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All charged up: Pumping electricity at the Supercharger station

Charging a Tesla electric car at a Supercharger station is an education in high tech. The charger plug looks like a gas pump handle designed by a team of alien engineers. And of course it communicates with the car (in the world of Tesla, devices that talk to each other are par for the course.) You press a button on the charger, and your Tesla's access port springs open, Ali Baba style. Inside is a plastic cavity surrounded by a blinking circle that changes colour (this is to let you know the state of charge.)

Although you can charge a Tesla almost anywhere with an electrical outlet, it might take a while. A Supercharger station is the fastest way to charge, so Tesla owners flit between them like hummingbirds. The first part of the charge goes very quickly - electricity pours into the battery like water from a fire hose, and you can add about 250 kilometres of range in as little as 20 minutes. But it's an exponential process - as the charge continues, the rate slows down. Experienced Tesla drivers usually shoot for no more than an 80 per cent charge, because the last 20 per cent is the slowest. I'm starting to think of it as an electrical ROI.

Today's charge was fast – in 22 minutes, my car reached 181 miles (about 300 km) of range. Fifteen minutes later, it was at 220 miles (just over 350 km.) The next leg of the trip was nearly 300 km. I decided to let it charge for another few minutes, just in case.

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The Series:

Day 2: Tesla takes on the Hollywood Hills with power to spare

Day 1: Electric Tesla on its way from San Diego to B.C.

Introduction: Can our writer make it from San Diego to Whistler in a Tesla?

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About the Author
National driving columnist

Peter Cheney launched his driving column after 25 years as an award-winning feature writer, investigative reporter and news correspondent. His writing steers clear of industry jargon to focus on human experience and the passion of driving. More

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