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When Laura Nagel travels from her Gainesville home northeast of Atlanta to visit her daughter in Savannah, she pulls into a parking lot behind Macon’s downtown Visitors Center to park for about 30 minutes. Sometimes she grabs a meal downtown, but that’s not why she stops here.
She uses one of eight Tesla charging stations to refresh her car’s batteries before continuing her trek east. The stations are available to anyone driving a Tesla and free to use.
“I’m delighted that these are here,” Nagel said. “But they are really off the beaten track.”
In the future, she may be pulling onto Tom Hill Sr. Boulevard off the I-75 exit to charge her car at one of 10 charging stations being installed between Panera Bread and Batteries Plus.
“I am so grateful that they are (downtown) and that you are getting more,” Nagel said. It took about 30 minutes to fully charge her car.
Another user, John Pastorek from Savannah, grabbed a cup of coffee from the Decadent Dessert Bar downtown while his car was charging. He was on the way to Atlanta to take his daughter to a swim meet.
“I make this trip about twice a year,” Pastorek said. “It’s a commuter car ... and I never go to a gas station. I could never go back to a gas (powered) car.”
Thursday afternoon, all the stations were full at the downtown location which were installed by Tesla in 2014 on a lot owned by the Macon-Bibb County Urban Development Authority. There are other Tesla charging stations in Middle Georgia but most are at hotels with just one station which are available only to guests.
While there are other electric car charging stations around the area, the electric plug at the Tesla stations only fits Tesla cars.
Alex Morrison, executive director of the authority, said the stations stay busy and not just by visitors.
“I think it’s fifty-fifty (percent) with people from the area and people who are just driving through,” Morrison said.
Unfortunately, the company would not say when the new charging stations in north Macon will be operational or even acknowledge their location.
“Exact timing and specific location of future Supercharging stations can vary, so we generally don’t discuss the details of these locations or comment until they’re open,” according to an email in reply to a media request to the company.