The winner of AOL Auto's second annual Technology Of The Year award ran away with the votes for the award, clearly surpassing all of the other contenders.
We're giving it to Tesla's Supercharger Network, which today is made up of 54 charging stations in the U.S. that can provide about half an electric car's full charge in just 20 minutes, compared with the 8-hour charges from conventional outlets.
The editorial staff agreed that the Tesla Supercharger is a game changer, and easily deserves to be called the Technology Of The Year.
"Tesla is showing, again, that there are amazing technological breakthroughs to be made in the EV game, and are kind of making the rest of the industry look bad," said Sebastian Blanco, editor of Autoblog Green.
AOL Autos' Multimedia Director Adam Morath agreed that the Supercharger is a game changer. "With the Supercharger, Tesla is tackling the tired arguments against the electrification of the automobile head on by addressing range, charge times, charger accessibility and clean energy production (the Supercharger is powered by solar energy, not coal) all in one stroke," he said.
The panel reviewed more than 40 qualified submissions from readers, editorial staff and industry, the panel of judges named the following as finalists: Chevrolet MyLink Valet Mode; Infiniti Backup Collision Intervention; Tesla Supercharger Network; Volvo Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection with Full Auto Brake; Mopar In-Vehicle Wireless Charging for Portable Devices; and Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive.
Superchargers are located across the U.S., making it possible for an electric car driver to take a coast-to-coast trip. They're strategically placed near amenities like roadside diners, cafes, and shopping centers so drivers can stop, eat, and come back to a charged electric car. Most of the staff did not get to test the Supercharger network firsthand, but have been following it closely. A former TRANSLOGIC reporter tested it, and said it works as promised. And Blanco has been following the Supercharger's development quite closely, and said he hasn't heard a single complaint from users in the U.S. or Europe.
Jeremy Korzeniewski, Managing Editor of Autoblog, said the Supercharger levels the playing ground, making electric cars almost as convenient as gas-powered cars. "There's simply no way the average consumer is going to consider putting an electric vehicle in their garage if there's no way to refuel it on the go," he said. "If Tesla is able to continue rolling out long stretches of Superchargers, EVs will finally have the level playing ground that they need in order to have a chance at succeeding."
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has announced he's planning to take a family trip across the country in a Model S in March. We're looking forward to tracking his progress from charging station to charging station.