Mojave Superchargers Go Live: East Side Now Wired for Tesla—Still No Fast Chargers for Consumer EVs on the East Side

By Paul Gipe

Users of the Tesla Motors electronic forum announced that the Tesla Supercharger station went live in the Mojave desert crossroads on 27 March 2015. The station includes six charging stalls for the high-end electric vehicle (EV) in the Stater Bros parking lot off of the new Hwy.14 entrance to the town of Mojave.

Planning documents indicate that Tesla planned to install a 500 kW transformer to power the chargers. The planning document also says that Tesla will install a “200 kW stationary storage unit.” What this means in practice is unclear. Battery storage is given in kWh not kW.

The supercharger station in Mojave follows the installation of a sister installation in Lone Pine on Hwy. 395 east of Mount Whitney. With the supercharger station in Truckee, Tesla drivers in Silicon Valley can now cross the Sierra Nevada and drive south on the east side of the Sierra all the way to Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, there are no DC Fast Chargers in Mojave, or anywhere on the east side of the Sierra for drivers of consumer-oriented EVs, such as the Nissan Leaf. The nearest fast charger to Mojave is in Bakersfield or Palmdale. Bakersfield is beyond the reach of consumer-oriented EVs in Mojave.

There are no DC fast chargers on the entire length of Hwy. 58 from Paso Robles to Barstow. Hwy. 58 is a major east-west route that crosses the coast range and the Tehachapi Mountains before passing through Mojave.

Drivers of consumer-oriented EVs must resort to lengthy charging at Level 2 stations–where they exist—or even lengthier charging at improvised charging stations at Recreational Vehicle Parks and campgrounds.

Unlike California, drivers of consumer-oriented EVs in Washington State and Oregon can depend on a dense network of fast charging stations on both north-south and east-west routes. Outside of Tesla’s proprietary network, California remains woefully behind its EV friendly neighbors to the north.