Tesla Motors to install chargers in Normal parking deck

2013-05-07T07:30:00Z 2013-05-07T09:03:21Z Tesla Motors to install chargers in Normal parking deckBy Mary Ann Ford | mford@pantagraph.com pantagraph.com

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.

Copyright 2015 pantagraph.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(30) Comments

  1. SunnyGuy53
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    SunnyGuy53 - May 27, 2014 9:32 am
    A recent analysis indicated the cost of ownership of a Tesla Model S comes out less than that of a Honda Odyssey -- over X number of years. (I forget the value of X, but it makes an important point).

    I figure that I'm saving like $3,000 per year on gasoline alone -- and that could go up at any time, as we well know.

    And no one is providing "free electricity" to me. I paid Tesla when I bought my car, and Tesla pays the town of Normal.

    Btw, if more people worked toward "saving the planet", maybe we wouldn't be in all the trouble we're in.

    Be grateful if you don't live in an area of increasing drought, flooding, etc. A heck of a lot of folks do.

    Sunny Guy
  2. SunnyGuy53
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    SunnyGuy53 - May 27, 2014 9:24 am
    I paid more than $5,000 in sales tax to the State of Illinois, even though I bought my Model S online. So even with the $4,000 rebate, they are still making money on my purchase.

    Sunny Guy
  3. SunnyGuy53
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    SunnyGuy53 - May 27, 2014 9:09 am
    Tesla superchargers make long-range electric auto trips practical, and are an American solution, which happens to be state-of-the-art. The Japanese ChaDEMO standard is only half the power of a Tesla supercharger. I would think that American political leaders would want to jump onboard this breakthrough technology. Near-sighted Luddites, imo.

    Sunny Guy
  4. sunnysailor
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    sunnysailor - May 12, 2013 2:46 pm

    I would like to thank the Town of Normal for allowing installation of the Telsa superchargers. It is the first officially announced (that I know of) Tesla supercharging station in the midwest. It will allow the rapidly increasing number of Tesla owners in the midwest to rapidly charge their cars during long trips. I appreciate that fact that the charging stations are in the downtown area (food, shopping and rest rooms) as "filling up" a car is going to take about half an hour or so depending on the depletion state of the car battery. I can say with little reservation that the supercharging stalls will be used frequently as the number of Tesla owners is growing quickly. Enterprising local food and store owners within a 5-10 minute walk of the charging stations might want to put up signs to point the Tesla owners towards their location if it is not already well marked. I know I would appreciate it as I have never been to Normal (I had to look it up on Mapquest). I understand various posters reservations about the technology and the use of parking spaces. In response I would state I have owned a Tesla for several months and the technology is amazing. Tesla may very well become the next great american car company. I, along with other Tesla owners, will be spending money (including a parking lot fee I assume) in Normal which should offset the use of a small part of the third floor of a parking deck.

    Thank you Normal....your town just became very important to a bunch of new people.

    Regards, Sunny (Tesla owner -Chicago)
  5. UTNormal
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    UTNormal - May 10, 2013 11:08 am
    As a manager of a large business in Uptown Normal I am excited to see the town continuing to assist and make available opportunites to bring more people into the community to spend their money and enjoy our hospitality. All of the workers in Uptown are appreciative as well as these customers help them to pay their bills and to line their pockets with money so they can then go spend it in the community. The trickle down economics of tourism are far reaching. Hopefully Elon will continue to develop this technology into other cars that become more affordable to the general public.
  6. ChrisS
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    ChrisS - May 09, 2013 11:28 pm
    He's apparently not a Captain of reading comprehension.

    Yes, the cars are expensive. So if most of the Tesla owners are upper-middle class or higher, and Tesla pays for all of the supercharger's electricity, all of the supercharger's setup costs, all of the supercharger's maintenance costs, AND the city still charges the usual fees for parking garage access, it's pretty much a no-brainer that the city will likely be looking at a net increase in revenues, especially if the people driving the Teslas into your town center to recharge would be a very desirable demographic, no? If I were a Normal shop owner or restaurant owner, I would be very excited about the additional foot traffic that will be a direct result of the Tesla-funded supercharger.
  7. Schleswig-Holstein
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    Schleswig-Holstein - May 09, 2013 10:50 am
    The article clearly states that,Tesla will cover all costs and also will maintain the stations.
  8. Captain
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    Captain - May 09, 2013 8:44 am
    Folks: Go to the Tesla website and discover just how affordable the Model S really is! (Sarcasm)!!! Base price of ........$62,000!!! $82,000 for the upgraded model! The posters here who have purchased a Model S are either wealthy, obsessed with "saving the planet", making some kind of statement, or just plain wierd. Just my humble opinion. AND, why should you and I provide FREE electricity to power their fancy electric vehicle?
  9. ct
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    ct - May 09, 2013 5:37 am
    The IL tax credit can be seen as an investment in the health of our citizens.

