Inside Tesla’s Largest Supercharger Station


Perhaps the most significant challenge facing the wider adoption of electric cars is an inability to emulate the comfort level that comes with filling a gas tank. Unlike their gasoline-powered counterparts, abundant access to charging stations that allow for quickly re-powering an EV is still a work in progress.

However, Tesla’s expanding collection of Supercharger stations, which deliver more power more quickly than traditional outlets, are aiming to soothe those concerns. There are currently more than 1,100 such locations in the U.S., with the largest residing in Kettleman City, California. The town of roughly 1,500 people sits almost halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco along Interstate 5.

Whereas the average Tesla charging location offers seven superchargers, this one can serve up to 40 vehicles at once under solar panel-covered parking shelters.

Business Insider’s Bryan Logan recently blogged about the old Burger King that has become Tesla’s flagship charging location. He describes a climate-controlled lounge with plush furniture for relaxing as vehicles power-up. There are also vending machines, restrooms, places for plugging in mobile devices, and of course Tesla staff willing to offer insight into the company’s line of Powerwall battery packs for homes and businesses.

A mobile app lets owners know when they have enough energy to continue with their trip – in either reaching their final destination or getting to the next charging station. Combined with Tesla’s viewpoint that charging the battery to over 80 percent is usually unnecessary, the average stay at these locations is about 30 minutes. And idle fees will be assessed to those who are deemed to be over-charging. A typical fill-up will cost somewhere around $10, but Model S and X owners receive annual credits for 400 kWh, which comes out to about 1,000 free miles.

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