Tesla In Talks With Gas Station Chain To Install Superchargers

JUL 2 2016 BY STEVEN LOVEDAY 80

Tesla Superchargers, Image Credit (Tesla Shop)

Tesla Superchargers, Image Credit (Tesla Gear)

Tesla has been reportedly talking quietly to at least one gas station chain to get Tesla Superchargers installed at some locations. This could be a huge future benefit for station owners and a trend that will grow.

Current Supercharger Map Showing

Current Supercharger Map Showing States That Sheetz Operates In (Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia), Image Credit (Tesla)

Gas stations make most of their profits from people shopping at the convenience store portion of the establishment during fueling trips. It has been known for some time that gas stations don’t profit largely from the gas itself. In the coming years, as fuel becomes less necessary, many stations may be forced to close shop, since consumers won’t have a reason to stop.

Tesla is hoping to get in early and begin setting up some stations for EV charging. This way, as the transition to EVs becomes more imminent, gas stations can simply convert to EV stations over time. Also, since EVs take longer to charge, the convenience store portion of the businesses may see even greater profits.

Some stations are already contributing to energy costs related to EV chargers due to the additional business generated from such ventures. There is no information at this point stating that Tesla will be getting any kickbacks.

Sheetz, a mid-atlantic based gas station chain owning many locations covering six states, is Tesla’s confirmed primary target. Michael Lorenz, vice president of the enterprise substantiated talks:

“We’ve had discussions with them (Tesla) about putting their chargers in our stores. We haven’t done anything yet, but we’re continuing those discussions.”

Electrek followed up with Tesla, and a spokesperson confirmed the preliminary conversations:

“Tesla is talking to some gas station chains about installing charging at some stations that are conveniently located for long-distance, emission-free travel and could provide the necessary amenities for our customers.”

Source: Washington Post, Electrek

Categories: Charging, Tesla

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80 Comments on "Tesla In Talks With Gas Station Chain To Install Superchargers"

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Meanwhile, the laggard OEMs do relatively…nothing to advance widespread charging.

If Tesla really wanted to expand widespread charging they wouldn’t have used a proprietary charging protocol and charge plug. What happened to helping the greater good. A Level 3 standard would do far more to help widespread adoption of EVs than building out a proprietary infrastructure.

Playing my widdle bitty fiddle…

No such standard existed anywhere in the world back when Tesla was doing final validation testing on the Model S that would provide the charging rate that the Supercharger connector could provide.

Does your Volt also operate as a time machine, which you can use to go back in time and create whatever standard you claim Tesla should have used instead?

NIX, That is exactly what happened. Why don’t all other cars use the better Tesla (UMC) standard? Tesla has even offered to allow others with enough range to buy into their Super Charger network. So far no other car is up to the task with enough range.

Exactly. Calling Tesla’s Supercharger system “proprietary” is either clueless or deliberate Tesla bashing. It’s hard to imagine how Tesla could make its Supercharger system any less proprietary than it is! The fact that other EV makers’ cars can’t charger fast enough to use Superchargers doesn’t make Supercharger tech “proprietary”. It just makes Tesla’s tech better.

* * * * *

2013VOLT said:

“If Tesla really wanted to expand widespread charging they wouldn’t have used a proprietary charging protocol and charge plug.”

Proprietary?

To slightly paraphrase Inigo Montoya from “The Princess Bride”: ~”I do not think that word means what you think it means.”~

+1

Back then, the others were still playing with 40 KW so called fast charger. That was not even half of it.

Well, what else would you have expected them to do but go ahead anyway when the Society of Automotive Engeneers (SAE) didn’t have their act together and Tesla was ready to start rolling out their Model S and the fast charge network to support it?

Why should Tesla change its charging standard to inferior ones designed by some European bureaucrats? Tesla has the superior system, years ahead of others. Musk said other BEVs are welcome to Supercharge if they pay in proportion to their use and if their cars can support fast charging.

So far, no other cars meet either condition. Perhaps the giant automakers are too short term or still think BEVs are a fad. They seem to be busy making next quarter’s sales numbers, etc.

Plus one

Hell yes. All plug-in manufacturers should buy into the Tesla standard. Owners and prospective buyers should demand it. GM is known to listen to its Volt owners.

They would have to charge anyone not driving a Model S.

You are correct. OEM’s are never really interested in selling their EVs.

Ideally GM can install such station for their Volts and the upcoming Bolt. Lets see whether they do.

General Motors has very publicly said that they will not be putting in charging infrastructure, so we won’t have to wait to see what they do

SHEETZ, is a decent service in store with food, WiFi, Restrooms, and convenience electronic and other goods in store! So long as they made sure the Superchargers don’t get ICE’d, it would be a good addition!

