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Tesla offers to build 'supercharger' station in Montauk and foot the $500G installation bill

A Tesla "supercharging" station was placed outside Cafe

A Tesla "supercharging" station was placed outside Cafe Crust in Southampton in 2016.   Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

A pair of Tesla representatives on Tuesday pitched building a “supercharger” station on East Hampton Town-owned land in Montauk to ensure the electric car company’s customers have enough juice when visiting Long Island’s easternmost tip.

The automaker is proposing building a station at Kirk Park Beach that would be its first private-public partnership on Long Island. The company installed a supercharger, which has plugs to recharge six or more vehicles with a 150-mile driving range in about 30 minutes, outside Café Crust in Southampton in 2016. Tesla also has regular chargers, which take longer to replenish batteries, at various businesses across the Island.

That’s not enough to serve the East End population of second-home owners, day trippers and renters who might not have a charging station nearby, company representatives said at Tuesday’s meeting in Montauk.

“Our site in Southampton is congested during the summer months,” William Watts, the company’s market lead for charging infrastructure, said during the East Hampton Town Board work session.

Installation would cost Tesla about $500,000, Watts said, adding that the town would incur no cost for construction or electricity. Tesla would also install a transformer and foot the electric bill, he said.

“We don’t generate a profit on this,” Watts said.

Building a supercharging station at the town-owned lot raised questions from the public and the town board over whether it constituted the corporatization of public land or whether it would take up valuable beach parking spots.

“I’d be very hesitant to lose more beach parking,” said Councilman David Lys.

Others expressed concerns about whether the company’s branding would be too large and about the potential brightness of the lighting outside the station.

Watts said that while private businesses benefit from installing the charging stations because they are then associated with the brand’s mystique, it would also be a boon for the town because it could spur business in downtown Montauk.

Tesla chargers won’t work with other electric vehicles, but Watts said the company is amenable to installing charging ports at the site that could be used by other brands.

He declined to disclose how many Teslas are on the road in New York, but noted that 50 percent of electric vehicles on the road are Teslas.

The company, based in Palo Alto, California, offers four models ranging from $35,000 for its Model 3 to more than $200,000 for its latest Roadster.

Town officials said they would consider the proposal.

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