Tesla Obtains Funding to Build Four Massive Superchargers, Including World’s Largest

Photo obtained via Volition Inc

As electric vehicle adoption increases, new legislation and funding has been proposed in order to accelerate the expansion of the public charging network. One of those funding programs is the California Energy Commission’s Clean Transportation Program Rural Electric Vehicle Charging… program, also known as GFO-21-604.

The main goal of this program was to provide better charging access in underserved rural communities. Overall, the CEC received a total of 28 applications, and funding was granted for 17 of them. Tesla filed four of those applications and received maximum funding on all four.

With a maximum amount of $1.6M per project, this is no small thing.

The projects Tesla was approved for span from a 56-stall expansion on the way to Vegas up to a 164-stall Supercharger hub on the I-5 corridor. In total, 3 out of the 4 locations will beat the record for the world’s largest Supercharger located in Coalinga, California. Don’t forget that name because we might bring it up again later.

Most notably, one of the conditions for a successful grant involved a minimum of 50% of connectors being CCS standard. This means Tesla will probably be adding a CCS adapter at every stall, a project we have previously reported on called the Magic Dock, since currently there are only Tesla-standard plugs on Superchargers in North America.

The Sites:

First, we start off with the smallest out of the bunch, Baker.

Baker has long been one of Tesla’s landmark Supercharger stations. When the site opened back in 2017, it shared the title for largest Supercharger with Kettleman City and was adorned by solar panels providing shade for charging cars. The location has since become quite busy, with Tesla even going so far as to provide portable Superchargers during busy weekends.

Last November, plans for a 56-stall Supercharger expansion were revealed. Over the past year, the project has slowly made its way through the planning department, and in April 2022, Tesla filed building permits for the site, which are currently being processed.

According to Tesla’s application for the program, the expansion is set to open next Summer and will feature a Megapack Energy Storage System (as do all sites in this program). It hasn’t been said whether solar panels will be featured in the expansion, but the entire project is set to cost around four million dollars.

Secondly, we have a new site in the small NorCal city of Willows.

Out of the four cities Tesla received funding for, Willows is the only one which doesn’t have an active Supercharger in the immediate vicinity. That said, the first location in the city might even become the largest Supercharger in Northern California.

According to Tesla, the Willows site will have 100 Supercharger stalls in a “brownfield development located off Exit 603 along I-5”. No specific location has been mentioned yet, as Tesla was in the process of negotiating a lease at the time of the filing.

Seen as no location was disclosed, there is plenty of room for speculation. In every one of their program applications, Tesla mentions their Superchargers will be built on a brownfield development. Per its definition, a brownfield constitutes a previously developed plot of land that is currently unused. Essentially, this rules out all possibility of the Supercharger being built in the parking lot of an existing business.

Since Tesla did specify the exit, it leaves two potential locations in which the company would be able to fit a hundred stalls.

  • The first potential location is in the deserted parking lots across from the Willows-Glenn County Airport (left of photo).
  • The second potential location is the site of the former Travelodge, which was demolished back in 2019 (right of photo).

Both sites are likely candidates, but the projected opening date is still two and a half years away from now, which means it might still be a while before we know the definitive location. The estimated cost for Willows is just under 6 million dollars.

Next, the desert city of Barstow is gearing up for its third Supercharger.

With the city in the headlines recently for being home to one of the largest Superchargers in North America, it’s a bit hard to understand why Tesla is planning another location that will blow the current one out of the water.

The latest Supercharger Tesla has set its sights on is another 100-staller at the Main Street exit off I-15. For this location, the company has already secured an agreement at Barstow Station.

 

In a letter dated March 3rd, the property owners confirmed the location of the build would be the vacant lot across from the Ramada (the APNs can be cross referenced here). The approximate valuation is 4.5 million dollars and the projected opening date is in Winter of 2023.

And lastly, it’s the largest Supercharger of all, for which the stall count will more than double that of the Coalinga/Harris Ranch expansion. Coincidentally, this new site is also located in Coalinga.

With 98 stalls already in place at the Harris Ranch Inn & Restaurant, it is quite hard to believe Tesla will be building an even bigger Supercharger, potentially at the same exact exit.

Per Tesla’s filings, 164 stalls are planned in an undisclosed location somewhere in Coalinga. As with Willows, the company said they were working on finalizing a contract for the location. While it is possible the 80-stall expansion at the steakhouse could constitute Phase I of the build, it seems a bit odd that Tesla didn’t disclose the address in their filing. Also, with Tesla’s projected opening date of late 2024, it seems more likely that the company has selected a different location altogether.

Conveniently located right across the Interstate, there are two plots of land that are currently vacant. One is a former noodles restaurant and the other a former Red Robin. In total, there are about 160 parking stalls across both lots, which perfectly fits the bill for Tesla’s 164-stall projection.

Moreover, a pre-application was filed back in December for both properties. While the substance of the permit is not clear, this might be a sign that Tesla is working to build a Supercharger hub within the lots, and maybe even a second diner. With a total valuation of over 8 million dollars, it sure seems like a possibility.

If you have additional tips to share about any of these sites, you can contact me directly via Twitter @MarcoRPTesla or send an email to tips@driveteslacanada.ca.

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Twitter: @MarcoRPTesla