Tesla Motors announced the opening this week of its first Supercharger quick-charging location in the Keystone State, with intent of connecting Pittsburgh to Philadelphia.
The Supercharger station is located in Somerset, Pa., accessed via exit 110 of the I-70/I-76 east-west turnpike, a toll road. This is the main route connecting the two major cities, with Harrisburg, the state capital, in between.
“This Somerset location will support free travel between Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia for Model S owners,” said Tesla in a statement. “This station also supports the Tesla cross-country route which will soon enable Model S owners to drive from Los Angeles to New York for free.”
More specifically, Tesla’s Somerset location is around 77 miles east of Pittsburgh and about 138 miles west of Harrisburg. From Somerset to Philadelphia, one would drive past Harrisburg, and the eastward route is around 238-miles long.
Somerset therefore does not evenly split the distance between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and more likely the 85-kwh Model S versions with EPA-rated 265-miles range would be better candidates to attempt Somerset to Philly.
Model S sedans with 60-kwh batteries are rated at 208 miles by the EPA and might not make it from Somerset to Philadelphia, but Pittsburgh to Harrisburg should be no sweat.
Without getting into that, Tesla emphasized only the positives.
“Superchargers are designed for city to city travel, allowing Tesla Model S electric vehicle drivers to travel for about three hours, take a 20 to 30 minute break, and get back on the road charged up,” said Tesla.
While there has been some back-and-forth on the topic among Tesla owners on Tesla forums – and despite Tesla’s suggestion above – there is actually no restriction on locals from using the Supercharger, regardless whether they have “city to city” travel plans.
Tesla’s Supercharger stations provide up to 120 kilowatts of power and replenish half a charge in as few as twenty minutes.
Ordinarily, 90-percent charging is recommended, though full recharging is possible. Charging to 90-percent comes at a quicker rate than to 100-percent, because Tesla tapers back the charge rate as a battery pack gets closer to 100-percent charged. This is sort of like slowing a water faucet’s flow as a bucket fills to the brim.
Those with an 85-kwh pack tend to have it easier more often when there are range concerns, and 60-kwh cars tend to need a full charge more often.
A generally suggested protocol is to charge to the amount needed, and move on, especially if another owner is waiting, or just to be courteous.
The Somerset Supercharger is at 1030 North Center Avenue Somerset, PA 15501. It is proximal to a Wendy’s, Starbucks, and Ruby Tuesday, It’s open 24 hours, has six charging stalls, and currently, no other public charging is nearby.