NORMAL — Owners of Tesla electric vehicles soon will be able to charge them at the Uptown Station parking deck.
The Normal City Council on Monday voted 5-2 to allow Tesla Motors to install up to 10 of its “supercharger” stations in the deck. Tesla will cover all costs and also will maintain the stations.
The agreement is for five years with two options to extend it for five years.
Councilmen Jeff Fritzen and Scott Preston voted against the pact.
“I’m supportive of the EV Town initiative … but I’m hesitant here,” said Fritzen noting the Tesla “supercharger” stations can only be used with the Tesla vehicles.
“The industry shouldn’t expect communities to install different charging stations,” he said. “Where’s it going to stop?”
Preston said Tesla has a limited market for its vehicles — which cost upward of $60,000 — and the closest dealer is in Chicago.
“How much traffic will we see?” Preston asked.
The vehicles have the capability of traveling 300 miles before needing a charge. While they can recharge on the Level 2 charging stations already around the Twin Cities, it would take 4 to 6 hours for a full charge.
Tesla’s supercharger stations complete a full charge in less than an hour.
While Councilman Chuck Scott said he wasn’t keen offering parking spaces for the Tesla stations, if the owners drive from Chicago and eat in Normal while the vehicle is being charged, “I’m excited to see them in town.”
“I see this as a marketing expense,” said Mayor Chris Koos. “It raises awareness of our community.”
Tesla plans to conduct a marketing campaign to let its vehicle owners know where they can go to find a charging station — including Normal.
City Manager Mark Peterson said initially only two stations will be installed.
In other matters, no one commented at a public hearing on Comcast’s annual filing with the Federal Communications Commission setting its maximum rate for basic service at $21.84 per month. Comcast increased basic rates to from $17.47 to $19.10 per month in March and has no immediate plans for another rate hike.
Council members approved a $606,450 pact with RATIO architects to design a pedestrian overpass between the old Amtrak station and the new Uptown Station and the remodeling of the old station.
The council also accepted a proposal from Jack B. Teplitz & Associates to prepare a north Normal warehouse tax increment financing redevelopment plan that, if approved, would help developers Bill Johnston and David Stark finish a warehouse so it can be marketed. The project was originally started by Wildwood Industries, which since has gone bankrupt.