Travel America (T/A), and PILOT, FLYING J, are other good choices too!

There are Sheetz stations in PA and NC that have DCFC systems at them. Agree, there are a lot worse places to have charging units at.

Yeah, and the one in Harrisburg has been down and out of order and not operational and useless for two months now!!!
I grant that now in 2016 this may be quasi acceptable, but by 2020 next gen EV drivers (who will not be mostly early adopters) for sure will NOT be ok with more that a couple days out of service, and it really won’t be the norm then I expect.

What’s really needed is some careful planning and execution of DCFC installs from here on out. Most locations should should be having two DCFCs installed.

Get the discussion going, plan and fund it, and lets see some real installs happen PA!!!

…and meanwhile, during that time, Tesla opened up a supercharger in Harrisburg- the last link I had been waiting for on my trips between seasonal homes in SW FL and Central NY. I checked the week before I picked up my new Model X and was very happy.

I had a GM card and bought 7 vehicles over 24 years, including 3 Volts, with the card. The card is now cancelled, in large part due to GM’s failure to support any kind of charging standard for its upcoming Bolt. Tesla is forward thinking with respect to electrified transporatation; GM not so much.

Why the smelly gas stations? Macdonalds or even upscale places like Applebee would’ve been better. I prefer the smell of grilling onion over gas fumes any day.

Thanks for that link, good story and a great idea. I don’t eat at Ruby Tuesday’s often, but if I could grab a charge there it would lead me to do so more often. This, like the gas station partner model, makes perfect sense.
As for your comment on smelly gas stations, remember, at some point they won’t smell like gas anymore. 🙂

In time, maybe. But I notice that I can smell gas stations nearby when stopped at an intersection, which I never noticed before EV. One’s nose gets sensitive to fumes when not exposed to high concentration of it on regular basis. Also true with delicious grilling onions.

I’m with you on both counts. It amazes me how much more I smell gas fumes now than I did before we got the Leaf. Never bothered me before, now it does. As for grilled onions, well it goes without saying, delicious!
Just for kicks I checked the Ruby Tuesday website and found they have locations in MANY of the areas that are current holes in Tesla’s supercharger network. Birmingham-AL, Huntsville-AL, Memphis-TN, and Little Rock-AK would fill in most of the remaining holes for Tesla in the Southeast.

Grilled onions mean one thing in California, in-n-out.

Sooooo true. At my FL home, the last of my grass was replaced with an artificial turf so realistic that the chem-lawn people actually asked how we kept it so green. For my small lawn at NY house, I use a reel mower. The net result is that I have no smelly gas tools anymore. The garage smells a whole lot better without the petro chemicals…and when that garage is attached to the house, even so much the better.

“upscale places like Applebee”

Ha Ha Ha

Exactly. I never plan to go back to a gas station.

Yeah a bit strange that Tesla would want to see us go back to gas stations even if it is to supercharge. They must start to be out off fitting places to install their equipment.

Doesn’t anyone get the exposure concept here?? Gas prices will go back up and when they do, the guy who just spent $70 to fill up his SUV will see a Tesla sitting there and notice that the owner plugs in and departs without ever reaching for a credit card.
…a not so subtle reminder of the folly of fossil fuels

the guy with the suv will also notice that the guy with the tesla was sitting there for an hour waiting for the car to recharge. then the guy in the suv will say: “no thanks, i’ve got to run. buh bye.”

Well, more like half an hour on average at a Supercharger, maybe 45 minutes max, but otherwise, yeah.

What would I buy at a gas station while waiting there a half hour that I wouldn’t also buy filling up an ICE in five minutes? More Twinkies? Unless these stations go upscale, they are going to make the same amount of profit per charge as they do per fill up, but charging takes 6x as long.

I could see them selling various and sundry electronics, like iPhone chargers and adapters, or massages, or liquor to boost profitability. Somewhat like an airport vendor. Anything upscale and reasonably quick would work.

Well in a Tesla you probably won’t be there 30 minutes, more like 15 – 20 unless you are near empty. I have never been to a Sheetz but if they are like the Quiktrip chain we have in the south, it would be a great place to stop. QT has fast food quality (or better) food along with the regular snacks you find at any station. They also have a full line of coffee and cappuccino offerings as well as smoothies and milk shakes. Open 24/7 and the bathrooms are always clean.
IMO these types of station chains offering EV charging is an eventuality, as they will need to do so in order to remain in business long-term. Bravo Tesla.

QT stores have no place to sit. Or at least, none of the ones in the Greater Kansas City area do.

