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Tesla puts early charging stations in Delaware


Bernard David, of Greenville, stands with his brand new Tesla Model S. The high-end electric car company has made Delaware the site of one of its first two East Coast charging stations. / EMILY VARISCO/THE NEWS JOURNAL

Four new fueling stations at the Delaware Welcome Center look a lot like gas pumps, with their black hoses that feed into a car’s fuel tank hole.

But in this case, the cars are Teslas, and the gas tank is instead an electric portal – and the fuel is free.

Not that the cars are cheap. The high-end electric car company has made Delaware the site of one of its first two East Coast charging stations – the other is in Milford, Conn. – giving this tiny state a unique distinction in the electric automobile industry, no matter how its flirtation with Fisker Automotive ends.

By the end of the year, Tesla intends to have 100 “supercharger” stations scattered across North America, all at rest stops, making it easier for customers to drive their electric cars on long trips.

“What we’re really focused on with these things is enabling drives along corridors we know customers will go,” said Shanna Hendriks, communications manager for Tesla Motors in Palo Alto, Calif.

Tesla has a critical mass of customers in the major cities along the East Coast, and Delaware is a good place for them to stop and recharge along I-95, she said. Hendriks said there will be enough charging stations by the end of the year to allow for a cross-country drive.

The cars, when fully charged, have a range of between 160 and 265 miles. The stations give the batteries a nearly full charge in about a half hour or 45 minutes – enough time to use the bathroom, eat lunch, get some coffee, and, if applicable, walk the dog
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