One of the biggest problems with electric vehicle technology is the lack of a plug-in infrastructure on our roads. But that problem is about to disappear — at least for some commuters on Highway 101 going between San Francisco and Los Angeles — thanks to a so-called “electric highway” of five recharging stations between the two cities. Four of the stations are already online, and a fifth will be up and running in Goleta by October.
The stations, owned by SolarCity, are all located at Rabobank locations, with the exception of the San Luis Obispo parking garage-base charging station. Each station features fast chargers with 240V, 70 amps, and the ability to fully juice up a Tesla Roadster in three and a half hours. The Salinas, Atascadero, and San Luis Obispo locations are all grid-powered, but the Santa Maria station is outfitted with a 30-kilowatt solar array — so commuters can be confident that their cars are powered by renewable energy.
The charging stations are only compatible with Roadsters at the moment, but SolarCity will retrofit the chargers with universal plugs once they become available in approximately six months. And while owners of the $100,000+ Roadster can certainly afford to pay for charging services, SolarCity and Rabobank are giving their electricity away for free. Of course, that could all change once the universal plug is unleashed in the coming months and the masses start swarming the stations. Because once customers have had a taste of a cross-state, zero-emissions car ride, there is no going back.