Drivers of Tesla electric cars will soon be able to stop by the Meijer complex in Flossmoor to power up their vehicles. The California-based automotive and energy company plans to add 10 charging stations to its Supercharger network in the southeast corner of the parking lot at the Meijer store, 3800 Vollmer Road.
Drivers of Tesla electric cars will soon be able to stop by the Meijer complex in Flossmoor to power up their vehicles.
The California-based automotive and energy company plans to add 10 charging stations to its Supercharger network in the southeast corner of the parking lot at the Meijer store, 3800 Vollmer Road.
The Flossmoor Village Board gave Tesla’s plans the OK in April after the company received unanimous approval from the village’s plan commission.
Scott Bugner, Flossmoor’s building and zoning administrator, said the timeline for construction of the charging stations will depend on when the village is able to issue a building permit as well as when ComEd can complete the underground extension and transformer work that will be needed.
While Tesla’s plans were approved, the village has not yet received contractor information from Tesla in order to issue the necessary building permit, Bugner said.
Only Tesla drivers will be able to use the charging stations, as their plugs are specifically designed to fit the company’s vehicles. Other brands of electric cars will not be compatible.
While 10 charging stations are planned initially, overall plans include a potential expansion of six more for a total of 16 in the future.
The plans designate five of the parking stalls solely for charging while the other five stalls will allow 30-minute general parking.
A concrete curb will separate the east and west parking stalls where the charging stations and parking signs will be placed. Each charging station is 5 feet high by 2.5 feet wide and 1 foot deep.
An island will also be constructed north of the charging stations where an 8-foot-tall fenced enclosure will house the supercharger equipment and switchgear.
The island will eliminate six regular parking stalls from the Meijer lot, reducing its overall count from 777 to 771.
Andrew Levy, Tesla’s Midwest regional manager of charging infrastructure, answered questions from the mayor and village board before plans were approved.
Levy said local drivers of Tesla electric cars will be able to utilize the charging stations for their daily driving needs along with those who are just passing through.
“We’ve been selling really well here,” Levy said. “The Chicagoland area is the biggest market in the region, plus this is an interesting area because it’s within (the range of) a lot of long distance travel.”
Tesla has about 30 Supercharger locations partnered with Meijer stores throughout the region, he said. With these partnerships, Meijer maintains the parking lot as usual and Tesla is responsible for equipment maintenance, Levy said.
Tesla cars are equipped with technology that automatically shows the driver where nearby charging stations are located on a map, he said.
Mayor Paul Braun said the charging stations could encourage travelers to shop at Meijer, which benefits Flossmoor in the long run with sales tax revenue.
“People are stopping to fill up, they might run into the store,” he said.
The closest Tesla Supercharger location is at the Country Club Plaza in Country Club Hills, where eight charging stations are available.
Levy said the number of visitors to the Country Club Hills location has doubled in the past year from about 600 to 700 per month to about 1,400 per month.
That growth is expected to continue as the company prepares to release its third model of electric cars, he added.
“Our goal is to make sure the experience of owning an electric vehicle is amazing and that when you show up for a charge, that there is a space available,” Levy said. “We’re in the process now of making sure that infrastructure is in place.”
He said it takes 30 to 40 minutes to charge the vehicle’s battery up to 80 percent, the recommended amount for daily driving use.
The rate for a charge in Illinois is 14 cents per kilowatt hour, so it would cost about $6 to $8 for most drivers to fill up their battery, Levy said. Tesla’s short-range batteries will last for about 210 miles off one charge, and its long-range batteries last about 315 miles off one charge, he added.