    The car will easily save the tax credits worth on IL costs in medical premiums for vehicle emissions, or environmental cleanup of common gas based vehicle products, etc
  10. ct
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    ct - May 09, 2013 5:35 am
    Battery life has long since been established with similar vehicles that have gone past 8 years on the road prior.

    The batteries last depending on how they are managed. Most disposable products use small batteries for cost so they can't be managed well and die quickly.
  11. ct
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    ct - May 09, 2013 5:32 am
    And the state pensioner pays ZERO state taxes on their pension.... must be nice
  12. ct
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    ct - May 09, 2013 5:29 am
    The issue is Tesla went with a fast charging standard before it was finalized, and the standard they chose was not selected that will be used by all the other automakers.

    Ideally Tesla would switch over, but being the leader on the block they can save significant money staying course and hoping to drag everyone else along.
  13. ChrisS
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    ChrisS - May 09, 2013 1:20 am
    Hi, folks!

    St. Louis resident here who is about to take delivery on a new Tesla Model S. Excellent decision by your board! My wife and I are very excited about the new supercharger that will soon be available in Normal, and we look forward to visiting it (both ways) on our upcoming roadtrips to Chicago!

    I was very glad to hear that it is near a town center rather than simply in an otherwise barren rest stop next to the highway. This way, the wife and I can stretch our legs while strolling around the nearby shops while the Tesla charges up, and then grab a bite at one of your area restaurants before we hit the road again!

    Rest assured we'll be visiting soon (with our out-of-state tourist money), and we look forward to seeing you and your town when we do.

    (Oh, and Walter...I appreciate your healthy skepticism on the Tesla battery technology. As a confirmed skeptic, myself, I was also leery of accepting Tesla's "marketing speak" on various aspects of their design, including the Li-Ion battery degradation many of us experience with more common household tech. So I did LOTS of additional research. And as an IT consultant with lots of experience dealing with "cutting edge technology", I can say without hesitation that this company's engineering is truly world-class. In fact, some of their extended track testing shows that the estimated 10% fade over 8 years may actually turn out to be pessimistic, although that will only be validated over time. Anyway, you should definitely check it out.)
  14. EricG
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    EricG - May 08, 2013 9:53 pm
    This also part of a larger picture nationwide charging network by Tesla. Being at the crossroards of I-55 and I-74, this is an important addition to the network and partially explains the plan to expand to 10 spaces. Then, the Tesla exposure and the reduced range anxiety afforded by these chargers further enhances interest in Tesla cars locally.
  15. Schleswig-Holstein
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    Schleswig-Holstein - May 08, 2013 6:43 am
    I believe good things will come from having these charging stations. If you would like more information about Tesla, I suggest looking at. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla_Motors#Supercharger_network Having these charging stations will put Normal on the map. It looks to me like Tesla is also willing to work with other EV manufactures to make these stations work with their vehicles as well. Since the Town of Normal has spent so much time and effort already making Uptown a hospitable place. It makes sense to allow new technology arrive. The founders of Tesla motors are also connected to SpaceX, SolarCity and PayPal.
  16. Ted Kennedy's Swim Instructor
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    Ted Kennedy's Swim Instructor - May 07, 2013 6:25 pm
    Those wealthy folks are just getting their own money back in the state tax rebate. Once you get to the point where you are making enough money to buy a $100,000 care you are surely getting reamed 8 ways from Sunday by the tax man. Income tax, sales tax, property tax, etc. Most households of average salaries are paying over $4,000 to the State of Illinois, so to get that $4,000 refunded is just them getting paid their own money.

    It's the same as when I got $4,500 in the Cash for Clunkers program that the Federal Government ran. I added up what I've paid for all the years I have worked and I'm just getting back a good chunk of what I already paid in.
  17. FlasherZ
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    FlasherZ - May 07, 2013 12:53 pm
    My response was to the first comment from L1234 who asked if this was the same company who didn't ship a car for nearly a year and took tax money with them... that is Fisker, not Tesla.
  18. FlasherZ
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    FlasherZ - May 07, 2013 11:25 am
    I do agree that eventually we will have to deal with the equalization of taxes for the road, although I would argue that road maintenance load will have to shift a bit. Large trucks, not cars, represent the biggest impact to road maintenance. So, there is an open question -- motor fuel tax income is declining as cars become more efficient, and we have alternative fuel vehicles. So does this mean road maintenance has to move to sales tax to reflect part of the distribution network? Or does it mean we use a mileage x weight tax? Lots of options there. Our state is indeed broke, and we'll have to fix it across the board.

