24-unit facility would be built next to Caldera Brewery near Exit 14
By Stephen Floyd for Ashland.news
Tesla wants to add Ashland to its list of Supercharger locations with a proposed 24-unit facility off Exit 14, where Interstate 5 meets Highway 66.
The electric car giant has requested a variance from the Ashland Planning Department to build a charging station on an undeveloped half-acre lot at 580 Clover Lane, next to Caldera Brewery & Restaurant.
The department is accepting public comment on the matter through Aug. 1, after which the Ashland Planning Commission may consider approval of the variance, possibly during its Aug. 2 meeting.
Planning Manager Brandon Goldman said a fully-electric fueling station would be a first for the city, and could be a draw for Tesla drivers traveling on I-5 who may otherwise miss an opportunity to visit Ashland.
“While here, they will get to experience our community, get a bite to eat, stay overnight, and perhaps plan a longer stay,” said Goldman. “Instead of another gas station primarily serving interstate travelers, this proposal helps provide the type of charging infrastructure needed to facilitate mobility through the region while furthering Ashland’s goals of reducing carbon emissions.”
Goldman added, even though this would be the Planning Commission’s first consideration of a Supercharger station, the process to approve the necessary variance would be pretty typical.
“The proposed charging facility is treated much the same as would be a proposal for a new gas station, yet in this case the applicant does not need a service building on site, so has reserved a suitable area for a future building,” he said. “As such, opportunities for future development can still be accommodated on-site.”
Tesla has been aggressively building Superchargers since 2018, averaging around 10,000 new units globally each year, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. 2022 is on track to match that progress, with more than 5,000 units installed during the first half of the year, according to InsideEVs.
Tesla’s website describes Superchargers as high-wattage charging stations exclusive to their vehicles and able to provide around 200 miles worth of battery life in around 15 minutes, which could take a driver from Ashland to Eugene, or Redding, California, without the need for a second stop.
Supercharger locations are selected through an application process, with potential “hosts” chosen based on the number of units they are able to accommodate and their proximity to food, shopping and other amenities for drivers waiting for their vehicles to charge.
Once a site is chosen, Tesla bears the costs of development and construction, while hosts agree to keep the location clean, safe and accessible. Hosts are also able to charge a nominal fee based on wattage and charging time, though Tesla encourages free usage as a draw for the host’s business, if one is attached to the property.
The site in question has no existing business, though space has been set aside for potential future development, while it is also in close proximity to numerous existing restaurant and lodging options. The current owner, according to Jackson County property records, is Asia Johnson, of Ashland, who acquired the site in March of 2021 for $250,000. Johnson could not immediately be reached for comment.
Email freelance reporter Stephen Floyd at email@example.com.