Eight Tesla superchargers have been installed in Cache Creek, and a local Tesla owner says that the decision is “one hundred per cent forward-thinking” on the part of the village.
“Tesla drivers won’t come to a place without Tesla chargers,” says Ashcroft resident Wayne Little. “When they come they’ll plan on having a meal there. If they’re going on to Kamloops they’ll need a 25 or 30 per cent charge, and if they’re going north they’ll need as much as they can get.
“Either way they’ll be there for 30 to 60 minutes, so they’ll stop for breakfast or lunch or dinner.”
Cristina Martini, Cache Creek’s chief financial officer, says that Tesla approached the village about installing the superchargers because of the village’s location on a major highway corridor. The superchargers, and the supporting infrastructure, were all supplied and paid for by Tesla, at no cost to the village, and workers from Tesla did most of the installation.
The chargers are not yet operational, and Tesla is working with BC Hydro to finalize the connections.
The superchargers have been installed in the lower parking lot of the community hall, adjacent to the BC Hydro fast charging station that was installed in 2019. A FLO charging station is also at the site. Martini says that council decided to keep all the EV chargers in one place, rather than have them spread around town.
“It’s much easier for people to see that that’s the designated place for them to charge, rather than having to figure out where everything is.
“It’s also a place where the village had the room. Other sites just didn’t have space to install the chargers, or could be affected by flooding, and water and electricity don’t go well together.”
She adds that Tesla was looking for a village-owned site. “With other sites Tesla would need to get into a lease agreement and rights of way, so it was easier for them to deal with the municipality than with a private owner.”
A number of trees had to be taken out to accommodate the infrastructure. Martini says that the hope was to relocate the trees elsewhere, but they were too mature and the root systems were too complex for them to be replanted. The agreement with Tesla is for new trees to be planted at the site when the work is complete, and the village is in talks with the company about replacements.
Unlike the BC Hydro and FLO chargers — which can be used by Tesla owners who have purchased a $600 adapter — the Tesla chargers can only be used by Tesla vehicles; something Little describes as a good marketing ploy by Tesla founder Elon Musk.
“A whole bunch of electric vehicles are coming out from other companies. Those people will be stopping in Cache Creek and looking at two people charging at the FLO and BC Hydro chargers while five people charge at the Tesla stations, and maybe they’ll make their next EV a Tesla.”
Since most people who own EVs live in urban areas and do their driving there, Little says that most EV owners charge at home, not at public stations. However, his Model X Tesla has a range of 475km on one charge, and he has fully adopted to long range driving. “I know if I’m travelling to Edmonton I’ll have to charge two or three times.”
He says Tesla owners’ cars are each on an account, which has a credit card number attached to it. “When you plug [your vehicle] in, it costs 21 cents a minute to use a supercharger. It costs about $20 to charge my Model X from empty to full. My first Tesla, a Model 3, cost $12 to charge to full.”
EV drivers who are hitting the highways are looking for a network of fast charging stations, and Little says it’s coming. “Tesla is planning a network throughout B.C. They have a factory that just makes superchargers.”