    In this case, the only difference is in real estate. Tesla is paying for the electricity, for the charger equipment, for the installation, etc. But in any real transformation, you have to think about things differently. Just like filling stations weren't always stand-alone entities, electric vehicle refueling will need to grow as well. Prior to the build-out of gas stations, you took your car to a nearby hardware store, blacksmith shop, or -- yes, in some instances -- city hall to fill up.

    It takes roughly 30 minutes to put 150-200 miles of range into the car, and it will be the only location to do that between St. Louis and Chicago. The only 2-bay charger that was installed in California very quickly ran into a high utilization rate to the point where they had to add many more. Normal will benefit by reserving up to 10 spaces -- drivers still pay the same parking deck fees -- and those people will shop locally and eat locally in Normal.
  19. BobJoe
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    BobJoe - May 07, 2013 11:24 am

    Thanks for watching.
  20. John VonBokel
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    John VonBokel - May 07, 2013 11:02 am
    The rebate is part of a larger "Illinois EPA's Alternate Fuels Rebate Program" that promotes alternative fuels (e.g. E85 & biodiesel) as well, and has been in place for more than 10 years, since long before Illinois current budget problems. See http://www.illinoisgreenfleets.org/ for more info.

    There are some details which are not known yet, but as far as I can tell, no public funding is involved in this project. Tesla will fully fund the installation and operation of their Superchargers. What's unclear is whether they are paying for the privilege to do so on public property or not.
  21. John VonBokel
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    John VonBokel - May 07, 2013 10:47 am
    Actually that's precisely what they'll do. This article didn't do a good job of explaining the intricacies of the plan. I agree that 10 is excessive, but I think Tesla is just being cautious, because they've already had to expand some locations in California (where EV adoption rates are admittedly much higher).

    1. Tesla may use up to ten (10) parking stalls within the Uptown Station parking deck with Town consent as to specific location.
    2. Two (2) charging stalls shall serve as dedicated Tesla charging stalls, four (4) shall serve as general parking with the exception of overnight parking, and four (4) shall serve as unrestricted general parking. Tesla could convert stalls to dedicated Tesla stalls based on actual usage.

    Source: http://files.meetup.com/6175892/NormalIL_TownCouncil_TeslaLOI.pdf
  22. Ted Kennedy's Swim Instructor
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    Ted Kennedy's Swim Instructor - May 07, 2013 10:26 am
    Why 10 chargers? Do we honestly expect all 10 of them to be in use given the few Tesla cars that will come this way, coupled with the fast recharge time that won't have the cars on the charger all day?

    Can we start with 1 or 2 chargers and then think about more later if the first chargers are CONSTANTLY used with a line of cars waiting?
  23. John VonBokel
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    John VonBokel - May 07, 2013 10:02 am
    They are expected to report their first quarterly profit tomorrow after the market closes.

    Some states already charge a separate road use tax for EVs (e.g. Missouri). Others offer incentives to promote the purchase of EVs (e.g. Illinois), which will surely be phased out as the price premium comes down.

    The spaces *are* reserved for Tesla vehicles, but they are on the 3rd deck of the parking garage, so not exactly prime parking spots.
  24. Walter
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    Walter - May 07, 2013 9:59 am
    Not complaining about the car, rather the incentive program in a state that is absolutley broke plus no way figured to apply motor fuel taxes to maintain our roads. You have suggested it is an 8 year battery, but you haven't had it for 8 years yet, so that is a marketing promise, not a mass produced result. The quick charging battery technology has really improved over recent years, but my complaint mostly hinges around whether one wants the government to support the exercise or the benefactors to support the exercise. I want private enterprise to support the exercise like a fueling station, but on private real estate, with private $$$s, as you have had to do so far. The idea that it is somehow partially my responsibility to provide Telsa public fueling access while drivers are shopping or dining is certainly socialism in practice, not capitalism.
  25. FlasherZ
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    FlasherZ - May 07, 2013 8:53 am
    Please, educate yourself before you trash it. It is not a "specialty car", and while there are many wealthy people buying them the majority of them are middle-class owners like me. I saved up for it, my wife and I drove our 2 Chevy's for a very, very long time past where I thought I would replace them. The Tesla is a daily driver that is replacing my Chevy Suburban. It carries my wife and 4 kids quite comfortably with room for plenty of cargo.

    Think the Model S is too expensive? Then wait for the Gen III model - in 2016, you'll be able to buy a $35k base price car that will save you at minimum $20k in gasoline (depending upon what you're driving now), plus any other credits or incentives that might be offered.

    I am somewhat dubious of the $4,000 rebate that Illinois grants; likewise, I'm dubious about our state's spending in many other categories, to include the luxurious pensions that I will never see. I only have a 401(k), I only get to retire on that dollars that I put in, which has a very limited match (4.5%) permissible by law. So Illinois is screwed up, let's put that aside and remember that when it's election day.

