Tesla walks away from $6.4 million in funding to build 164 stall Supercharger (and other stations) in California

Tesla was on the verge of receiving millions of dollars from California to build 4 large Supercharger projects totaling 420 stalls, including the world’s largest at 164 stalls. Those plans are now up in the air as the automaker has walked away from the funding, which was set to give them up to $1.6 million per project.

In September last year we reported exclusively on Tesla being awarded as much as $6.4 million for four massive Supercharger projects through the California Energy Commission’s Clean Transportation Program Rural Electric Vehicle Charging program. The projects were set to be a 56 stall site in Baker, two 100 stall sites in Willows and Barstow, and the largest of them all, 164 stalls in Coalinga.

Drive Tesla has learned the automaker has since informed officials it will no longer be accepting the funding. In a letter from Tesla’s Policy and Business Development Lead in California Jennifer Cohen, it was explained the program’s “unnecessarily cumbersome payment infrastructure requirements” that caused them to walk away.

“The California Clean Energy Commission (CEC) has been a great visionary in the expansion of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in California. Unfortunately, due to unnecessarily cumbersome payment infrastructure requirements, we are unable to utilize this award,” Cohen explained in the letter.

Those requirements are that the chargers must have “multiple point-of-sale methods,” including credit or debit cards, in addition to payment through mobile apps. Since Tesla’s Superchargers do not have screens to initiate payment systems like this, and retrofitting them to do so would be prohibitively expensive, they felt it was better to walk away from the funding than to try and meet the program’s requirements.

The fact that Tesla is not accepting funding from the CEC doesn’t mean these projects are now dead in the water. They could still come to fruition but there may be a significant change to the project’s details.

One of the requirements to receive the grant was that each project had to have a minimum of 50% CCS connectors. With this requirement we were expecting to see Tesla add their Magic Dock to these sites, but whether that will still be the case remains to be seen.

Tesla started deploying their built-in CCS adapters through the Magic Dock to Supercharger sites in New York and California last month. There are currently 11 Supercharger stations open to other EVs, 9 in New York and 2 in California. With the quick and easy retrofit to add the Magic Dock we expect to see that number increase significantly in the coming months as Tesla agreed with The White House to open 3,500 stalls by the end of 2024.

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