Ten electric car charging stations to open in Centralia

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Centralia -- The Hub City is about to become more tech savvy.

The city of Centralia has been working with Tesla, a designer and manufacturer of electric cars, to install 10 charging stations on Lum Road near the Centralia Outlets.

Centralia and Burlington represent the first two Washington cities Tesla chose to host supercharger stations, which in about 20 minutes of charging provide enough power for three hours of travel, according to the company. Tesla will also announce plans for future sites next week.

"One advantage Centralia has is we are halfway between Seattle and Portland," said M.L. Norton, the general manager for Centralia City Light. "We think that's a big reason we were chosen - very centrally located as the name Centralia implies."

Norton said with the addition of the charging stations, electric car drivers will stop to recharge, spending money shopping and eating in Centralia, which will lead to increased tax revenue for the area.

Tesla contacted the city earlier this year to propose the project. The company paid for a transformer and other upgrades needed to install the charging stations.

"We see Centralia as a really important location," said Patrick Jones, a spokesman for Tesla.

The company, Jones said, is working to install superchargers between tourist destinations and major cities, such as Seattle and Portland, to make driving its vehicles around the country more feasible and ease fears surrounding electric cars.

Tesla electric cars start at about $62,000 and can travel about 230 to 300 miles before needing to charge, depending on the battery, Jones said.

The company is installing superchargers, which provide 200 miles of range per half hour of charge, along major interstates throughout the country over the next year, Jones said.

The Centralia site boasts 10 superchargers, which will only charge Tesla Model S cars but are free for users.

Other public stations provide about 22 miles of range per hour of charge, compared to a 240-volt outlet, which yields about 31 miles of range per hour of charge, according to Tesla's website.

Another Tesla representative said the Centralia property owner could choose to put in additional charging stations for other models of electric cars in the future.

Norton said he expects work on the charging stations to be completed this week.

The stations will open Thursday, when Tesla holds a ribbon cutting at the Burlington site and announces the Centralia location, Norton said.

"I believe it will benefit our community," he said. "It leaves an impression of Centralia being on the cutting edge."