After more than a year of negotiations between the City of Santa Maria and Tesla, a 5-year dealhas been proposed to bring 32 charging stations to the city's Town Center mall.
"We are really thrilled that we can be part of this,” said Mark van de Kamp, the City of Santa Maria’s public information officer.
There are a few electric vehicle charging stations around the city currently, including at Lowe's and the Santa Maria Health Care Center, but to find a Tesla Supercharger open to the public, you would have to drive a little farther, like to the Pismo Beach outlets or the Madonna Inn.
Tesla owner and Santa Maria resident Justin Boileau is happy to hear there could soon be some closer to home.
"That would be very exciting, it would be very convenient. Right now, I have to drive north to Pismo and often the parking lot is very congested and it's hard to actually get a slot in,” Boileau said.
The charging station will include 20 "Level-3" chargers, also called superchargers, for Tesla drivers only.
There will also be 12 "Level-2" chargers for any other electric vehicle, free of charge.
"If it is approved and built, it will benefit both Tesla drivers and drivers of other electric vehicles will be able to charge and it will also benefit our downtown because they can park their vehicles and go shop at the local area,” van de Kamp said.
That's something nearby candy shop owner Sheila Guge is looking forward to.
"Of course, after COVID we are all trying to recover so more traffic is better for everybody,” Guge said.
As part of the deal, Tesla has agreed to pay the City of Santa Maria a $20,000 yearly rental fee with a 3% increase after five years - money the city says can be used to fund other city programs.
The station would take up 38 parking spaces with six being used for the station's transformers.
Tesla has also agreed to pay the fees for construction and maintenance.
"It looks like we have come to a pretty good arrangement and this will be in a location that is adjacent to Highway 101 and Main Street being Highway 166 it will be really convenient for people who are here in town or who are visiting,” van de Kamp said.
The Santa Maria City Council is set to meet next Tuesday to vote on this proposal.
An exact date for when construction will begin, if the city decides to move forward, has not yet been determined.
City officials say it will more than likely begin this year.