Work continues on the Tesla Supercharger station in the parking area of the proposed Gateway Center in downtown Aberdeen. The eight red and silver charging posts remained covered in opaque plastic as a crew continued work on the property Friday.
“We’re waiting for a day without rain so they can pour the rest of the concrete,” said Aberdeen Mayor Erik Larson during Wednesday’s City Council meeting.
The chargers are at the corner of northwest corner of Wishkah and F streets and will work only for Tesla electric cars.
The car maker approached the city looking for a location to place a charging station. City officials went with them to five sites, including the parking area for the center, Larson said.
“Tesla really liked the Gateway Center project,” Larson said. “They could have easily worked with Gateway Mall or sought out private ownership, but they were interested in the Gateway Center parking lot.”
Proximity to the center, slated to be built across the street on the northeast corner of Wishkah and F streets, was a selling point to the car makers because it will have space offering visitor and tourism information.
Aberdeen isn’t a place where many Tesla owners live, but the car makers have a wider plan.
“We strategically place superchargers along major corridors that our customers often travel and that connect city centers,” according to Sonja Koch, communications coordinator at Tesla Motors. She responded to questions by email.
The company wants these charging stations located near local amenities, especially restaurants and shopping centers.
“So road-trippers can stop for a quick meal and have their Model S/X charged by the time they’re done,” Koch explained. “Our goal is to enable new long-distance routes while giving our customers a great experience.”
There are five Tesla charging stations operating around the state in Burlington, Centralia, Ellensburg, Kennewick and Ritzville.
It not only should provide nearby restaurants and retailers with additional business but “be good for our local economy,” Larson said.
He also hopes the Tesla station will help attract potential tenants to the center as the first participants in the project.
Tesla isn’t being charged to lease the site in the future center’s parking lot. The five-year lease was approved this past summer, with two optional five-year lease extensions. Tesla is providing the infrastructure and electricity, which the car owners use for free to charge their vehicles.
The city used $30,000 in Gateway project funding — most of it is grant money along with some city labor — to pay for its share of construction.
Tesla sells a large portion of electric cars in our country and, Larson pointed out, the city would be able to have other company’s chargers installed there now that the infrastructure is in place.