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Welcome to the Electric Vehicle Charging Station of the Future

But only if you drive a Tesla. Unlike a traditional "fill-up," charging an EV takes time—30 minutes for Tesla Superchargers—so Tesla provides an exclusive lounge for its customers at a new 40-Supercharger "rest stop" on I-5 in California.
January 5, 2018, 6am PST | Irvin Dawid
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Tesla has taken exclusion to new heights. Not only are their Superchargers proprietary, so are their restrooms.

"[L]ast month, Tesla opened a first-of-its-kind pit stop in California that functions like a cross between a gas station and a members-only lounge at an airport," reports David R. Baker, who covers energy, clean tech, electric vehicles and self-driving cars for the San Francisco Chronicle. "It could be a model for future charging stations — not just for Tesla."

"Tesla’s proprietary network of high-speed Superchargers already included sites along the heavily traveled route" between Northern and Southern California, located at shopping centers and by cafes that aren't necessarily opened 24 hours. And the number of chargers at the stations is limited, which can present a problem "considering that the typical Tesla driver using a Supercharger to replenish the car's battery spends 30 minutes plugged in," adds Baker.

The new rest stop features 40 Superchargers in rows under solar-paneled canopies. More importantly, it includes a 24/7 lounge, accessible only to Tesla drivers and passengers. A code that appears on the cars’ navigation screen unlocks the door.

Inside are plush seats, vending machines, a coffee bar, a play area for children, free Wi-Fi and Tesla T-shirts for sale. And, of course, restrooms.

The pit stop lies just off Interstate 5 in Kettleman City (Kings County), roughly midway between the Bay Area and Los Angeles.

It may be time to retire the term, 'Lexus Lanes," which are available to any solo motorist willing to pay a toll, and in most cases, free to carpoolers, and replace it with a clever moniker for the new Tesla Supercharger stations. [Anyone have a suggestion?]

Hat tip to Paul Scott.

Full Story:
Published on Saturday, December 30, 2017 in San Francisco Chronicle
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