So much for being green. An investigation into Tesla’s battery swap program has revealed that at least one of the company’s vehicle Supercharge stations is powered by diesel generators.
The Daily Kanban went to Tesla’s battery swap location at Harris Ranch, Calif. — which is off the Interstate 5 — and found several Model S electric cars using battery charging stations powered by diesel generators.
“Teslas charging off a diesel generator behind the Harris Ranch battery swap station. Filmed by Edward Niedermeyer on 5/22/2015 at Harris Ranch, CA,” reads the description of a video posted by the Daily Kanban on YouTube.
The Daily Kanban released a series of videos taken over Memorial Day weekend, which Tesla Motors anticipated as being a busy day for people wanting to swap out batteries and use its supercharger stations. But the Daily Kanban’s investigation showed that virtually no one took advantage of Tesla’s battery swap.
Quite a few Tesla owners, however, did use the diesel-powered Superchargers over the weekend. The Daily Kanban noted that “[t]imelapse footage of Tesla’s battery swap station not being used during the busiest driving holiday of the year” adding that there were “two backup Superchargers hooked up to a Doosan diesel generator.”
Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk touted Superchargers as a fast, environmentally friendly way to charge up your luxury electric car on a long drive. But it looks like these Supercharger stations aren’t as “green” as Musk has claimed.
Tesla says “we showcased battery swap technology to demonstrate that it’s possible to replace a Model S battery in less time than it takes to fill a gas tank.” The company said the “free long distance travel option is already well covered by our growing Supercharger network… They allow Model S drivers to charge at 400 miles per hour.”
Tesla has even tried to claim its Supercharger network has offset 98.2 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions and saved 3.9 million gallons of gasoline. But the company admits these figures don’t include CO2 emissions from producing the electricity (in this case diesel) used to power charging stations.
“We aim for carbon neutrality, and where the market allows via wholesale power purchase, we source renewable energy, even though it is slightly more expensive,” a Tesla spokesman told The Daily Kanban. “In Europe, the power for all our Supercharger stations is sourced by renewable energy. Continuing to convert our superchargers to solar power will push us further down that road.”
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