Tesla is taking a new strategy with its nationwide Supercharger network by putting them in urban locations, making their electric charging infrastructure accessible to renters and long-distance travelers alike.
The California car maker celebrated the opening of new charging stations in Southlake, Plano and Dallas on May 12 with a convoy of Tesla Model S, Model X and the new Model 3s driving to each one.
The Superchargers can get Tesla batteries to a 50 or 60 percent charge in about 30 minutes. Historically, Tesla has focused on installing the chargers outside major metropolitan areas to combat range anxiety that people have during long trips.
Now with the release of the more modestly priced Model 3 (which starts at about $35,000) Tesla has shifted its focus to urban areas. “If you don’t have charging at your house because you rent or something like that, it’s difficult to keep your car charged,” said Rick Bollar, president of the Tesla Owners Club of North Texas. “People will be able to come and while they’re having lunch or dinner, the car will charge in that period of time.”
Bollar, who lives in Southlake, said he estimates the Supercharger will become a draw for Town Square, generating about $500,000 a year in new business. The 10 chargers are lined up along Carroll Avenue. Mayor Laura Hill said she had three Teslas follow her into Town Square recently seeking a charge.
Craig Yarbrough owns a titanium metallic Model X P100D, with two electric motors and a 100-kilowatt battery, the largest offered.
He recently used the Supercharger network to travel 5,500 miles from Texas to southern California then north to Tesla’s headquarters in Silicon Valley and then to visit the Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada, where Tesla makes the batteries.
“The Supercharger network allows you to do all the things that you’ve ever done in a car in an electric vehicle,” Yarborough said. “You don’t have to worry about getting there.”
George Tanghongs just got his white Model 3 a few months ago after a two-year wait. He mostly charges at home but he looks forward to using the Supercharger network when it’s convenient. Tesla’s app shows how many stations are open before drivers arrive.
“You pull in and on a nice day like this you can go to the shops,” Tanghongs said. “You get a cup of coffee and you’re back in your car in 30 minutes.” There is some etiquette involved with electric vehicle charging and that certainly applies to Tesla’s Superchargers.
Tesla owners that let their cars linger in a spot, thus preventing fellow owners from accessing the charger, will be charged an idle fee. All Model S and X owners who purchased before 2018 have free lifetime charging. Those who don’t have free charging can ask for a referral code from an existing owner. Non-Tesla vehicles are not allowed to park in those 10 parking spots.
When a traditional gas-powered vehicle parks in a spot reserved for charging, it’s called getting “ICEd,” a reference to the internal combustion engine that traditional gas-powered cars use.
Southlake Town Square also boasts a Tesla Gallery where people can check out the vehicles themselves. Arlington celebrated the opening of its Supercharger at the Arlington Convention Center last year.
Tesla plans another Supercharger in Fort Worth that could open by the end of the year, though no location is listed on the website. The east Dallas or Mesquite area could get one, too, by the end of the year.