Faced with the lack of electric-car charging stations in China after purchasing a new TeslaModel S, a Chinese businessman has built a network of Tesla Motors charging stations from Beijing to Guangzhou.
When Zong, 44, spent 730,000 yuan (about $117,600) to create what he called the first “electric vehicle charging road,” according to Chinese news site Caixin.
While Tesla Motors has charging stations throughout the United States and Europe, there are none in China outside of Beijing and Shanghai. Zong’s charging road, which includes 20 charging stations in 16 cities across the 5,750-kilometer (about 3,570-mile) stretch between the two cities, attempts to fix that problem.
The inspiration for Zong’s idea resulted from a simple problem he faced after picking up his Model S in Beijing. A Model S can travel a total of 500 kilometers (311 miles) on one charge, which would make the journey from Beijing to Guangzhou impossible without charging stations along the way.
The easiest solution would’ve be for Zong to bring a charger with him, and plug it in at every hotel at which he stayed on his route. But instead of this temporary solution, Zong contacted the Tesla Motors executive in charge of Chinese operations, Wu Bixuan, to buy 20 charging stations, according to Caixin.
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Using Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, as well as popular messaging app WeChat, Zong found property owners willing to forego one parking space in their lot to house a donated Tesla charging station.
Zong’s road isn’t perfect, however. The 20 charging stations he purchased and donated are slow chargers, which take at least eight hours for a full charge. Tesla’s Superchargers, on the other hand, can do the same job within an hour.
According to Zong, seven hours of charging would cost each property owner around 30 yuan (about $5) in electricity. He let the owners determine whether they would charge a fee, or offer the service for free, according to Caixin. Zong noted that if, for instance, a hotel decided to host a charging station, it could potentially increase business, as drivers would have to stay overnight while their electric car finished charging.
Tesla Motors did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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