Typical convenience store, and thus a very poor match indeed to the needs/wants of a Tesla car driver waiting for 30+ minutes.

Depending on the location choices may vary, The Sheetz near my house is pretty much a fast food place that also sells gas and car washes. Fried chicken, burgers, fries ect

One of the places that’s putting up EV chargers in a big way around here is Royal Farms, which AFAICT started as a convenience store, but then branched out into being largely a gas station chain. However, they still have some non-gas locations… and some of *those* have EV chargers now!

Anyway, it’s an interesting case to me, because most of the gas station chains seem to be the other way around, with at least the branding being driven more by the “gas” side than the “convenience” side.

With an ICE, you’re less likely to go in at all. With an EV, you’ve got time to kill, so you’re gonna do *something*. The store’s right there… why not go in? It’s something to do. And, having gone in, you might end up buying something, sometimes.

If I’m stopping for 5mins, I usually don’t even go into the store. Now if I’m stopped for 30mins, chances are high that I’ll pop in for at least a cold Coke. That’s $1 in profit right there alone that normally doesn’t happen.

hey, that’s an idea! this creates opportunities for people to open 24 hour “massage” parlors nearby. it takes an hour for a full recharge at a tesla super charger station, just enough time to get a “massage”.

Seems to make better sense to co-locate with a restaurant/fast food chain type place where whole family can sit down in comfort while battery is recharged.

Who wants to hang around some crappy fuel station shop for 45mins.

Well, I believe the fact of the matter is that both are needed, and both are great options for a location to get a fast charge at. In other words, sometimes on a trip sitting down for a ~40 minute meal while the car charges is what’s needed, and other times its just a 10-15 minute stop. Longer trips can be planned with restaurant SC locations in mind to make a stop at, and for shorter trips any place will do, but having a SC located at a convenience store is very nice since restrooms would be available 24/7 along with some drink and a bite to eat if needed.

Not everyone travels with a family.

What point are you making? Whether with or without family, sitting down to eat will likely happen…

many roadside plazas DO have sit down restaurants. that’s why super charger stations make sense at sheetz plazas. you can fill up a gas tank in 5 minutes, but a recharge at a tesla super charger station can take an hour. so the tesla owner is going to be much more likely to want to sit down and eat at the restaurant while the person filling up his gas tank might be more likely to buy a bag of chips and dash.

“no comment” said:

“…a recharge at a tesla super charger station can take an hour.

And it can take only 5 minutes. Neither is likely.

The average Supercharger wait time is 30 minutes. Anything over 45 minutes means the driver is trying to charge that last few remaining percent of a full capacity charge, which is generally a waste of time, since charging speed tapers off as the pack approaches a full charge.

I think the three super charger locations in Jordan are all at gas stations. Walmart sells gas. They could start selling electric fill-ups and they usually have a MacDonalds inside so people could kill time shopping and eating.

Yes, gas stations and malls are probably the two top locations for fast chargers. And one thing they all have in common is restrooms available 24/7 and a bit of food and drink to buy.

Traditionally it has been very hard to get alternative fuels into gas stations. The minute the gasoline distributor finds out, they work to make it real hard for the gas station owner to sell the alternative fuel.

Here is one example of them doing this way back when E85 was first being sold:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB117547886199856472

They made similar moves when fuel stations wanted to start selling CNG, like:
*saying the filling station couldn’t be under the main canopy, it had to be off to the side or behind the station.
*CNG couldn’t be advertised on the same sign as the gas prices, or anywhere near the main canopy.
*they would make over-the-top safety demands that they would pretend were for the consumer’s protection, but were really designed to make it unprofitable for the station to distribute CNG.

Sadly, I doubt charging stations will be any different. They will find ways to obstruct.

You make a good point, and certainly the fuel boys will try to block this. However, CNG never had the kind of sexy, high-tech reputation that comes with the Tesla brand name. Tesla can sell that to Sheetz and others, and can also sell the average income of those who drive Teslas as those people tend to have more disposable income than the average Joe and thus are more likely to spend some of their money at the station while stopping for a charge. This will happen eventually, if not at Sheetz then at QT or some other chain.

This may be an interesting way to let the gassers see the model 3 owners enjoying their fill ups. While they hang around for awhile and answer questions from first hand satisfied Tesla owners. This is a double edged sword for big energy companies. Good mix for Tesla. Maybe no so much to gain for the shallow oil cartel in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Gassers will see bunch of Tesla owners suffering (not enjoying) for tens of minutes to close to an hour. They will only see that EV takes “forever” to charge while failing to see the convenience of home charging. This is not a good endorsement of EV.

