Tesla Motors is expanding presence in Virginia

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Print this page by Veronica Garabelli
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Tesla plans to open a dealership in Northern Virginia.
Photo courtesy Tesla Motors.

A Supercharger station may not mean much to the average driver, but for owners of Tesla’s Model S electric sedan it can mean waiting minutes to charge their cars versus hours.

California-based Tesla Motors Inc. planned to roll out its second Supercharger station in Virginia in Woodbridge in December (the first debuted in Glen Allen in fall 2013).

The free stations can be used only by owners of Tesla’s Model S.

Tesla plans to have the stations available to almost the entire U.S. population and parts of Canada by 2015.  That expansion will allow Andrew Doane, director of security services at Amazon Web Services in Herndon, to take a cross-country trip from Washington to San Francisco next summer.

Doane bought a Tesla Model S because of its environmentally friendly reputation, but he has found it operates as well as sports cars. “There’s no tradeoff with the Tesla Model S,” Doane says. “It is just as fast as a Porsche 911 Turbo.”

Model S owners can travel up to 265 miles on a full charge, depending on what battery a car has. They can charge their cars anywhere there’s an outlet, but fully charging at a public charging station or at home may take hours. A Supercharger, by contrast, can replenish the battery with 200 miles of rated range in half an hour.

The Supercharger station is not the only addition Tesla has planned for the commonwealth. The electric carmaker plans to open a dealership in Northern Virginia this year, according to Jim Chen, vice president of regulatory affairs and associate general counsel at Tesla.

The company recently reached an agreement with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association allowing it to open the dealership. Currently, Virginia law states that a car manufacturer cannot have a license for a dealership unless it can prove that no other dealer is available.

Chen says the company doesn’t have plans to pursue further legislation to open more dealerships in Virginia. “Would we like to? Certainly, we would love to, but the way the law is right now, we’ll see what we can do with that Northern Virginia store and then move on from there,” Chen says.

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