TRUCKEE, Calif. — More open road lies ahead for customers of Tesla Motors as it expands its charging station network to Truckee.
The electric car company is building a supercharger station locally, a Tesla spokesperson confirmed this week, but has yet to announce its exact location and opening date.
Meanwhile, six charging bays with “Tesla” written on them can be seen behind Safeway on Donner Pass Road. On Tuesday afternoon, the site was taped off with construction equipment present.
“Tesla’s significant investment in Truckee supports Truckee Donner PUD’s belief that we are a major stop on the Interstate 80 corridor and a major destination for plug-in electric vehicles,” said Steven Poncelet, public information and conservation manager for Truckee Donner Public Utility District. “Tesla’s investment is because their customers want to drive their plug-in electric vehicles to Truckee/Tahoe.”
Poncelet said Tesla will pay the PUD to bring electricity to the station and for the amount used as part of a development agreement. Additional agreement details cannot be divulged due to customer confidentiality, he said.
Alex Terrazas, assistant Truckee town manager, said Tesla pulled the required permits and paid fees, with funds going to the town’s building division.
The Tesla spokesperson said the company is not able to comment publicly on financing and/or exact cost of the Truckee station, but supercharger stations cost, on average, $150,000 without solar panels, and an additional $150,000 with.
Tesla has 106 supercharging stations across North America — including a few in the Bay Area and one in Las Vegas — providing the company’s Model S (billed as the “world’s first premium electric sedan”) owners a half charge in as little as 20 minutes for free.
Once the Truckee station is complete, it will become the newest location for electric-car charging in the region — and the only one specifically for Tesla drivers.
Earlier this year, the Incline Village General Improvement District installed four 70-amp, 240-volt ChargePoint ports at Diamond Peak Ski Resort and the Championship Golf Course.
The district paid $20,000 to purchase and install the stations built by the Eaton Corporation; they cost $40,000 total, but half was paid for by a grant from NV Energy.
The Tahoe City Public Utility District’s ports at 221 Fairway Drive, meanwhile, are also publicly owned.
From a private standpoint, Squaw Valley installed four ports last September, becoming the first ski resort in California to do so. Other regional businesses with ports include the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe in Incline; Cedar House Sport Hotel in Truckee; and Harveys Lake Tahoe in Stateline.
“The ‘electrification’ of Interstate 80 and the Truckee/Tahoe community appears to present significant opportunities,” Poncelet said. “… The benefits include reduced environmental impacts from fossil fuel vehicles, economic development opportunities and cementing Truckee’s reputation as a place people want to be.”
Poncelet said he believes Truckee needs more public-access charging stations, but funding is a challenge.
A public station can cost tens of thousands of dollars to $100,000-plus; price varies on location, access to power and type of charger. Potential funding sources include grants, private and public investment.
“Plug-in electric vehicles and public access charging are a potential huge opportunity for Truckee Donner PUD, the town of Truckee, and the Truckee/Tahoe community,” Poncelet said.
Nearby, just outside of Reno, Tesla broke ground in June on a site that could potentially be the location of a $5 billion “Gigafactory,” which would produce batteries to power Tesla’s yet-to-be-released Model 3 car. Other locations being evaluated are in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas.
The final location for the Northern Nevada factory will be made in the coming months, according to Tesla.
For more information, visit www.teslamotors.com/supercharger.