Tesla to use clean energy to power Superchargers in 2021
As EVs become increasingly commonplace on our roads, Tesla plans to ensure that its Superchargers are greener than ever before.
We know for a fact that EVs are greener than ICE-powered cars, whether it’s the fact that they require fewer raw materials during manufacturing, or the elimination of emissions when they hit the road. Understandably, many question how green the charging points are.
All Superchargers are being converted to solar/battery power. Over time, almost all will disconnect from the electricity grid.– Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, Twitter
It’s one thing to plug your EV into a charging point rather than filling it up with petrol, but can we be sure those charging points source their power sustainably? Tesla aims to answer that question, making sure its Superchargers only use energy sourced from renewables during this year.
Superchargers power the way
By Tesla’s own reckoning, its network of Superchargers is the world’s fastest charging network for EVs. The UK is home to 624 of the more than 23,000 Supercharger devices installed worldwide. On Earth Day 2021, Tesla’s Mid-Atlantic Market Lead, Justin Lange, claimed that their fleet of Superchargers have delivered 2.4 TWh of power, allowing drivers to make 8.3 billion emission-free miles.
That saved an estimated 334 million gallons of petrol and diesel, while offsetting 6.6 billion pounds of CO2. However, up until 2021, UK-based Superchargers have been using power sourced from the National Grid, meaning some of the electricity may have come from the burning of fossil fuels at some point.
However, Mr Lange used his Earth Day post to pledge that Tesla would become 100 per cent sustainably sourced by 2021. The precise game-plan for ensuring this is somewhat elusive at present but it could have something to do with a plan Tesla founder Elon Musk unveiled in 2017. Just four years ago, Mr Musk intended for Supercharger stations to rely on large solar arrays and isolated battery systems to allow them to disconnect them from power grids.
Ball in Tesla’s charging court
The drive towards 100 per cent renewably sourced energy for Superchargers is a bold and ambitious objective for Tesla. Weaning ourselves off ICE vehicles is one of the easier choices to make but developing renewable-powered EV charging infrastructure goes one step further.
A brand as large as Tesla going that extra step is a signal that the EV revolution must be more far-reaching and go beyond changing the types of cars we drive. It needs to get to the root of our energy needs and ensure that EVs won’t become dependent on a source of power which will have to be replaced down the road, potentially at a high cost.
By nipping the issue in the bud, augmenting existing Supercharger stations, Tesla could help redefine what it means to power up in the 2020s and beyond. Range anxiety can be overcome by ensuring there are sufficient stations with chargepoints, but making the push toward 100 per cent renewable powered Superchargers is a statement that EVs aren’t just superficially green, but green right down to their roots.