Supercharger Expansion
in St. George, Utah

July 2, 2017

Mark D Larsen

So Let There Be Light
(Click to enlarge)

Nearly three years ago, I uploaded a post that chronicled the installation of Tesla superchargers in St. George. Since then, numerous Model S and X owners have stopped here to use those chargers, and I have often stopped to chat with them and learn where they’re from and where they’re headed. On two occasions, I even happened to see all four superchargers occupied. Since St. George is a gateway to visit our famous national parks, I’m sure that an increasing number of Teslas will be driving on our roads, despite the fact that Utah is one of the few states that prohibit direct sales at their store in Salt Lake City.

Indeed, with the advent of the Model 3 entering the market this year, Tesla announced that they were going to double the number of superchargers nationwide to help alleviate the pending increase in demand. I took a look at Tesla’s Find Us page, and was pleased to see that, in addition to the red “pin” for the existing superchargers in St. George, there was a new black one. However, it didn’t specify a location, as you can see in the following screenshot.

Almost two weeks ago, I received a text message from a member of our EV owners group who lives just a couple of blocks away from the superchargers. He told me that he had seen a construction crew working at the site, and wondered if they were installing additional superchargers. Evidently Tesla was not going to put a “new” site in St. George, after all, but simply expand the existing one. I immediately hopped in my LEAF to drive by there and check out what was going on. Sure enough, a crew of construction workers from Volition, Inc., was there, and had already made significant progress on the expansion. Below is an annotated series of photos of their progress during the week it took them to complete the project:

Click to enlarge any photo:

Wednesday, June 21 (summer solstice!)

When I arrived on site, I immediately noticed that Volition had already set up four portable superchargers on pallets around the corner in the parking lot to accommodate travelers during the construction. One worker told me that a woman in a Tesla Model X had come by and chewed them out at the top of her lungs before noticing that there were, in fact, temporary superchargers there for her to use.

Wednesday, June 21 (summer solstice!)

They had also dug a long trench from the charging cabinets along the back edge of the lot, and installed large conduit to spots braced with oval molds to lay concrete foundations for 8 brand new superchargers II. These units would thus be positioned to the sides of the vehicles, instead of behind them like the original 4 superchargers, still visible sitting behind the curbing.

Thursday, June 22

The next day they braced the area in front of the original charging cabinets to lay a concrete foundation for two more. I was intrigued to watch how they fed straps through the conduits so they could later pull the electrical cables. They were using a leaf blower to blow a round piece of foam, with a strap attached, to the other end of each conduit, where they would tie off the strap. Clever!

Friday, June 23

By the time I arrived in the afternoon, the workers had already poured the cement for the supercharger pedestals, and removed the braces and molds for the concrete to dry.

Friday, June 23

They were now troweling the concrete floor for the new charging cabinets, and had set large metal poles to strengthen and protect what would be new corners of the entire enclosure.

Saturday, June 24

The next day, I was sad to see the cadavers of the original metal superchargers, still attached to their concrete columns, that they had extracted with heavy equipment from behind the curbing.

Saturday, June 24

The crew had already mounted the new supercharger skeletons to the pedestals, with their plastic skins waiting to be installed.

Saturday, June 24

You can see that one half of the skins had been mounted, and the workers were now fitting the top pieces onto the skeletons.

Sunday, June 25

The crew took a break on Sunday, but I could see that they had finished installing the new charging cabinets the evening before.

Tuesday, June 27

Volition had subcontracted with electricians to connect the wiring on Tuesday, and when I stopped by they had already pulled all the cables to the superchargers. The trench between the units now had fresh asphalt in them.

Tuesday, June 27

I was amazed to see how complicated all the wiring is in the superchargers. I had no idea that this number of internal cables were needed to feed one thick external cable with the Tesla plug on the end.

Tuesday, June 27

I was even more amazed to see the huge pile of cables that they had to connect to the charging cabinets. How the electricians could keep all those cables straight is beyond me.

Wednesday, June 28

By the next day, the asphalt had been sealed and the parking lines painted. The workers told me that the Tesla inspector had already come and commissioned the site.

Wednesday, June 28

There was one unit that needed some final adjustments, but the new superchargers were all working! As you can see in the photo at the top of the page, they light up at night.

Saturday, July 1

The finishing touch was to build matching cinder block walls for the extended enclosure. You can see here that one corner was halfway done the last time I was there.

I have to commend Volition for the outstanding job they did in upgrading this site with spanking new superchargers —and in record time. It took nearly a month to install the original superchargers, yet this project was completed in just a little more than a week. Can’t beat that! Tesla’s “Find Us” map has since been updated to reflect the change that there are now 8 superchargers awaiting Tesla owners when traveling through southern Utah. Now that I think about it, before too long I’ll likely even spot a Model 3 feeding from one of the troughs.

One final note: if you look at the third photo up above, you’ll see behind the Tesla cabinet enclosure a sign for the Megaplex movie theaters in this same shopping center. As the sign states, the owner of those theaters is Larry H. Miller, who is one of the mega-autodealers lobbying our lawmakers to block Tesla sales in Utah. The irony couldn’t be thicker! In case any Tesla fans would like to share your reactions with Miller, his twitter handle is: @LHM.