If there’s enjoyment in hanging out at gas stations, even gassers would be doing it already.

Well, if a driver of a 200+ mile EV that’s charging at 100 kW+ knows his stuff he will make reality clear by making known some figures and comparisons like this: In the U.S. the average man drives 16,550 miles per year, while the average woman drives 10,142 miles per year, so figuring a generous average of 15k miles a year, 5% is 750 miles. Figuring 100-150 miles per fast charge session, this means 5-8 fast charge sessions a year. Tesla average yearly Supercharger use is 5-8%, and there are a couple factors that push it that high too. http://insideevs.com/5-model-s-miles-supercharged-miles/ In the future fast charging for longer range EVs like Tesla is actually expected by some analysts to reach around 2%. Another interesting comparison is the total yearly time spent fueling an ICE car versus an EV. With an ICE car, figuring fueling time of about 15 minutes per month gives 180 minutes per year which is 3 hours. So a total of 3 hours a year are spent fueling a gas car. With a long range BEV, figuring 20 minutes fast charging to regain 100 miles, 5% of yearly charging (750 miles) requires 2 1/2 hours, and 2% of… Read more »

I’m a big EV proponent yet the above argument is pointless. If I’m driving from San Francisco to LA, all I will put up with is 1 stop to fuel and bathroom break.

Stopping 2-3 times for 40mins each stop (if you’re lucky) is more than I can bear.

So no, like SparkEV said, I’ll gas up and be on my way with a smirk at those BEVs patiently waiting….

Well, statistics can’t be argued with, although I concede that the charge times I gave are ideal charge times, and often in real life I grant that it can be approaching close to twice that length of time. So yes, the time can be more.
Again tho, statistics can’t be argued with (ie: ~5% of total yearly charging is fast charging). It’s an average, and its definitely not pointless. It gives a realistic view of what driving a long range EV is like, and may help people’s perceptions of them.
Btw, two stops between LA and San Francisco with 30-40 minutes each to charge is what I’ve seen.

You make a good logical argument, but it’s not going to have much effect.

“Actions speak louder than words.” By his actions, the EV driver makes it clear that waiting for his car to charge involves a long wait. Anything he says to argue the other side of the case while waiting… is still spending time waiting, which the gasmobile driver doesn’t have to do.

And this is another reason why putting Superchargers at a typical convenience store would be a marriage made in hell. It gives a bad image to BEVs and the wait time involved in taking an extended trip.

I’m reminded of what one BEV driver (was it a Leaf?) said when he stopped for a charge en route, and his passenger remarked on the extended wait time. “Yeah,” replied the Leaf driver. “But I only take long trips 3 or 4 times a year. You have to spend time driving to a gas station and back every week. Every year, you spend more time at it than I do.”

Now that’s a good argument. But it’s not one that’s likely to be made to the average gasmobile driver who sees a (hypothetical) bored-out-of-his-mind Tesla driver waiting at a Sheetz store!

Charge rates are getting quicker fast. Getting enough juice for additional miles, or more, doeznt take long now. In 2 or 3 years it will be even quicker.
150 kW charge rates gets you nearly 170 miles in just 20 minutes. 180 kW isnt that far off and it will get you around 170 miles in 15 minutes.

In ten years we will be at 500 KW.

You and your far out ideas!!
500 kW may happen at some point, but most certainly NOT in 10 years (mid 2020s) for passenger vehicles. The tech may exist then, but I seriously doubt it will be in public use by 2026 for passenger cars.

Next thing you know, someone will be claiming these newfangled horseless carriages will be able to drive at 50 miles per hour on a nationwide system of paved highways.

How ridiculous. Never gonna happen. Get a horse!

I disagree… Stopping at the Needles, CA. Supercharger was not painful experience at all. By the time we visited the restroom and ate lunch, our MS was full, ready to continue the journey. Superchargers co-located at gas stations seem to be a win-win venture

electric-car-insider.com

This indicates to me that Tesla is trying to scale faster. Finding good locations and negotiation a deal with individual owners is probably very time consuming.

I don’t see gas station locations as very attractive places to stop.

On a trip, locations close to decent food is much more desireable.

IMO both types of locations are needed. See my comment regarding this above.

Its a very good move.
A bp gas station in our area has been closed and is sitting idle for more than a year.

Hope someone takes over it and installs Superchargers and also sells E15 & E85 Ethanol.

These superchargers could be one big reason why Tesla sells so well while others are struggling.

May be Nissan can installing charging stations since they sell Electric vehicles that cannot run on gas.

Hawaii had three gas stations with chargers as far back as 2012. They were AeroVironment CHAdeMO chargers. Two were installed at Aloha Island marts and one at Kailua Shell.

