Tesla Motors opens first supercharger stations in Ontario

Watch above: Mark Carcasole reports on Tesla’s strategy for selling more cars in Canada. 

TORONTO – The reality of traveling between Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City on zero-emissions and for free is finally here — the only catch is you have to own or use one of Tesla Motors’ Model S electric sedans.

The American electric car designer and manufacturer has announced the installation of its first “supercharger” stations in Ontario by placing them along Highway 401 in Cornwall and in Toronto.

“Superchargers are designed for city to city travel, allowing Tesla Model S electric vehicle drivers to travel for about three hours, take a 20 to 30 minute break, and get back on the road charged up,” the company said in a media release.

The stations in Ontario allow Tesla drivers to travel between Detroit, Toronto, and Quebec City.

Story continues below advertisement

Drivers who wish to purchase the car have two choices — a model with a smaller battery (a range of about 350 kilometres) which sells for $77,800 in Canada or one which is fully loaded with a larger battery (a range of 500 km) for $124,770.

READ MORE: Canadians keep truckin’ as car models fall further out of favour

However, this mode of transportation isn’t for everyone.

Joseph D’Cruz, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management said two things are holding back the electric car industry: the price and the supporting infrastructure.

But Tesla, D’Cruz says, is taking significant steps to address both concerns.

The company is building the biggest battery factory in the world, D’Cruz said, which will allow them – theoretically – to significantly decrease the cost of the battery and make the car’s price far more competitive with traditional internal combustion engines.

“They are very expensive today and until they come to a price that is competitive to the internal combustion engine, you won’t see the sales take off,” D’Cruz said.

Second: the infrastructure. Before the installation of chargers along some Canadian highways the cars can only go 350 to 500 kilometres on a single charge making roadtrips between Toronto and Montreal or Vancouver and Calgary difficult. Tesla is combating the gap in infrastructure by building strategically placed charging stations between major cities in Canada.

Story continues below advertisement

The electric car manufacturer built approximately 120 charging stations in the United States while sales grew from 3,100 cars in 2012 to 22,477 in 2013.

MORE: The rise of the 8-year car loan

Tesla’s foothold in Canada is slowly growing following the launch of electric power stations in British Columbia’s Sea-to-Sky Highway in August.