By Deb Murphy
Tesla wants to put 12 re-charging stations in downtown Bishop.
Ben Prum made the pitch to the Bishop City Council at its August 26 meeting. The site is an existing city parking lot at 151 S. Warren Street. Prum pointed out the location and the 30- to 60-minute recharge time would give Tesla owners an opportunity to hit near-by shops, restaurants and Great Basin Bakery while the car is rebooted.
The site is south of Devon’s Flower Patch and west of the parking lot behind La Casita’s.
Warren Street is just off Bishop’s main drag, but Prum said the technology built into the Teslas identify recharging sites—kind of like an in-car billboard advertising Bishop.
The agenda item was just a presentation, not a voting item, but Council members seemed more open to the idea than the 2014 Council that turned down a similar proposition.
Tesla currently has charging stations in Lone Pine and Mammoth Lakes with a total 670 charging stations and 350,000 vehicles on the road as of 2018. According to Prum, the vehicles get 370 miles on a full charge.
Prum told the Council the Mammoth station averages 900 charges a month; the Lone Pine station, with only six chargers currently, averages 600.
The proposed agreement would start at five years with a 10-year extension. Tesla would maintain or re-plant the existing trees around the perimeter of the lot and install lighting.
According to the staff report, Tesla has been negotiating with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to “determine if and how adequate power service could be brought to the proposed site.”
The one concern was the perception of fewer parking spaces in the downtown corridor. The Tesla installation would take the equivalent of four spaces from the existing lot for charging equipment. While the 12 Tesla parking spaces are not restricted to recharging Teslas, conventional vehicle owners may assume those spaces are off limits.
To mitigate that perception, Tesla’s proposal included the creation of three new spaces next to the Public Works shop in an area not currently used for parking. Tesla would also re-stripe spaces once restricted for buses when Greyhound had a station at the location.
The report goes on to explain aerial photographs between 2006 and 2017 showed an average of 48 spaces occupied in the area where there are currently 124 spaces available.
The next step, according to City Planner Elaine Kabala: the formal agreement between Tesla and the City will be brought back to the Council once the details are finalized. Tesla will go through the building permit process.
According to Prum, installation of the recharging equipment and other work would take six to eight months.