April 24, 2014
3:23 pm

Tesla Puts a Charge into St. Joe

If you ever wondered how critical Interstate-94 is to the nation's transportation system, swing by the Panera Bread plaza at Niles Road and I-94.  There you will find 8 new high-tech superchargers designed to get electric car owners "fueled up" and back on the road.  

Patrick Jones works for Tesla Motors and he tells us that four of the charging stations at the back of the lot behind Moe's Southwest Grill in St. Joseph Charter Township are reserved for owners of Tesla motor vehicles, while anyone can use the remainder at any time for free if your battery is supercharger-compatible.  If your battery is a 60 kWh design and has not been supercharger-enabled, there is a one-time fee.  The white supercharger stations are lined up along the back of the lot and are available 24-hours a day and will be free to use, "forever," according to Mr. Jones.

The local installation is the 37th such site nationwide in what will eventually become a network of hundreds so that they will be readily accessible to 98% of the American population.  The St. Joe charging station is currently the only one in the state, however, additional sites are expected to come online soon in Muskegon, Saginaw and Jackson, while pit stops will be available next year in Lansing and Battle Creek.

Jones says that the Tesla Supercharger is substantially more powerful than any charging technology to date, providing up to 120 kilowatts of power and replenishing half a charge in 20-minutes (for a range of about 150-t0-200 miles on a Tesla Model S).  The Supercharger stations are being purposely placed to strategically allow owners to drive from station to station with minimal stops.  All, like the St. Joe station, are being located near amenities like diners, cafes, and shopping centers so you can stop for a quick meal and have your vehicle charged by the time you're done.  

The Tesla Model S is the world's first premium sedan built from the ground up as an electric vehicle, engineered to elevate the public's expectations of what a premium sedan can be.  It was Motor Trend's 2013 Car of the Year.  

While the Supercharger array in our area is currently an open-air station, Jones tells us that all stations will eventually have solar powered canopies including the one at I-94 and Niles Road.

There are currently conventional charge stations at Whirlpool Corporation properties on M-63 and at the Riverview campus.  

The photo accompanying this story is from a similar Tesla charging station elsewhere in the network, but shows the type of equipment employed in St. Joseph.  

Here is a link to the St. Joseph site provided by Mr. Jones to us:
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People : Patrick Jones
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