No question about it, the Tesla Supercharger network is a sweet deal for Model S drivers. A free, fast and sometimes solar-powered way to put more miles into your EV's "tank," Superchargers point to an entirely new paradigm for personal mobility. Still, despite an ambitious roll-out schedule in the US and Europe, the California start-up can't compete with CHAdeMO when it comes to the number of fast charging stations in the world today. Maybe that's why the automaker is going to join 'em, instead of just trying to beat 'em.
Officially, "coming soon" for a starting price of $1,000, a new item has appeared on the Tesla website, a CHAdeMO fast-charging adapter. The CHAdeMO organization (backed by both Nissan and Mitsubishi) has installed a grand total of 3,073 fast-chargers (as of October 4th). Most of those - 1,858 - are in Japan, but 897 are in Europe and 306 in the US. The number of Supercharger stations in the world today numbers in the dozens. Using the new adapter, Tesla says drivers will be able to, "take advantage of CHAdeMO's network of 50 kW charging stations" once they also enable the onboard Supercharger hardware. Using the CHAdeMO stations won't be as fast as a Supercharger (which can operate at up to 120 kW), but will allow drivers to fill up "at the rate of approximately 150 miles of range per hour of charge with locations primarily in the Pacific Northwest."
Tesla has talked about offering a CHAdeMO adapter for Japan and Europe (which makes sense, given the numbers), but this new adapter "is specifically for North American Model S." Look for it this winter.