be perfected, so they can iron out the wrinkles. Yes it’s cool to have one of the first models of anything groundbreaking, but you take a risk and pay a price for cutting edge, brand new technology, you become a Guinea Pig for the company.

      As far as the problem as I can see, ideally you would have a minimum and maximum range read out, and the minimum should be dead on ZERO, no if’s, and’s or but’s about it. I hate that my Nissan Altima’s fuel gauge rests on that little pin at the “Empty” indicator, the digital odometer tells me an estimate of zero miles left in the tank, but I can still drive another 30. I want “Empty” to mean empty and I want “Zero” to mean zero. I get that car manufacturers want to give you “a little cushion”, some mental insurance so you don’t hyperventilate, but I would trust more in a reading that zero represents true shutdown. So for Tesla’s “minimum and maximum” that i am suggesting, that means under the worst climate conditions, using the worst driving habits, and the power using features of the vehicle being maxed out you have “X” miles to drive, and that number needs to be exact for people to not have the right to bitch at Tesla. If you need to get 20 miles and your minimum range says 19, but your maximum says 80, and yours conks out at 19……blame yourself for taking the risk, not Tesla.

      All of this really excites me, it has a lot of promise and I hope it is the way the future is headed, but it’s still in it’s infancy as far as the general public is concerned. I think the article was fair and objective, I don’t blame the driver, this was a Tesla problem (maybe even an isolated one), that Tesla will have to overcome to gain the public’s trust in their technology, and I have every confidence that they will. I have driven a friends Tesla Roadster….it is nothing short of breathtaking, I mean it LITERALLY took the breath out of me to unexpectedly accelerate that fast when I stepped on the pedal and heard no noise. Tesla is to the automotive industry what Apple and the iPhone was to the phone industry…..leaps and bounds, and I can’t wait till I can afford a Tesla of my own.

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