Tesla proposing 20-stall ‘supercharging’ station at Naperville Crossings

Tesla charging station
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Tesla is proposing a new 20-stall “supercharging” station within the Naperville Crossings shopping center, and the plans thus far have garnered support from city planning officials.

Representatives on behalf of the electric vehicle manufacturer unveiled plans for the stations at a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on Wednesday, June 19. Commissioners at that meeting gave a unanimous recommendation to the decision-making city council, which will vote on the matter in July.

The specific site of the proposed superchargers is on the northwest corner of Route 59 and Cantore Road and on the east side of Showplace Drive.

15 minutes for 200 miles of charge   

According to Tesla’s website, supercharging stations are defined by their functionality. They have the capability of recharging EVs for 200 additional miles of use in 15 minutes. The company reportedly has more than 50,000 supercharging stations already in operation across the globe.

“Located on major routes near convenient amenities, superchargers keep you charged when you’re away from home,” a statement on the website reads. “Simply plug in, charge and go.”

Sarah Honeycutt, project coordinator with Naperville-based architecture, engineering and planning firm GPD Group Inc., recently outlined the planned spot for the superchargers in Naperville Crossings and the benefit of having them on a major roadway in the city.

GPD has been serving as Tesla’s contracted engineer for the planning of the superchargers at Naperville Crossings.

“A charging station enhances underutilized spaces, supports residents and businesses in the surrounding areas and encourages innovation in the broader built environment,” Honeycutt wrote in a memo to city officials. “The implementation complements the existing space design along Showplace Drive and serves the needs of the thriving numbers of EV users throughout Naperville.”

Tesla plans a “major change” to Naperville Crossings     

Tesla’s plans within Naperville Crossings went before the Planning and Zoning Commission for two specific technical reasons that relate to development documents on file and the city’s zoning code.

In a memo, Adam Beaver, a community planner with the city, indicated the addition of the supercharging station within Naperville Crossings represented a “major change” to a planned unit development document that was first drawn up when the shopping center was constructed.

Additionally, the location of the superchargers is not compliant with the city’s existing setback requirements, indicating the distance between structures and other nearby amenities, such as roadways. According to the memo, Tesla’s proposal would encroach 9 feet into a 20-foot major arterial setback that has been in place.

“Staff is supportive of the requested deviation, due to the location at the back of an existing parking lot along a major roadway and notes that the city encourages the installation of electric vehicle charging stations,” Beaver wrote.

Commissioners raise questions   

Prior to giving their stamp of approval for the Tesla proposal at the recent meeting, several commissioners raised questions about the project.

Orianna Van Someren, who chairs the Planning and Zoning Commission, sought assurances emergency scenarios were considered.

“I think of the terrible things — you know, an accident, if something were to hit this — I assume that’s all been looked at, from a safety standpoint?” Van Someren said. “There’s backups on it and it shuts down? I just think it’s a massive amount of electricity, so to get closer to the street, I just want to make sure.”

In response, Beaver said, “The city’s electric utility has reviewed and approved all plans proposed.”

Commissioner Derek McDaniel inquired about the financial aspects of the project.

“My question doesn’t have any bearing on how I would judge, but for my own personal knowledge, is there a revenue sharing type of agreement at all with Tesla and the city?” McDaniel said.

Beaver, in response, said, “I don’t believe so.”

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