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Palm Coast Friday, Jan. 31, 2020 5 months ago

Palm Coast Wawa to open in May, with Tesla Superchargers to follow

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This will be the first layout of its kind, according to the project superintendent.
by: Brian McMillan Executive Editor

Updated 5:19 p.m. Jan. 31

The Wawa under construction at Bulldog Drive and State Road 100 should be open in May, and Tesla is in talks to have eight Superchargers for electric vehicles on the site.

The Superchargers may not be available in time for the opening, according to Project Superintendent Jacob Baer, who added that the Wawa layout would be the first of its kind in the company.

Tesla currently has more than 1,800 Supercharger stations worldwide, featuring almost 16,000 Superchargers, and is adding more this year, including more in the Arctic Circle. The map on Tesla's website does not show one planned on Bulldog Drive; it does show one planned for 2020 on Palm Harbor Parkway. An email to Tesla's press office did not yield an immediate reply for clarification. 

Future of electric vehicles

The Palm Coast City Council discussed in December a proposal from Florida Power and Light to add electric vehicle charging stations at City Hall. Anuj Chokshi, a project manager for FPL, told the City Council that FPL is expecting that by 2025, around a fifth to a quarter of all the cars sold will be electric.

City Council member Nick Klufas said in that December meeting that the city did need more electric vehicle charging stations, but he was concerned that FPL's proposed chargers were not high-speed chargers. Also, FPL's deal would have required the city of Palm Coast to pay for the electricity that would charge the cars. The city did not take a vote on the FPL proposal.

“I wasn’t comfortable compromising our facilities just to have FPL be our partner," Klufas said in a Jan. 31 interview with the Palm Coast Observer.

He said FPL’s plan would have installed chargers that could provide about 8 miles per hour of charging. Instead, without the city's involvement or obligation, an even better setup will soon be available at Wawa, just down the road from City Hall: Tesla's chargers will provide 1,000 miles per hour of charging, and the city won't be subsidizing the electricity.

Klufas said the Tesla deal is also smart for Wawa. "This is going to be future of automotive more quickly than people understand,” he said. “The price for electric will be less than combustible engines in the next 18-24 months. … By 2025, it won’t make any sense to buy a gasoline car.”

The Superchargers will draw people off I-95 en route to Jacksonville or Orlando, Klufas predicts, because electric-vehicle drivers can stop for 10 minutes and have enough battery power to drive the rest of their journey. Low-powered chargers would not attract visitors.

Brian McMillan has been editor of the Palm Coast Observer since it began in 2010. He was named the Journalist of the Year for weekly newspapers in North America by the Local Media Association in 2012. He lives in Palm Coast with his wife and five children. Email...

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