If you are starting to see more and more of these “Power supported by [insert local business name]” signs (pictured above) when stopping at Tesla Supercharger stations, it’s because your patronage is very valuable and Tesla is starting to leverage it in order to expand its Supercharger network.
Over the last year, Tesla has been lining up deals with the businesses located where it installs its Supercharger stations and making them contribute to the cost of the electricity used to charge the cars in exchange for bringing customers.
Since Tesla owners are stopping at the stations for up to an hour, that hour of you inevitably being around that station can be valuable to businesses – whether they are trying to sell you lunch or other products and services.
We have seen several of these deals in the past year and the latest happened recently in Iowa, where Tesla partnered with the Hy-Vee grocery store chain to deploy 3 Supercharger stations along the Interstate 80 over the past few months and Hy-Vee is flipping the electricity bill.
John Brehm, Hy-Vee director of site planning, said about the deal (via The Gazette):
“The time it takes for an average shopper to get through a grocery store to get groceries is about the same time it takes to get a full charge on a decent fast charger like this. So it’s a marriage made in heaven.”
Brehm added that they are currently in discussion with Tesla to install Superchargers at 6 more Hy-Vee locations, which could make it the biggest deal of the kind for Tesla’s Supercharger network.
As previously reported, Tesla also recently announced a change in its Supercharger program to end the free unlimited Supercharging in favor of a free annual cap of 400 kWh and making blocks of energy available at a price after the cap is reached.
The new program was presented as a way to help Tesla expand the network ahead of the market introduction of the Model 3 next year and the anticipated subsequent rapid growth of Tesla’s fleet, which will make the already busy network even busier. The combination of the new program with Tesla moving toward making deals with businesses in order to deploy more stations seems to be new drivers of Tesla’s Supercharger expansion.
Tesla currently operates over 4,600 Superchargers at over 730 locations around the world. The company aims to roughly double that number by the end of next year.