For the first time, Tesla Model S drivers can travel from coast to coast at no charge, thanks to a network of “superchargers” stretching across a number of major US cities. In the past, Model S drivers have been limited to a 265-mile range before their batteries ran out, facing charging times as long as 9 hours. The supercharging stations now make long-distance roadtrips in electric vehicles a real possibility by offering up to 170 miles of charge in just 30 minutes. The best part? Use of the stations is absolutely free.

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While there are still many states that lack the supercharging stations, the ability to drive across the US is no small feat for an electric car. The 71 current stations are sparse through the middle of the country, but more readily available on the coasts. Notably, there are also a number of charging stations located in Texas, allowing users to more easily travel within the country’s second-largest state.

By the end of 2015, the company plans to open stations allowing drivers to reach 98% of the 48 contiguous states and even parts of Canada. Superchargers are located near roadside diners, cafes, and shopping centers so that drivers can keep occupied while they wait for their vehicle to recharge.

Tesla has launched a similar, smaller-scale experiment in Europe, with 14 stations spread across Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, and Austria. While it’s unclear exactly how many stations will open in the EU, it seems that by the end of the year Tesla will have supercharging stations available throughout Western Europe.

+ Tesla Supercharger

Via Engadget