Tesla Model S and X electric cars line up at a new Tesla Supercharger station during an grand-opening ceremony on May 13 in the Arlington Convention Center parking lot. Courtesy/City of Arlington
Tesla Model S and X electric cars line up at a new Tesla Supercharger station during an grand-opening ceremony on May 13 in the Arlington Convention Center parking lot. Courtesy/City of Arlington

Arlington

Tesla drivers can now recharge while watching a game in Arlington

By Robert Cadwallader

rcadwallader@star-telegram.com

May 25, 2017 3:33 PM

ARLINGTON

If any of the roughly 1,700 drivers of Tesla electric-powered cars in North Texas didn’t figure they had any reason to visit Arlington, they do now.

The city and the luxury car maker have opened a Tesla Supercharger station in the Arlington Convention Center parking lot, the first of Tesla’s fastest-charging “filling stations” in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

The city put up $150,000 of the roughly $250,000 cost to build the station, which has 10 individual Superchargers available 24/7. Beyond the prestige, the city expects to benefit tangibly from a traveling demographic with significant disposable income.

Having a leading-edge technology company like Tesla having a presence in your city is certainly a positive one.

Arlington Deputy City Manager Jim Parajon.

Tesla vehicles range in price from about $70,000 for a base model to around $160,000 for a loaded Tesla Model X P100D with a range of close to 300 miles.

“Having a leading-edge technology company like Tesla having a presence in your city is certainly a positive one,” said Deputy City Manager Jim Parajon. “And having Tesla customers visit our city has the potential benefit of them shopping and staying and partaking in all of the opportunities the city has.”

The new site, which opened at 1200 Ballpark Way with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 13, is a centrally important dot on the sparse Tesla Supercharger refueling map.

The Arlington Tesla Supercharger station is the first in urban North Texas. The nearest stations are in Denton to the north, Cisco to the west, Sulphur Springs to the east and Waco to the south.

The nearest Supercharger station is in Denton, the last stop before the Red River, and the rest in Texas are spread widely. About 100 miles to the west is a Supercharger at the Cisco Travel Plaza, and there’s one 100 miles to the east at the Sulphur Springs Police Department. Waco has one at the Collin Street Bakery along Interstate 35, nearly 100 miles south, with a second coming soon.

Austin will have one by the end of the year, but the next operating station on I-35 south is in San Marcos.

The Arlington station is the missing link in a 1,500-mile east-west route of Superchargers from far West Texas to South Carolina, said Rick Bollar, president of Tesla Owners of North Texas.

“Starting west of Pecos, you can use the Superchargers all the way to Florence, South Carolina ... stopping every couple of hours,” Bollar said. “And this one here in Arlington is the last step to make that possible.”

Although all Tesla models get better than 200 miles on a single charge, California-based Tesla Motors is working feverishly to fill in its map, especially in North Texas, where Superchargers are expected to be installed in Fort Worth, Dallas, Grapevine and Plano by the end of this year.

The electrification of cars is on the rise ... and it isn’t 10 years away. It’s here now, and it’s working extremely well.

Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams

Tesla has hundreds of older-model stations, where fully recharging a drained battery takes about five hours — which is why many are located at hotels, Bollar said. A Supercharger station like Arlington’s will do that job in about an hour. Most Tesla owners get the charge for free.

Officials say building the refueling network is important because the number of Teslas on the road is expected to take off when the company rolls out its most affordable model in the next few months, the Tesla Model 3 sedan starting at $35,000. Tesla reported a year ago that it has 373,000 pre-orders, and industry observers say the number, which Tesla has declined to update, likely has exceeded 400,000 and could be near 500,000.

Bollar said another benefit of the Arlington station is that apartment dwellers, who generally don’t have garages for recharging at home, might now consider buying an electric car.

Mayor Jeff Williams welcomed the Supercharger as an illustration of the city’s commitment to being “on the cutting edge of this transportation technology revolution.” He noted the city will have driverless shuttles operating in the entertainment district this summer.

“In fact, we’re hearing from a lot of automobile manufacturers that there will be more advancements in vehicles in the next five years than there has been in the last 50 years,” he said. “The electrification of cars is on the rise ... and it isn’t 10 years away,” he said. “It’s here now, and it’s working extremely well, especially when you’re in a vehicle like a Tesla.”

Robert Cadwallader: 817-390-7186, @Kaddmann_ST

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