Convergence. It’s what happens when two competing ideas begin to merge. For the past 7 years, Tesla has been going it alone when it comes to building charging infrastructure for the electric cars is produces. Its Supercharger locations were dedicated solely to Tesla drivers. If you drove a LEAF or a Chevy Bolt, you were on your own. Now, Tesla and the city of Pasadena have agreed to a five year plan that will see them cooperate on the construction of the largest EV fast charging facility in the western United States.
On March 11, the Pasadena city council voted 7–0 to move forward with the plan. Tesla will install 24 of its Superchargers on the roof of the Marengo parking garage on East Green Street. Here’s the kicker: While Tesla is doing that, it will do something it has never done before. It will pay to install the basic electrical wiring needed to install another 20 Level 3 fast chargers. That will save the city about $140,000 in capital costs, reports the Pasadena Star-News. Pasadena currently has one public Level 3 charger and no Superchargers.
Joel Levin, executive director of Plug In America, says Tesla and Pasadena are creating a new model by locating so many chargers in one site in an urban setting. The installation will benefit not just retailers but EV owners who live in downtown condos and townhouses who do not have charging equipment.
“This is a new model. Putting in charging station groupings in denser areas for people with longer-range vehicles who live in apartments,” he says. “They can charge there once a week and they are good. It is really cutting edge.”
For Pasadena, the new chargers will help it reach its long-term carbon reduction goals. And what’s in it for Tesla? That’s easy. Free advertising. For a company that aggressively avoids advertising its products, keeping its name in front of the public is critical. This way, all those people who bought a dowdy Chevy Bolt or Nissan LEAF can stare at the Teslas nearby and think to themselves, “Someday I will own a Tesla.” That makes the $140,000 Tesla will spend to help get other high-power charging equipment installed seem like a bargain.
By providing fast chargers, cities can attract zero-emission vehicles that do not add to smog and greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Pasadena says the Marengo Charging Plaza will help it attain its climate action plan goals, while providing more business to both Paseo Colorado and Old Pasadena retail areas.