I was extremely disappointed to find out that I had missed the opening of a Tesla Motors Supercharger station in Normal Illinois. Unfortunately chairman of the Bloomington-Normal EV Task Force Joe Mikulecky forgot all about me. Since I featured his A123 Hymotion Toyota Prius last year – I figured he might be kind enough to give me a heads up on the ribbon cutting ceremony.
The morning I found out there was a Tesla Motors Supercharger station just an hour away from my home – I booked an Amtrak round trip e-ticket to Normal. That day trip took place last Saturday. If I had known the 2013 Sweet Corn Blues Festival was taking place that day – I might have called off my trip. But that event did not hinder my electric car charger hunt.
I ride Amtrak through Normal often. The last time I explored electric cars in Normal was for the EVening of EVs event held on Thursday January 26th 2012.
I ended up spending more time on Amtrak Lincoln Service than I did in Normal. It was an hour each way in business class. I only had about an hour and half to seek out the Tesla Supercharger station once I arrived at the Uptown Station Multi Modal Transportation Center.
It was easy enough to find the Eaton Level 2 Charging Stations on Level 2 of the Uptown Station Parking Deck. There are five electric car charging stations located there. The Tesla Motors website mentions these chargers. But it completely leaves out that there is an Eaton EV Quick Charger also on Level 2. Actually it’s located on the transition from Level 1 to 2 right by the Uptown Station elevator entrance door.
The Eaton EV Quick Charger is a Level 3 charging station. It is a CHAdeMO quick-charger. Is does for other electric cars what the Tesla proprietary DC rapid-charging station does for their Model S. Tesla might argue that their station does a more efficient faster charge compared to CHAdeMO. I’d assume if Telsa felt CHAdeMO could get the job done the way they wanted it – they wouldn’t have designed their own charging system.
After finding the Eaton chargers it was time to hunt down the Tesla Motors Supercharger station. I hadn’t done any research as to their location. My thought was they would most likely be on the top level of the parking garage. Since all the Tesla Motors Supercharger stations I’d seen up to that point had solar panels helping to supply power.
Signage inside the Multi Modal Transportation Center Uptown Station is great as long as your aren’t trying to find the electric car charging stations. Granted there is a staffed information area in the middle of the station that can offer guidance.
When I arrived at Level 5 of the parking garage I saw nothing Tesla Motors related. Being on a tight time schedule I panicked slightly. But everything I had read stated the Tesla Model S chargers were there. And that they were located inside the Uptown Station Parking Deck. So in the very hot heat I started walking down the stairs to Level 3.
At Level 3 I found what I was searching for. The Tesla Motors Supercharger station is actually located between Level 3 & 4.
Unfortunately there were no Tesla Model S’s charging that day. I still haven’t seen a Model S in person.
The Tesla Motors Supercharger station is being used by Model S owners. I’ve included links to several discussions on the Normal Illinois location being used.
From my reading I think there was some concern from the city council about these chargers being proprietary to Tesla Model S owners and future Tesla vehicles. The concern was that the chargers would only see limited use and wouldn’t benefit all EV owners. Normal Illinois is a big Mitsubishi i-MiEV supporter. Since the town has a Mitsubishi factory – the company has provided the city with several i-MiEV’s ( simply known as i here in the United States ).
It’s interesting how different two communities just an hour away from each other can be. Springfield IL – the State Capitol isn’t as electric car friendly or open to alternative clean energy as Normal. Granted I have recorded a lot of electric cars here in Springfield. The mindset of the majority of citizens is different from what I’ve seen in Bloomington-Normal and Champaign-Urbana. Unfortunately very few communities are forward thinking in regards to electric cars ( EV’s ) and clean energy.
I’m sure I am most likely the only person to hop on an Amtrak train to go track down electric car charging stations. I am definitely the local EV stalker. It aggravates me that I’m still not an electric car owner. I did a day trip on Amtrak to the original Chicago Tesla Motors store when they did an open house in 2010.
Yes I felt bad for the guy in the old gas guzzler with the really bad brakes. Someone should go buy him an EV!!
The driver of the truck – seen towards the end of the video – went out of their way to avoid the camera.
At marker 4:03 you can see a Mitsubishi i-MiEV. This car actually passed me when I was recording the Eaton Level 2 Charging Stations. I was surprised he didn’t stop to hook up to one of them. You’d figure parking and charging would help keep the batteries topped off.
Supposedly if you are an electric car owner and go to the information booth inside Uptown Station – you can get your parking garage ticket validated – so you pay no fee for parking. The first hour is free for everyone – gas or EV.
This Tesla Motors Supercharger station in Normal Illinois is located just slightly off Interstate 55 ( I-55 in Illinois ). It is close to the halfway point between Chicago to St Louis. Making it a good location for a 30 to 40 minute break and battery recharge.
Disclaimer – I am a very minor Tesla Motors stock owner. Unfortunately I didn’t have near the amount of money I wanted to invest in this company. But I do own a few shares.
The Normal Illinois Amtrak station inside Uptown Station – has to be one of the nicest I have ever visited. Chicago Union Station and others should take notice and follow this example.
Revenge of the Electric Car Executive Producer Stefano Durdic’s Tesla Roadster charging inside Marriott hotel parking garage Normal IL
Eaton video taken before I had a proper video camcorder.
Several of the older videos are before I had my video recorder. This is another one of those. Video was shot from the Marriott directly next door to the Uptown Station Multi Modal Transportation Center parking garage.
“We had a call this morning with a Tesla Marketing Representative regarding the Tesla Supercharger Ribbon Cutting”
Would have been nice to have received a call. Since my number is known to them and I am a minor stockholder just down the road.
EVTown represents a broad-based effort to establish Bloomington-Normal, Illinois as a model electric vehicle community
“In 2012, Tesla Motors began building a network of 480-volt fast charging Supercharger stations in order to facilitate the Model S sedans to make long distance trips.”
CHAdeMO is the trade name of a quick charging method for battery electric vehicles
“Eaton Corporation has demonstrated a CHAdeMO-compatible DC Quick Charger recharging Mitsubishi iMiEV cars.”