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Tesla station opening in Worthington

A row of six charging stalls of the Tesla supercharger are shown outside the Ground Round in Worthington. Fifty superchargers are operational in the U.S., with more to come. (Aaron Hagen/Daily Globe)1 / 4
This map from the Tesla Motors website shows red dots representing charging stations currently open in the United States. Additional stations are planned across the country in the next two years. 2 / 4
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WORTHINGTON — There are currently 19,000 Tesla cars on the road, and now, owners of the fully electric car can recharge in the region, including Worthington.

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“We actually just opened our 50th charging station in Murdo, S.D.,” said Patrick Jones, communications manager with Tesla Motors. “We’re expanding really quickly, and we’re planning to continue that expansion through 2014.”

Worthington currently has the only supercharging station in Minnesota, according to a map provided by Tesla. More stations along Interstate 90 are planned.

Recently, three stations were opened in South Dakota, including Rapid City, Murdo and Mitchell.

“You’ll see more in Minnesota in the early part of this year,” Jones said Thursday. “Right now the strategy has been to complete three major corridors in the U.S. Right now you can travel from Vancouver all the way down to San Diego, and we’re on the heels of almost completing Boston to Miami and (Los Angeles) to New York. Those are the three major routes.

Also the strategy behind it is to connect people to different cities and major tourist destinations.”

The electric Tesla cars save on gas and maintenance charges. The car currently in production, Model S, starts at around $70,000.

“We have an unprecedented amount of range compared to other electric vehicles on the market,” Jones said. “With a full charge, you can get about 270 miles worth of range. Because of that, you don’t typically need to use our supercharger to charge your car every single day.” 

The idea is to allow for coast-to-coast travel.

“That’s why we’re expanding the network across the country and through South Dakota and through Minnesota — so you can actually drive from LA all the way to New York using the network,” Jones said. “By the way, they are free to use, so there is no cost involved in charging on our superchargers.”

Worthington has six charging stalls located at the Ground Round, 1290 Ryan’s Road. 

“You can get about half of a charge in 20 minutes, so that would be about 150 miles in 20 minutes,” Jones said. “A full charge is closer to 45 minutes on the superchargers.”

The stations are often located at eating establishments, giving people the opportunity to dine while charging their vehicle. 

“They are always typically at a restaurant or in some cases, they are at outlet malls where there is food and people can go shopping,” Jones said. “A lot of small business owners have been receptive in allowing us to install superchargers for that reason. They know our customers are going to stop and contribute to the local economy and hit the road again.” 

Stations are typically located between 120 and 150 miles apart.

“I was part of the team that actually got to do the West Coast corridor opening from San Diego up to Vancouver,” Jones said. “I have to say, it was such an easy trip. The amount of distance between each supercharger when you actually need to stop and replenish your battery is perfect. It’s right at the point where you are ready to use the bathroom or you need a coffee or you need a meal anyway. You can pop into a local eatery or diner, grab something to eat, come out and you have a full charge and you’re ready to hit the road again.”

As more expansion is planned in the coming years, Jones said the hope isn’t necessarily a set number of stations, but rather to cover the entire country.

“We just plan to enable long-distance travel between every major city and every tourist destination,” he said.

Daily Globe Community Content Coordinator Aaron Hagen may be reached at 376-7323.