The Oshkosh Common Council has given Tesla Inc., the electric carmaker, permission to install six charging stations in the Festival Foods parking lot on Westowne Avenue.
“Anyone can use these charge stations 24 hours a day,” said Jeff Nau, a city planner. “Tesla even said it is not limited to their vehicles. If other manufacturers have a charging adaptor to plug in, people with other types of electric vehicles are more than welcome to come use these charge stations.”
Tesla ownership is limited in Wisconsin. Just last week legislation was introduced in Madison to allow the company to sell cars directly to consumers. Under current law automakers have to work through existing dealerships, and the nearest one that sells Teslas is in suburban Chicago.
The new charging station, what Tesla calls a “supercharger,” could encourage Tesla owners to visit Oshkosh.
“The addition of the Tesla equipment would bring Tesla owners into the area,” said Sarah Varrecchi, a planning specialist at GPD Group Inc., an Ohio based engineering firm that represents the carmaker. “
Nau also agreed that the charging station will bring Tesla drivers to Oshkosh.
“They can charge their vehicles, do some shopping, explore Oshkosh, and when they come back, they will have a charged vehicle,” Nau said.
Typically a full charge for a Tesla electric vehicle will take one hour, and the public will be able to use these charge stations for 30 minutes. The design of the charging station will be similar to that of a gas station, Nau said.
This project requires no change to the current vehicular or pedestrian traffic pattern because the proposal will not add or remove any parking spaces from the existing parking lot, said Varrecchia.
Six charging stations are expected to be installed by the end of the year.
According to Nau, Tesla is trying to provide charging stations in close proximity to major highways and interstates. Their vehicles can tell the driver where these charging stations are available.
Nau said Tesla is prepared to build two more stations at this location if there is a high enough demand for them, until then prepare to start seeing more electric vehicles and charge stations.
“Tesla is looking at having 13,000 to 18,000 locations nationwide over the next three to four years, so prepare to start seeing more charge stations in the future.” Nau said.