Photo: Todd James

Tesla is looking to expand its network of Supercharging stations in the Westside and company officials are eying Santa Monica as the potential site of a new 62-stall Supercharger station.

Tesla officials have applied for a Conditional Use Permit that would allow the operation of a 24-hour, self-service electric vehicle recharging facility complete with solar canopies, restrooms and support equipment split between two project sites on either side of an alley near 14th Court.

The proposed Recharging Facility would be located at 1401 Santa Monica Boulevard and 1421-1425 Santa Monica Boulevard. The 1401 location, which is currently developed with a small office building that was most recently operated as an auto dealership but is now used for seasonal events, would house 36 vehicle charging stalls, restrooms, and solar canopies while it serves as the facility’s western lot. The site’s eastern lot would house the remaining 26 vehicle charging stalls on a standard surface parking lot.

If approved by city leaders, the lots will couple to become Tesla’s second Supercharging station in Santa Monica, as there are currently 10 Level 3 chargers at the roof of the Santa Monica Place Mall parking structure.

Officials touted the Level 3 chargers’ ability to charge a Tesla vehicle in 30 to 45 minutes, which they feel would be a great benefit to the drivers who live and work nearby as well as the roughly 950 Tesla owners in Santa Monica, especially those who live multi-unit dwellings and do not have access to an electric vehicle charging station at their residence.

“Based on other similar facilities in urban locations operated by Tesla, the applicant anticipates approximately 100 vehicle charge sessions per day over a period of 16 hours, with the highest usage on weekend days,” the Planning Commission report reads. The busiest times will likely utilize 30% of the chargers, and therefore no vehicle stacking is anticipated unless there is full utilization of all 62 chargers during major travel holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving.

The City’s Planning Commission is expected to discuss the project in further detail at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Since the proposed recharging facility is an exclusively auto-oriented use proposed along a stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard where auto sales and auto related facilities are encouraged, staff believes that with the proposed conditions to address the surrounding uses and pedestrian experience, the project meets all required findings and as such the Planning Commission should approve the proposed project, the commission’s report concludes.

If approved in the future, the project will be developed in three phases.

“Upon issuance of the subject entitlements, Tesla will operate a temporary charging facility on the western lot while undertaking the remainder of the permitting process for the permanent facility,” the report states said. “Upon issuance of building permits, the eastern lot will begin construction… once the eastern lot is developed and operating the western lot will begin construction. The western lot’s temporary facility will consist of a truck mounted recharging facility capable of charging eight cars at a time by using a large ‘mega charger’ battery.”

Planning Commission will hold an online meeting on Wednesday, March 3 at 5:30 p.m. to discuss the project.

For more information, visit https://www.smgov.net/departments/pcd/agendas/Planning-Commission/2021/20210303/a20210303.htm

brennon@smdp.com