Tesla has applied to put six charging stations at the Stewart’s Shop on Woodstock Avenue.
According to city records, the charging stations required an amended zoning permit because they constitute a change to the business’ 2018 site plan. A hearing before the Development Review Board is scheduled for March 18.
The project’s engineer, listed as a contact on the zoning application, referred questions to a media email account for Tesla. The company did not respond to a message to the account Tuesday afternoon.
“I think Tesla’s the only automaker that’s really developed a network of fast-charging stations that’s available nationwide,” said David Roberts, coordinator for Drive Electric Vermont. “Tesla is sort of like the Apple of the electric-vehicle world. They have their own way of doing things and their own charging plugs. Someone who drives a Chevrolet Bolt — they can’t use the Tesla infrastructure.”
According to data compiled by Drive Electric Vermont, the state had 3,541 electric vehicles as of October.
“It’s been growing about 25% to 30% annually for the past several years,” he said. “We’re starting to see increased interest in the all-electric models. ... Plug-in hybrids, several years ago, represented maybe 80% of electric vehicles in the state. As we’ve seen longer-range all-electrics come out that are more affordable, that’s down to 60%.”
Teslas accounted for 439 of those — more than a quarter of the all-electrics. The organization’s data showed electric-car ownership concentrated around Burlington, Montpelier and Brattleboro, with Rutland County home to 188 electric vehicles.
Drive Electric Vermont also offers a map of charging stations, showing three “fast-charging” stations in the area — one at the West Street public parking lot, one at Alderman’s Chevrolet and one at Garvey Brothers Nissan in Clarendon — as well as collections of slower “level two” chargers at Formula Ford and Hampton Inn.
Roberts said he understood Tesla was also seeking to install stations in downtown Rutland and Fair Haven.
Meanwhile, Green Mountain Power this week announced an initiative seeking to add 20 fast-charging stations around the state, inviting businesses to apply for grants of up to $40,000 toward the installation. GMP spokeswoman Kristin Kelly said the stations, which charge an electric vehicle several times faster than a level-two charger, can cost in the neighborhood of $100,000 to install.
“They require a lot of infrastructure to do that,” she said. “That’s why this pilot is important. ... My understanding from the folks who designed the program for us is it will give preference to locations where there is not fast charging available in any way.”
With 17 such stations already in the state, the program is expected to more than double Vermont’s offerings.