Monday, June 24, 2013

Atascadero Tesla Supercharger Station

I was driving down the main street of Atascadero last weekend and glanced over at the J1772 charging station at the RaboBank, as I always do, to see if anybody is charging up.  This time there was a beautiful green Tesla Model S parked there.  I pulled a U-turn and pulled in.  I talked with the owner Rita for a while.  She uses the car for work and does a lot of long-distance driving.

I then realized that the construction going on to the right of the charging station wasn't just a parking lot repair, it was a new Tesla Supercharger station!  I talked with the construction crew for a while.  They are the roving crew that installs the Supercharger stations and also worked on the electrical systems in the factory in Fremont.  Atascadero will be the only station between join the Hawthorne, Buellton and Gilroy stations as you go up the 101, so it will be a popular stopover for Model S owners.  The owner of the Subway shop across the street is going to see an upswing in business!'

This station will have 7 8 chargers, which is a good idea for what will be a very busy location.

Update:  I stopped by the location a week later and found that construction is almost complete, just the two at the end still need to be finished off.

These large enclosures hold the chargers that convert AC power from the grid to DC power to the cars.  Notice the numbering, this should tell us how many supercharger plugs are deployed so far, at 3 2 plugs per enclosure that's a maximum of 279 186 plugs but the last unit is not always fully populated.  The black plastic panel in the upper left corner I believe is to allow a radio signal to get in/out of the enclosure, allowing Tesla to talk with the chargers for remote diagnostics, software updates, etc.

This is the specification sticker on each enclosure.  It shows the unit can take almost every kind of AC grid power and convert it into lovely DC juice for the cars.  410 Volts DC at 210 Amps is 86,100 watts of power delivered directly to the battery pack.

And it goes in through this plug.  It's small, simple and elegant, not designed by committee like the original J1772 or its new big brother the J1772 Combo.

They've left stub-ups on the pad for two more enclosures or 6 4 outlets, good to spend a bit of money up front and plan for the future.

And finally this is the switchgear that connects the charger enclosures to the power grid.