Tech Crunch: What It Takes To Be A Tesla Supercharger Partner

JUL 26 2013 BY JAY COLE 13

Hardly a day goes by when we do not hear news on the Tesla Supercharger network.

And it seems like an almost weekly occurrence that another station is springing up – like this one in Washington, or like this one in Fort Myers, Florida, or this one in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

But what goes on behind the scenes?  How does Tesla determine locations?  Do they own them?  Rent them?  If so, for how long?  What is the cost?   How long does it take to set a station up? How much land do they require?  Is there is minimum on spaces?

Basically, Tesla covers all the cost, does the set-up themselves, and pays whatever electricity the Superchargers draw from the local utility…and all they ask in return is some prime real estate, ideally located, for a half decade or so.

Further to that, Tech Crunch got the inside track on the Tesla Supercharger Partner Program, and helps fill in all the missing details to our outstanding questions.

Tesla Documention (via Tech Crunch) Shows That "Supercharging A Location" Can take 12-20 Weeks Fo

Tesla Documention (via Tech Crunch) Shows That “Supercharging A Location” Can take 12-20 Weeks To Complete



$100,000-$175,000 depending on the location, and how much site modification is needed at a particular location.

Real Estate

Tesla requires the land owner to set aside about 200 to 600 sq. feet for the Supercharger and related equipment itself, and also at least four or five spaces.

According to Tech Crunch, “most agreements involve four ‘dedicated’ stations, designed such that only Tesla owners can use them,” in order that Tesla owners can always find a spot.  Additionally, most deals have 4-6 other stations (or an option for Tesla to expand the number stations if you will) that can Supercharge or provide space for normal cars or other plug-ins to park.

Tesla does look for existing power connections nearby when possible, and requires the site to be lit properly.


Land owners reportedly sign up for at least 5 years – after all Tesla has to make sure they recoup some value on their investment.  Many agreements are for up to 10 years.  Again monetarily, land owners pay nothing to Tesla, and receive nothing from Tesla.

The property owner basically gets the high profile status and draw of the Tesla Supercharger network, and Tesla gets use of the location.



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13 Comments on "Tech Crunch: What It Takes To Be A Tesla Supercharger Partner"

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The following statement caught me by surprise.

“Additionally, most deals have 4-6 other stations that can both Supercharge or provide space for normal cars or other plug-ins to park.”

When has a supercharging station also provided charging for regular EVs, which I assume would be J1772.

Dunno about the J1772 plugs, but are the other spots for car-pooling? How does Tesla feel about their lots used for car-pooling?

No, according to TC, they’re “enabled” spots, which I take it means future expansion. So they are still regular parking spots (no charging), but Tesla can add more superchargers when demand requires.

That’s a good point…I don’t think our story made that clear enough. I’ll add in some clarification. Thanks Anthony!

It said “other plug ins to PARK”, not charge.

I’m super embarrassed that its taken my employer 8 months to install 4 EV charing stations (8 plugs) on property we own and control, while Tesla seems to be able to do that work in about 3-4 months (excluding property acquisition time).

Embarrassed? You are comparing something done as a core business concept with something is merely a fringe benefit for employees.

Totally different timelines.

Nice piece Statik!

This sheds some light on the delay between when they said, “We are expediting the SuperCharger network” and the completions we have seen recently. It seems like it will be a steady steam of openings through the end of the year.

“Again monetarily, land owners pay nothing to Tesla, and receive nothing from Tesla.”

This is the reason Tesla will not have any superchargers in the cities themselves – only in between. This is one way traditional manufacturers can compete – because they have good spots throughout the city to install QC (the dealerships).

Compete? More like co-exist. In town the Tesla has over 200 miles of range (~260 or more miles ideal range). Charging away from home office or long term destinations would be rare. It’s on the highway where Tesla needs chargers. Traditional manufacturers seem intent on releasing cars with 80 or less miles of range (~110 ideal) and will need the in town chargers to extend the attractiveness of the vehicles.

So far the two ideas do not appear to be in competition IMO.

I thought this was an interesting/informative post in the Tesla forum. (by nickjhowe) “For your info, here’s how a typical (in this case the Port St Lucie, FL) supercharger infrastructure is configured: The eight bay setup takes a 12kV, 750kVA feed from the utility, steps it down to 480V three phase on site, pushes that into 2000A switchgear which feeds four (one for each pair of bays) SuperCharger units at 480V/200A. Each unit contains 12 [Model S] 10kW rectifiers for 120kW. For safety reasons the ‘pod’ that the car plugs into is not energized until the cable has done a handshake, so if something accidentally flattens a pod or the cable is cut there is no danger. Each unit is 120kW and will load balance between two bays – if two cars are at the same SOC they’ll each get 60kW, whereas if one is empty and one is close to full it will split it 90/30. So…if you come into an SC station and there are several empty bays DO NOT park next to an existing car unless you first check the label on the SC – each one should be labeled 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, etc. Avoid… Read more »

750 kVA is 750 kW …yes?

120 Kw X 4 = 480 Kw

How come the feed is so much bigger than the draw??

Growth capability.?
or are my numbers wrong.

Good find kdawg.

How much is a 750 kVA feed??
Expensive I bet and not many businesses have that high a feed I wouldn’t think but I don’t know for sure.

Well the poster said they are 90kW now so..

90kW x 8 stations = 720kW