According to a recent article published by Forbes, Tesla attempted to win grants to cover some of the costs associated with opening new Supercharger stations in Texas. Sadly, the electric automaker didn't win the bid, and instead, Texas will reportedly go with the most expensive stations. Moreover, most charging stations are going to be located at current gas stations.

Essentially, Texas has a program to award companies with grant money to help pay for EV charging infrastructure, among other projects. The program, called Texas Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Program (TxVEMP) is using settlement money from VW's Dieselgate debacle to fund the projects.

Of course, with any such grants, there are plenty of special rules that must be followed. One of the most important rules is that companies using the grant money must deploy charging stations that can be used by all electric vehicles, not just those from specific brands. The grants are also only available on a first-come-first-served basis.

The charging grants add up to a total of $21 million, and Tesla could have used such grants to cover about 70 percent of the cost of its Supercharging deployment in Texas. However, while the funding will cover some 170 chargers at 41 different locations, Tesla is not on the list of grant winners.

It's important to note that Tesla submitted its paperwork with plans to meet the requirements by installing CCS and CHAdeMO connectors, as well as opening the network to non-Tesla EVs. Moreover, the company only applied for a small portion of funding to help with four Supercharger stations it planned to deploy in Texas for use by all electric cars, likely as a test for opening more charging stations to non-Tesla EVs going forward. 

Companies were only allowed to apply for grant money to cover up to 70 percent of a charger's deployment up to $150,000. While most companies request the full $150,000 per charger, Tesla only applied for $30,000 per charger. However, it wasn't awarded a single penny of grant money.

While this story in itself is quite interesting, it's the data Forbes gleaned from the situation that's arguably much more compelling. The following is a list of unaccepted grant applications, which show up to 70 percent of the cost to deploy.

  • Chargepoint: $150K+ for 2-plex
  • EVgo: $150K+ for pair, $126K for 4-plex
  • Circle-K: $75K for 4-plex to $150K+ for 2-plex
  • 7-11: $126K for 2-plex
  • "Retail EV Charging North/South Texas” (Buc-ee’s) $100K/charger for 6-plex
  • Various small players: $75K to $150K, averaging at least $133K/charger
  • Accepted applications so far from various players average $123K+/charger
  • Tesla: $29K for 17-plex, $42K for 9-plex

As you can clearly see, Tesla's cost to deploy a Supercharger station related to this grant application is about 1/5th of the competition's. It seems Texas would save money by providing grants to Tesla over rivals. In addition, as Tesla opens its first four fast-charging stations in Texas that can be used by all EVs, it can test the program and consider opening it up across the whole state, and eventually, the entire country.

According to Forbes, the grants appear to be "misguided," and they aren't taking into account EV drivers' needs. The goal should be to build out as many public fast-charging stations as possible in key locations at the lowest cost, but it doesn't seem like that's the plan at all.

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