Tesla Motors Inc. plans to soon power up a “Supercharger” station where drivers can recharge their electric Tesla cars at Cochran Commons on Mallard Creek Church Road.
The California-based electric car maker touts its Supercharger as the most powerful charging technology on the market. The University City location will be the sixth Supercharger station in the Carolinas, according to the company’s website.
The station contains multiple units that look like slim gas pumps with a hollowed-out, modern design. University City Partners predicts it will draw an influx of Tesla owners who drive along Interstates 85, 77 and 485.
Area leaders say the move puts University City on the radar of the growing network of Tesla owners throughout the United States. A Tesla service center, store and gallery also are set to open soon on East Independence Boulevard in Matthews, according to Tesla’s website.
There are 388 Supercharger stations with 2,114 Superchargers throughout America, Asia and Europe, according to Tesla’s website. Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently told Bloomberg the company projects 50,000 Model S sales in 2015.
The cars have earned accolades from Car and Driver and other automotive publications. According to the company, the Tesla S can go from 0 to 60 mph in as little as 3.2 seconds. Prices exceed $100,000 but can include a tech package with autopilot, which uses a forward-looking camera, radar and 360-degree sonar sensors to automatically drive the car.
If equipped with with the largest battery option, a Tesla S can go 265 miles on a single charge, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The slower a person drives, the more efficient the car runs. Tesla owners get free charging for life as part of the cost of the vehicle.
Tesla’s Model S allows about three hours of travel before a 20- to 30-minute charge is needed, the company says. The Superchargers provide up to 120 kilowatts of power, or 170 miles of range, from a 30-minute charge.
Construction on the University City Supercharger began in January, and the contract cost for the Supercharger station was $100,000, according to a commercial building permit issued Jan. 9 by the Mecklenburg County Land Use and Environmental Services.
Designed for city-to-city travel, each station has multiple Superchargers. The company places the stations near restaurants, shopping centers and Wi-Fi hot spots so drivers can shop and eat while they wait for their cars to recharge.
Darlene Heater, executive director of University City Partners, said the station represents building infrastructure for the future.
“University City is one of the most accessible submarkets in the region, … and it is poised for remarkable growth,” Heater said. “This investment by Tesla ... is valuable and advantageous infrastructure for University City and Charlotte. The … Supercharging station is at the nexus of major interstates, in the heart of Charlotte’s second-largest employment center and available to University City’s 160,000 residents.”
The number of electric vehicles in Mecklenburg County has nearly tripled since 2012, according to the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles.
During the summer of 2014, there were about 3,100 electric vehicles registered in North Carolina, said Jason Wager, coordinator of the Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition since 2000, and electric vehicles are registered in 92 of the 100 N.C. counties.
“There are more than 600 charging stations in North Carolina,” Wager said. “In the United States, there are over 9,000 public electric vehicle charging stations. Electric vehicle sales are growing exponentially and the need for charging stations is increasingly evident.”