Technology entrepreneur and founder of electric car maker Tesla Motors Elon Musk has launched the right-hand drive version of its flagship Model S.
Tesla also used the event to unveil its first UK supercharger, which Model S owners can use to charge their cars for free, at London’s Royal Victoria Docks – a site representing the beginning of a proposed route to Paris and then the rest of Europe.
The Tesla superchargers provides up to 120kW of direct current to the Model S battery, which can provide a half charge in as little as 20 minutes, and will be strategically placed along well-travelled highways to allow Model S owners to drive from station to station with the fewest possible stops.
“Superchargers enable long distance travel but also, in a city where off street parking is rare and expensive, Model S customers will be able to access a network of Superchargers across London to charge, quickly and for free, at their convenience,” said CEO Musk.
“We are looking at locations across the capital to place our first set of inner city superchargers. Our plan for routes to other cities in the UK is still on target for the end of the year, but we are also announcing this new initiative in order to best serve our London-based customers.
“We expect customers to be able to travel the length of the UK and Ireland for free using our superchargers within the next 18 months.”
Last month, Tesla Motors was served with an interim injunction after being accused of a “smash and grab raid” on British company Ecotricity’s network of electric car charging posts.
But despite the furore, Musk said that by the end of the year Model S drivers will be able to travel almost anywhere in Europe using superchargers as new superchargers come online at a rate of roughly one per weekday, with 116 online worldwide including 19 locations in Europe.
The firm also used the event to release a Model S iPhone app, which allows owners to remotely check on charging progress, start or stop charging, and heat up or cool down Model S before driving.
In the UK, prices for the Model S start at £50,280 on the road, including the £5,000 government plug-in grant, but Musk told reporters at the launch event that a cheaper model will be coming within the next 3 years, costing roughly £25,000.