By Kevin Killough
The Harris Ranch Tesla Supercharger station is an impressive beast. With 98 charging bays, the facility in Coalinga, California, is the largest charging station in the world.
In 2017, Tesla CEO said that all Superchargers in the automaker’s network were being converted to solar.
“Over time, almost all will disconnect from the electricity grid,” Musk posted on X, formally known as Twitter.
Superchargers charge vehicles up to the 80% sweet spot in as little as 20 minutes, but to provide that kind of power for nearly 100 bays takes something solar can’t provide — diesel generators.
Investigative journalist Edward Niedermeyer discovered that the station was powered by diesel generators hidden behind a Shell station. Reporters at SF Gate tried to find out how much of the station’s electricity was from the generators, but couldn’t get a response from Tesla.
The station isn’t connected to any dedicated solar farms, which means that absent the diesel generators, the station is powered by California’s grid.
According to the U.S. Energy and Information Administration, in June 2023, natural gas supplied nearly 5,000 megawatt hours of electricity in California, whereas non-hydroelectric renewables supplied about 7,250 megawatt hours.
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Kevin Killough is state energy reporter for Cowboy State Daily, based in Cheyenne. He is responsible for covering wind, solar, coal, oil, gas, and nuclear. He also covers energy policy, energy economics, and climate change issues.
Previously, Kevin spent three years at the Powell Tribune, covering city government, health care and higher education. He also reported in the town of Tioga, North Dakota, where he covered the state’s oil boom from a small-town perspective. He has lived in Wyoming since the summer of 2017 and joined Cowboy State Daily in September 2022.
Kevin attended the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and completed his graduate studies at the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada.
To read more about EV charging infrastructure, click here.
To read about standards for charging stations, click here.