Supercharged: Yuma Becoming a Charging Hub For Electronic Vehicles

2013-11-01 18:42:01
n early 2012, Yuman Steve Shadle became the first Arizona resident to
register a Fisker Karma, an all-electric vehicle.
“It’s a rocket. It looks like a Lamborghini. It catches the eye,” Shadle said.
The 400-horsepower electric vehicle has a 50-mile range with batteries
only, he said. The gasoline engine powers only the generator.
“So if I’m going to San Diego or Phoenix, I turn on the generator and it
generates enough power to recharge your batteries,” he explained.
But he’s also impressed with its other features, such as the solar panel
sunroof that operates the fan and cooling system. And when he’s going down a mountain, the tires charge the
batteries, giving him another five to 10 miles.
Shadle usually charges his car at home, where he keeps it plugged in. But occasionally he takes it out for
spin, maybe to the golf course.
For other motorists passing through on Interstate 8, Yuma is well known as a convenient stop between
Phoenix and San Diego. So it’s not surprising that electric carmakers are eyeing the city as a charging station
hub for electric vehicles, also known as EVs.
Tesla Motors Inc., the makers of the Tesla Model S electric vehicle, are working with city officials to install
eight charging stations at the Hilton Garden Inn Pivot Point Conference Center, 310 N Madison Ave.
The charging station will have four regular chargers and four superchargers. Superchargers can charge up to
50 percent in 20 minutes, according to Tesla.
Each supercharger station has its own dedicated meter from the local utility and Tesla pays for all operating
cost, including electricity.
“Tesla is very focused on providing free long distance travel across the country,” Alexis Georgeson,
spokeswoman for Tesla, told the Yuma Sun.
“Many of these Arizona supercharger stations, including Yuma, will support the cross-country route from Los
Angeles to New York which will be completed by the end of 2013,” she said.
Superchargers are designed for city to city travel, enabling Model S electric vehicle drivers to travel for about
three hours, take a 20 to 30 minute break to grab lunch or a soda or coffee, and get back on the road charged
Tesla Superchargers are the “most powerful charging technology in the world, capable of charging Model S 20
times faster than most public stations,” she explained.
“Superchargers provide half a charge to the Model S in just 20 minutes and are free for owners to use. We11/4/13 Print Article: Supercharged: Yumabecoming acharging hubfor electronic vehicles 2/2
place superchargers along major corridors that our customers often travel and that connect city centers.”
The Yuma station should be operational before the end of the year, said Ricky Rinehart, deputy city
administrator. “It’s on the fast track.”
“The opening of our Yuma supercharger and the additional five stations slated to open in Arizona are a
testament to our dedication to the market and the strength of our customer base in the area,” Georgeson
The Tesla charging stations will also create economic opportunities, Rinehart said. While EV owners are
charging their car, they can eat and shop, visit the city and perhaps even stay overnight, spending their
“We’re happy they’re looking at Yuma. We look forward to seeing them here as part of the downtown area,”
Rinehart said.
Rinehart expects to see more EVs hitting the roads in and around Yuma.
“It’s coming, it’s here,” Rinehart noted. “The technology is ever evolving as all technology is. We’re seeing
more and more of these vehicles on the road.”
It’s definitely here. Yuma already has two 240V EV plugs in the public parking lot in front of City Hall, 1 City
Plaza. They’re available to the public free of charge.
The stations were given to the city by Chrysler Corporation in 2011, as part of a test of the carmaker’s electric
vehicles. The city used 10 electric pickup trucks during the test.
They have been used by numerous EV owners, both Yuma residents visiting City Hall to conduct business
and people passing through town.
“They plug in their cars and go downtown for lunch, they shop, they look around,” Rinehart said.
“It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Mara Knaub can be reached at or (928) 539-6856.