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Mapping a Cross-Country Charging Network

A map released today by Tesla Motors is interesting both for its content as well as for its functionality. Tesla, which makes high-end electric cars, announced the planned locations for its Supercharging stations around the United States and Canada.

These stations are solar powered recharging docks for one of Tesla’s cars, the Model S. Though these cars come with a hefty price tag (approximately $70,000), charging stations offer a unique opportunity: the chance to refill your car’s battery for free.

The map has a few cool features. The first, along the bottom edge, we see the cross-country network of charging stations at different periods in time over the next couple of years. The default setting for the map shows it’s current locations that are already up and running, of which there are 8. Dragging the slider all the way right to 2015, however, shows the planned locations of over 150 charging stations across the continent.

Another thing the map does well is showing the range that these charging stations provide. While it’s good to know where a car can go to be charged up, the information is much more useful when it also shows how far it can go from there. Each point on the map showing a station is surrounded by its range, normally somewhere around 200 miles, in a red outline and lighter tint.

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The first cross country route will be available by the end of the year. Dragging the slider along the bottom shows the charging network at different times.

Showing the range in this way makes it easy to see what sorts of trips would be possible using only electric power. Right now, for instance, one could only really drive around California. By the end of the year, the first cross-country route will be established, if all goes to plan. By 2015, nearly all of the country’s roads will be accessible.

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