Tesla Pauses New Californian Superchargers After Losing $6.4 Million In Funding

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Because there are no screens on Superchargers, Tesla can't offer payment options, and that means it misses out on Clean Energy Commission subsidies.

According to a letter seen by Drive Tesla Canada, Tesla is walking away from a public funding deal for new Superchargers in California that would have been worth $6.4 million due to "unnecessarily cumbersome payment infrastructure requirements."

Tesla was set to build four new Supercharger stations in California, collectively housing 420 individual stalls. One of these would have been the world's biggest at 164 stalls, and each of the four projects would have availed Tesla of $1.6 million from the California Clean Energy Commission (CEC) for a total of $6.4 million.

But Tesla has chosen to walk away, as the CEC's requirements include that publicly funded chargers must have "multiple point-of-sale methods," including credit and debit cards, as well as payment via mobile apps.


The letter we refer to at the outset was from Tesla's Policy and Business Development Lead for California, Jennifer Cohen. As per Drive Tesla, an excerpt from the letter reads as follows:

"The California Clean Energy Commission (CEC) has been a great visionary in the expansion of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in California. Unfortunately, due to unnecessarily cumbersome payment infrastructure requirements, we are unable to utilize this award."

Tesla's Superchargers are sleek, modern-looking pieces of design, but neither the current versions or the next-gen V4 Superchargers incorporate screens, thereby making multiple payment methods impossible without a redesign for future Superchargers. It appears that $6.4 million in funding is too little for Tesla to redevelop its Superchargers, but this does not necessarily mean the chargers will not be built.


Superchargers are excellent marketers of Tesla vehicles, and their proliferation throughout the country is a big factor in the automaker's success. In an EV-friendly state like California, Tesla will surely want to maximize its footprint, and we expect that it will build many more Superchargers in the region, with or without subsidies.

Another stipulation would have been that at least 50% of each project must include CCS connectors, but even without CEC money, expect to see more than just Tesla Model 3, Model S, Model Y, and Model X EVs at future Californian Superchargers.

Last month, the White House confirmed that Tesla would open its countrywide Supercharger network to other brands with Magic Dock adapters in order for the carmaker to take advantage of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law billions. It appears that those subsidies do not have the same payment requirements as the CEC's, but perhaps that's an oversight that ought to be addressed.


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