A lot of the posters seem to like the idea of a restaurant as a good place for battery chargers. Most people take about an hour or so eat which is enough time to fast charge. It needs to be someplace where you enjoy staying a while, because it’s not much fun hanging out in a convenience store.

http://www.hybridcars.com/first-electric-vehicle-fast-chargers-hawaii-gas-stations-48204/

> gas stations can simply convert to EV stations over time. Also, since EVs take longer to charge, the convenience store portion of the businesses may see even greater profits.

That is unfortunately not realistic!

Yes, charging takes longer. But 98% of the time you’re charging at home. In the end, when we’ve transitioned to EVs we will spend much less time at fast/superchargers than we used to do at the pumps. Very likely there’s only a market for a fraction of the gas stations to exist as converted charging stations.

Yup!! And its looking like Norway will be the first place that begins to happen.. a few years before most places in the U.S. and Europe.

Well that fits perfectly with only a fraction that want to convert.

the number of users of these stations will probably be quite small, but the general idea is a good one. the problem with gas fill ups is that it doesn’t take long to fill up, so at best you might sell a few bags of chips. by contrast, a person using a tesla supercharger station is going to be there for a while; so they will be more likely to want to sit down and eat a meal at the restaurant.

How about 24hr fitness?

1. Lots of Location
2. Open 24hr
3. Lots of parking.
4. Shower and bathroom

Maybe. It’s not the type of location that comes to mind as a stop on a trip, but it might do for a 10-20 minute quick stop.

It has been posted before but bears repeating since most of this thread has a misconception.

Sheetz is a restaurant. It is not a typical gas station.

I have never eaten at Sheetz because I am just there to fill up (well not anymore). If I charged, I would eat at Sheetz. It seems to me that it is slower than McDonald’s.

My in laws eat at Sheetz when they visit us in their gasser at the mid way point of their drive. They are retired.

A $10 Chademo at Sheetz was in my plan B for a trip that involved conference/dinner 30 miles West and then a weekend trip 165 miles East. Turns out I got a 120V plug during the conference and saved the $10.

Do Sheets stores have a place inside to sit down and eat? Because none of the pictures I saw in a brief Google image search showed one.

If there is a place inside to sit down and eat inside, not outside, that makes it a good match for Superchargers. Otherwise, not so much.

That’s great to hear that. All the Sheetz I know are gas stations with a convenience store that does sell some decent food. I’m in PA.

Truck stops! They have showers, EV drivers can wash off all those smelly burnt electrons (and the lithium dust)!

And prostitutes lol.

There’s also Bob Evans, Cracker Barrel and other “quality” highway-side eateries.

My recent Model X purchase was quickly followed by a 1400 mile supercharging trip. The ONE thing I missed vs gasoline was the lack of anything to clean windshield with. On previous long trips, I would often clean the windshield at every gas stop. And thanks to them removing the little tabs on the gas nozzle that allowed hands free filling, I am forced to wait until after filling before I can clean my windshield. Cleaning the windows on a large SUV takes several minutes. Then there is the time to walk and water the dog. In reality, for me, Supercharging at a gas station will actually involve very few wasted minutes at all, compared to what I was already doing.

Tesla Superchargers and a typical gas-station-plus-convenience store is a marriage made in… hell. The gas station owner won’t want the Tesla car sitting in his parking lot for half an hour, occupying valuable real estate, when he could have had 6-8 gasmobile customers come and go at the same time. Nor will the Tesla car driver be very happy hanging out in a convenience store, where the entire business is built around the concept of grabbing something quickly and leaving quickly. There’s no place for customers to sit, nor is the store set up for an extended shopping visit. In other words, the proper “marriage” of a Supercharger installation and a local business is a restaurant or a shopping mall… not a gas-station-cum-convenience store. So why Sheetz? Well, I see from at least a couple of online pictures that at least some Sheetz locations have tables outside where patrons can eat. So it looks like Sheetz is already set up to be something closer to a diner/cafe than just a convenience store. So based on that business model, it would make more sense for Sheetz to consider Supercharger installations than other convenience store chains. But from the article, it seems… Read more »

Here is Florida we have WaWa which is a ‘nicer’ gas station. In fact they brand themselves as a sandwich and coffee place that happens to sell gas. Many times I see people sitting outside eating and/or relaxing.

The biggest problem I see is real estate space. If you have a small footprint like many gas stations do, well yeah that works great for gas because people are at the pump for 5 minutes. But what’s it gonna be like with super Chargers? Not enough space, not like a mall parking lot or restaurant lot.