Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Tesla supercharger goes live in Kuttawa

By Joshua Roberts, The Paducah Sun
Distributed through the Kentucky Press News Service
Tesla Motors' fifth supercharging station in Kentucky is operational in Lyon County and may give a small boost to county tourism.

The eight-stall supercharger, which delivers up to 120 kW of power directly into Tesla vehicles, opened Dec. 31 in Kuttawa, off Interstate 24's Exit 40, near Days Inn and Oasis Southwest Grill.

Matt Daniel, whose family owns the land where the supercharger sits, said he believes the station is getting used by about 10 Tesla owners per day, and the number should go up as more learn about the location.

Lyon County Judge-Executive Wade White has been enthusiastic about the Tesla addition to his community, saying it has a chance to draw in people who "normally would just pass on by."

"It's a very positive thing for the area," White said of the station opening. "They're already getting people charging there, so it didn't take long for the word to get out. It was great foresight by the Daniels to see it was something worth getting involved in. It's a good strategic move for them, and good for the rest of Lyon County tourism."

Tesla, the American automaker that specializes in electric cars, has 795 charging stations in the U.S., representing 5,085 individual chargers, and has been regularly expanding its network.

"We strategically place superchargers along well-traveled highways and in congested city centers," the company states on its website.

The four other stations in the commonwealth are in Louisville, Lexington, Bowling Green and London. Other area stations include St. Louis; Nashville; Mount Vernon, Illinois, and Miner, Missouri.

The charging stations are free connectors that charge the Model S luxury sedan and Model X crossover SUV. A 30-minute charge, according to the company's website, provides up to 170 miles of driving range.

Tesla recommends its customers charge to about 80 percent capacity, "which is typically enough to reach a neighboring supercharger station." Charging to 100 percent, according to the automaker, doubles charge time because the car must reduce current to top off cells.

"Charging each cell is like filling a glass of water without spilling," the website states. "As the glass fills up, you reduce the flow to catch every last drop."

Daniel said it's likely too soon to say whether the station is a good candidate to someday be expanded.

"I'd like to say yes, but like anything else, it's about the market," he said. "Gas prices probably have a lot to do with how many people buy them, and you never know what technologies might come out.

"But my guess is, yeah, you're probably going to start seeing a lot more Teslas. Even with gas prices going down, people are still excited about them and think they're saving a lot of money. And they're really cool cars, too."