    The batteries in the Model S are the same as the batteries in various Li-Ion flashlights and hand tools (NCR 18650A). The reason Tesla's batteries last is that they place a lot of emphasis on Li-Ion battery life. Your cellphone doesn't have the number of cells that a Model S has (7,104), nor does it control charging temperature of the cells.

    Model S will see battery degradation over time. Target is 10-15% over 8 years, making the 265 mile rated car a 240-mile car after that lifetime. Tesla offers battery replacement programs if you're concerned about that.

    All I can say is that you should drive one if you get the chance.

    It received the Motor Trend Car of the Year for 2013. It received Automobile Magazine's 2013 Automobile of the Year award. Consumer Reports, in a June 2013 teaser for its July 2013 issue called it "the best vehicle we've ever tested".

    I will admit, it does take new thinking, just as I'm sure Benz, Daimler, Ford, et al. experienced when they talked of the horseless carriage... "that'll never catch on, just give me a better carriage and a bigger horse!" But the car is simply amazing... it looks good... it's American built. Its headliner comes from Nashville, IL... its tires (21" performance wheels) come from Mount Vernon, IL.
  26. Walter
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    Walter - May 07, 2013 8:20 am
    Well at least Illinois has its priorities straight, help wealthy folks buy a specialty car and leave pension obligations to the wind. I will certainly be interested in the savings less service over the 150,000 miles projected use. If successful, I hope the cell phone companies get in on the battery technology, I would love a battery that lasted more than a couple years.
  27. Walter
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    Walter - May 07, 2013 8:08 am
    Telsa financials are odd to say the least, lost $3.69 a share last year, on 114 million shares outstanding, so they are not sure not making any money, but still at $52 a share, the company is valued at about 50% the valuation of Honda America. They are selling about the same volume as Chevy volt, another great american success story. I hope they collect proper moter fuel tax and sales tax at the plug in? Either tax all vehicles or none please. Everything in this country is turning into pandering by government. So are the plug station spaces reserved for Telsa vehicles? Will they put one staion in a handicap space so they can also get a Telsa. So many complications when special interests rule.
  28. FlasherZ
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    FlasherZ - May 07, 2013 8:00 am
    You're thinking of Fisker, a car company that built $120,000 electric-gas hybrids in Finland, and received a $528M loan (of which $350M+ will not be paid back) and were saddled with a battery manufacturer bankruptcy, quality problems, and an overall lack of enthusiasm for its products.

    Other recipients of ATVM loans were Tesla ($465 million), Nissan ($1.6 billion), and Ford ($5.9 billion).

    Fast facts about Tesla:

    Tesla has been around since 2003, when it started electric vehicle development. Technically, it is the second-oldest publicly-traded car company in the US (although it takes technicality to get there, because Chrysler is privately held and GM's bankruptcy created a "new GM").
    Tesla shipped its first product in 2008, a 2-seat all-electric car called the Roadster, based on a Lotus chassis. It sold 2,500 of them.
    Tesla shipped its second product in 2012, a 4-door all-electric sedan called the Model S, and has shipped 8,000 already. Its all-electric design simplifies the vehicle.
    Tesla manufactures the Model S in the US, with US labor, in Fremont, California, at the former GM-Toyota NUMMI plant, which it bought.
    Tesla is currently manufacturing 500 per week, at a pace of 20,000 per year, and the current backlog for a car is at minimum 2-3 months (depending upon features).
    Tesla did receive a US government ATVM loan (with Nissan, Fisker, and Ford) for $465M to build out its manufacturing operations for Model S.
    Tesla is on track to pay the ATVM loan back 5 years early.
    Tesla will announce a profitable quarter on Wednesday after the market closes.
    Tesla's plan is to use the Model S as a springboard to launch an SUV (Model X), and later a "gen III" platform - a smaller, $35,000 base price all-electric vehicle due in late 2015 - early 2016.

    I am a model S owner, and absolutely love the car. My upfront investment was a bit more than a typical car, but over 150,000 miles I will save $40,000 on fuel, and government incentives ($4,000 IL rebate, $7,500 federal tax credit) will reduce the car to a very reasonable price.
  29. ct
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    ct - May 07, 2013 1:43 am
    Tesla is a successful company

    You may be thinking of Fisker who due to A123 battery system problems and then the company going bankrupt is having serious issues. They stopped making cars a few months ago due to no batteries.
  30. L1234
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    L1234 - May 06, 2013 10:07 pm
    I wonder what these chargers are costing us (or already cost us) on the federal level. Is this the same bankrupt Tesla that hasn't made a car in like 3 years? I'm sure anyone in Chicago who can afford a Tesla probably has another car better suited for road trips.
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