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Elon Musk electric sweetener rolled out ahead of SA trip

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South Australia's first "Tesla supercharger" points for electric vehicles opened today - the start of a state-wide charging network the company promised as part of the deal to win the State Government's "world's largest battery" tender.

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Tesla boss Elon Musk, who will be in Adelaide later this week to speak about his ambitions in space, agreed to contribute to a network of 50 electric vehicle charging points across South Australia as part of negotiations over the battery deal.

Superchargers are included in a dedicated electric vehicle charging area opened on Franklin Street today – a project involving Tesla, the City of Adelaide, SA Power Networks and Mitsubishi. Superchargers points also opened today at the Clare Valley Motel and Keith to form a link to Melbourne for Tesla drivers.

The CBD hub has eight fast charging stations: four generic chargers for a range of electric vehicles, and four Tesla Superchargers, which the Government says are the fastest electric car charging units available in Australia. The superchargers can charge Tesla Model S and X vehicles in 30 minutes, allowing a range of 270km.

The Government says the addition of the Adelaide charging station completes a Tesla charging network that stretches to Brisbane.

Eleven electric vehicle charging points will be installed in the Central Market car park by the end of November, and another 25 will be built around the city – both on-street and in the council’s UPark car parks – by mid next year.

Mitsubishi has also provided a fast charger at its own cost.

The city council is offering free charging at its stations until the end of November.

Premier Jay Weatherill said electric vehicles would one day become the “preferred mode of transport”.

“That’s why we are leading the way by working with electric vehicle manufacturers to install these charging points in our city, and across the state,” he said.

“These Tesla and Mitsubishi charging points are one step towards a decarbonised economy – enhancing our city’s reputation as one of the most liveable cities in the world.”

It’s a big week for Tesla in South Australia.

Musk will speak at the International Astronautical Congress at the Adelaide Convention Centre on Friday. The company is also planning an event at Jamestown where construction of the lithium ion battery facility, to be connected to a nearby wind farm, is well underway.

He provided more detail today, via Twitter, about his speech to the congress, which will discuss developments in plans by his company SpaceX to send humans to Mars in its “Big Falcon Rocket” (BFR).

Meanwhile, the Jamestown battery facility – being funded by the State Government – is coming together.

It now appears highly unlikely that Musk will lose his bet – also made via Twitter – to have the battery installed within 100 days or it’s free.

The clock won’t start ticking on that promise until the grid connection agreement is signed between Tesla, its windfarm partner Neoen, electricity disributor ElectraNet, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), and the State Government.

That agreement has still not been finalised.

Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the State Government was progressing the agreement but, in the meantime, the battery facility was under construction.

“Construction at the site is already well underway, with a number of the batteries already in South Australia and being installed near Jamestown,” he told InDaily in a statement.

“The batteries are on track to be operational by December 1.”

ElectraNet also said the agreement was on track.

“ElectraNet’s work to develop the grid connection agreement, or transmission connection agreement, for the Tesla/Neoen battery project is on track as originally scheduled and agreed with Neoen,” a spokesperson told InDaily.

The 100MW battery facility is designed to provide stability and back-up for the state’s electricity grid.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the Tesla supercharger at Clare was at the country club – it’s at the Clare Valley Motel.

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