Tesla is already far ahead of everyone else when it comes to its Supercharger network. For years, Tesla’s Superchargers were the only girl in town. Sure, you could find a place to plug in a Nissan LEAF in major cities, but a cross-country drive was out of the question unless you were willing to make some fairly extreme sacrifices, like sleeping in the car at RV parks. With more recent improvements to other networks, especially Electrify America’s network, the competition is starting to catch up, but they still have quite a ways to go.
Despite the big advantages it still have, Tesla isn’t resting on its laurels. The expansion of the Supercharger network continues, with new stations and expansions of existing ones. It’s really showing no signs of slowing down.
Why Host a Supercharger?
The advantages for a property owner are obvious. While many Supercharging sessions will be short, that’s not always the case. When someone needs a full charge to get somewhere, the business owner literally has a captive audience who will likely want to buy a meal instead of a small snack. Even for someone only stuck there for 10 minutes, we know from the gas station industry that there’s a lot of money in selling motorists some candy or a drink for the road. In fact, gas stations owners make very little on the selling of gas. The convenience store is where most of the money is.
When someone needs a charge, the in-vehicle trip planning software sends them directly to the station. There’s no need to put signs on the street, buy radio ads, or do other things to attract the drivers to the charging station like a gas station owner would. People will show up without the property owner needing to do anything.
There’s also the advantage of an upscale audience. Supercharging stations don’t attract people driving a Chevy Spark (non-EV) or Mitsubishi Mirage (the two cheapest cars in 2021). While Tesla does plan on offering a cheaper vehicle in the next few years, Tesla buyers generally spent an above average amount of money for their car. That means they probably have more extra bucks to spare on things a business owner has for sale, like meals and entertainment.
Probably the biggest plus, though, is that the property owner doesn’t have to pay anything to have the station put in. Tesla takes care of the costs, so you don’t have to shell out tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to get those extra customers. All Tesla needs is a few parking spaces, so it’s a pretty good deal.
Places Tesla’s Especially Interested In
Tesla already has a pretty decent geographic spread of Supercharger stations for travelers. While it’s still expanding to cover more and more areas that people tend to travel through, it also needs more capacity in places where it’s already got stations. As the company sells more and more vehicles, it is going to need more and more places for people to charge up when their in-town driving exceeds the available range that day.
This is a particularly bad problem in places that have a lot of Tesla owners, like California. Expansion is particularly critical there, so it’s no surprise that they show up a lot on Tesla’s list:
Gateway Cities, CA
Long Beach, CA
San Mateo, CA
Sonoma County, CA
Walnut Creek / Pleasant Hill, CA
Northern New Jersey, NJ
Queens / Nassau, NY
Dallas Fort Worth, TX
While California dominates the list, it doesn’t completely fill it. Tesla’s still looking for hosts in places like Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, and Texas.
Even If You’re Elsewhere, Tesla Still Wants You To Apply
On the Supercharger Host webpage, Tesla listed the places where it is in critical need of Supercharger hosts, but the company is pretty clear that it wants volunteers everywhere. As Tesla continues to grow, it’s going to need more capacity both along the highways and within cities.
Even if you live in a rural town that already has a Supercharger station, consider applying. Tesla might not install one at your business very fast, but it’ll eventually need to have more stations even where it has them as demand for them grows. Sure, Tesla can install more slots/stalls where it has them already, but giving drivers some choices of where to charge in a town they’re passing through gives a lot more flexibility to drivers.
If you’re in a larger city, definitely apply. Tesla has a lot of need for in-city Supercharging locations, and that need will only grow in the future. As a possible bonus, many new urban-oriented Supercharger stations will have slower charging speeds. That means you will have the customers on your property just a little longer.
Giving Mom & Pop Shops A Chance
One of the things that’s impressive about Tesla’s approach here is that it isn’t only interested in working with big, corporate properties. Sure, there are advantages to putting in stations at businesses traveling Tesla owners are familiar with, but that isn’t always the best approach.
We’ve seen a number of times where people in a small town block Tesla stations and mock the owners until police get them to move on. Tesla cam videos also show us that there’s a lot of hate still out there for “rich liberal” electric car owners (a stereotype that’s way overrated in every way), with people keying or otherwise vandalizing Teslas.
Tesla’s willingness to open up the application process to locally owned small businesses, the “mom & pop shops,” can go a long way toward alleviating this issue and revitalizing local communities. If Tesla owners passing through are going to the local diner instead of McDonald’s, that means a lot to the local community, and helps keep rural communities alive. Instead of working at or near minimum wage for a multinational corporation with its home offices someplace far away, the people at these “mom & pop” businesses are making a real living and putting more of that money back into the local community.
Featured image by CleanTechnica.