American owners of the electric Tesla Model S saloon car can now drive more than 1,700 miles between San Diego and Vancouver for free using the company's new Supercharger network.

Tesla Model S

Capable of recharging the battery of a Model S by 50% in just 20 minutes, the chargers all but remove the 'range anxiety' experienced by electric car drivers who worry about running out of power miles from the nearest charger.

Tesla says owners can drive between San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Sacramento, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver for free and with "minimal stops" thanks to the 15 Superchargers evenly spread across the West Coast.

The manufacturer, founded by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, claims 99% of Californian owners and 87% of Oregon and Washington owners are now within 200 miles of a Supercharger. The Model S can travel between 208 and 310 miles on a single charge, depending on the battery size selected by the owner.

Tesla says: "Tesla Superchargers are substantially more powerful than any other charging technology in the world, capable of charging Model S 20 times faster than most public charging stations. Superchargers deliver up to 120 kW DC (Direct Current) power directly to the Model S battery, providing half a charge in as little as 20 minutes."

Completely free

Chargers are located near amenities like roadside restaurants, cafes and shopping centres, and the electricity provided is completely free for Tesla drivers to use, although the chargers are not compatible with any other electric cars.

Tesla's next job is to increase its East Coast network, with a route of Superchargers planned to stretch from Miami to Portland, Maine - Musk hopes to complete the network expansion "in a few months", and by 2015 he claims the Supercharger network will cover 98% of the US and Canada.

Tesla sets up shop in London

Earlier this month, Tesla opened its first dealership in the UK, occupying a retail store in the Westfield shopping centre in west London; a further 30 stores will be opened across Europe through 2014.

The company plans to start building and selling the Model S in the UK next year, and by the end of 2014 it hopes to be delivering 50 cars a week, increasing output to 100 per week soon after. The Model S will be priced from £55,000 after the government's £5,000 electric car grant has been taken into account.

"We're going to establish a supercharger network throughout the UK," Musk told the Financial Times. "So you'll be able to travel anywhere in the UK, anywhere at all, using our supercharger network. I am hopeful, and we will certainly aspire to this, to have the whole of the UK done by the end of next year. So it's quite rapid."