Tesla proposes to deploy 39 free-to-use charging stations near Chicago in latest EV infrastructure push

Tesla’s latest electric car charging infrastructure program where it pays for the cost of deploying new charging stations not only for its own fleet, but also for all other electric vehicles, is puzzling to some.

But it seems to be gaining traction as Tesla pushes forward with a new proposal for 39 charging stations outside Chicago.

Tesla’s Supercharger network, the automaker’s main EV infrastructure effort, was meant to enable long-distance driving in its electric vehicles with daily charging expected to be done at home overnight.

But over the past year, the company has been focusing on finding ways to allow “urban ownership” of electric vehicles.

CEO Elon Musk even announced that Tesla would focus on a ‘major’ expansion of its urban charging network.

The company ended up unveiling a new “urban Supercharger” later on, but the Tesla Wall Connector remains the company’s best tool to enable urban EV ownership.

Tesla has long been deploying the Wall Connector for free with businesses as long as they cover the cost of the electricity.

They have since launched a new ‘Workplace Charging’ to extend the same offer to some workplaces.

But lately, Tesla has been deploying more charging stations directly with municipalities. We have seen it happened in Norfolk, Virginia and Barrie, Ontario, where Tesla made deals to deploy over 100 charging stations combined.

Now Tesla is proposing to deploy 39 free-to-use charging stations in Elgin, a city of over 100,000 people just outside of Chicago.

We are starting to see similarities between the deals with municipalities.

According to a report from the Chicago Tribune, Tesla would foot the $109,629 installation cost to install the charging stations on municipal property as long as the city covers the electricity cost for people charging and that 22 of the 39 stations are Tesla’s Wall Connectors and the rest are universal chargers for other EVs.

The Elgin Sustainability Commission has asked the city council to approve the project, which will be considered at a meeting next month.

Electrek’s Take

If you are aiming to incentivize electric vehicles, free charging is certainly an interesting option.

But I wouldn’t mind them transferring the cost to the users in order to accelerate deployment as long as it’s reasonable, which is rarely the case with third-party networks.

The city apparently pays an electricity rate of around $0.05 per kWh, which is fairly cheap. A similar price would be great, but the problem is that Tesla doesn’t have a system to take payment with those stations so the city would have to figure that out on their own.

Would you take that deal? Let us know in the comment section below.

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