A charging station awarded to the city in 2012 may be getting pushed aside for a newer, more cost effective Tesla charger.
Castlegar won the original charging station at a Federation of Candian Municipalities meeting, but since then, many issues have prevented the station from actually being implemented.
The main problem was the cost of setting up and running the facility.
“The charging station was never the cost. That was the cheap part,” said city councillor Kevin Chernoff. “It’s getting power to where the station goes.”
He added that running the power and services would amount to five to six times more than the cost of the station itself.
“We’re prepared to move on this but just through some recent articles we saw an opportunity to look at Tesla for doing this,” Chernoff said.
Tesla stations house multiple chargers which can energize cars in as little as half an hour.
The current station would take upwards of three hours to charge a vehicle.
Chernoff is eager to have a charging station in Castlegar.
“Tesla has charging stations in Vancouver and Calgary already. We’re kind of a missing link for that.”
Having a charger in the city could draw in more tourists travelling across the province.
As for the cost of this new station, typically Tesla buys the land and and since the city already has backing from funders to do a lot of the ground work, any additional costs could be lowered further.
“I just thought if we’re putting in one charging station already — the Tesla charging stations usually bank more — and if we have the opportunity to do that at little to no cost to the city, like we have, it would be ideal.”
Nothing is confirmed yet, but Chernoff said Eagle Graphite of Passmore is in the process of trying to land a contract with Tesla. Graphite is a main component for the charging station batteries.
“This would be a great way to include these guys in what we’re doing,” he added. “It’s a great possibility for employment if they sign the contract. While there is no guarantee, it’s another factor to consider.
“Who wouldn’t take a Tesla supercharging station over a regular one if it’s the same cost?”
Within the next two weeks Chernoff expects a reply from Tesla whether they are interested.
Regardless of which device they end up installing, the city has received funding from the Columbia Basin Trust and FortisBC to get a plug-in station hooked up in the community, Chernoff said.