FRANKFURT Jan 21 Electric carmaker Tesla Motors
and rail operator Deutsche Bahn opened four
new charging stations along key autobahn routes on Tuesday in an
effort to make electric cars viable for long-distance commuting
Tesla's efforts to build out a network of so-called
"supercharger" stations, aims to broaden the appeal of electric
cars which have failed to gain widespread acceptance in Germany
because of concerns about range and a lack of charging stations
that allow for a fast battery top-up.
Rival carmakers such as BMW, which recently
launched the i3 electric vehicle, and Daimler which
offers an electric version of its Smart car, are marketing these
vehicles as "city cars" suitable mainly for short distances.
Tesla says its Model S has a range of 500 kilometres, but a
lack of a charging infrastructure has limited its appeal.
On Tuesday Tesla and DB Energie, a unit of Deutsche Bahn
which provides electricity for Germany's rail network, said they
had built charging stations with 120 kilowatts of direct current
power, allowing drivers to replenish half a battery charge in
about 20 minutes, making long-distance commuting more viable.
Tesla and DB Energie opened supercharger stations in
Wilnsdorf, Bad Rappenau, Aichstetten and Jettingen, enabling
Tesla drivers to travel between the cities of Munich, Stuttgart,
Frankfurt am Main, and Cologne.
By March 2014 Tesla aims to have a charging network that
allows Tesla drivers to reach destinations in half of Germany, a
spokeswoman for the company said.
Tesla now has 14 supercharger stations across Europe. These
offer Tesla drivers six to eight spaces where clients can get an
80 percent charge of their car's battery in about 30 minutes.
DB Energie is also working together Deutsche Bahn's own
car-sharing business Flinkster to establish charging stations
for its fleet of 450 electric vehicles.