Sioux City Tesla Charger

With rise in electric car ownership, Sioux City receives its first Tesla supercharger.


In Northwest Iowa, there were just two Teslas registered seven years ago. Both are located in Woodbury County.

According to Iowa Department of Transportation data, Woodbury County now has 20 registered Teslas, twice the amount from only two years ago, and all other counties in the region have at least a few. For example, Dickinson County has ten. There are seven in Plymouth County.

During the previous decade, Tesla, led by prominent tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, became the dominating force in the electric-vehicle sector. Electric cars from the firm are known for being comfortable, luxury, speedy, high-tech, and low-maintenance.

Late this month, a Tesla supercharging station debuted on Southern Hills Drive, next to Casey’s General Store at 4727 Southern Hills Dr. The station features eight superchargers, each with a power output of up to 250 kilowatts. Normally, a Tesla would be ready to travel after 15 or 20 minutes at one of these chargers, depending on how full or low the battery is.

Alternatively, these devices have the ability to charge at speeds of up to 1,000 miles per hour. (This isn’t the same as the speedometer; rather, it’s an estimate of how far an electric car might hypothetically drive if it had a suitably sized battery and was charged for an hour.) In the actual world, the speed at which an electric car charges varies, depending in part on how depleted the battery is.)

On a full charge, most Teslas have a range of between 250 and 400 miles, depending on the model.

Although other companies’ electric car chargers have operated in the region for years, the Southern Hills Drive station is the only Tesla supercharger in Northwest Iowa. Many of them are “Level 2” chargers, which charge the battery at a slower rate than “Level 1” chargers, which might take several hours. Nonetheless, Level 2 chargers are far quicker than wall plugs, which are the slowest method of charging an electric vehicle.

Other electric vehicles are incompatible with the equipment, therefore only Tesla cars may be charged at a Tesla station.

The Greenlots-brand charging station erected by MidAmerican Energy at the Kum & Go on Gordon Drive and the ChargePoint-brand station at the Hy-Vee in South Sioux City are both comparable DC fast chargers (another term for a supercharger) in the metro.

Unlike petrol stations, Tesla owners in Sioux City are unlikely to use the Tesla supercharger frequently unless they reside in an apartment complex with no access to a charging station. Normally, Tesla owners keep their cars charging overnight in their garages.

Out-of-town Tesla drivers in need of a rapid boost, such as those travelling to Omaha or Sioux Falls, would be more likely to utilize the charger.

Council Bluffs has two Tesla superchargers, as does the Des Moines metro region, with one in West Des Moines and one in Altoona. Despite having a significant number of Level 2 stations, Omaha has no Tesla superchargers.

“They don’t have any (Tesla superchargers) in Omaha, I’m not sure why. It’s weird — it’s weird,” said Dave Bernstein, one of Sioux City’s more-prominent Tesla owners, who drives a Model 3. He compared driving a Tesla to “driving a cellphone” and said it’s “by far the best car I’ve ever owned.” 

Frank Bulk, a resident of Sioux Center, has a Model 3 and a Model Y Tesla. He’s been driving a Tesla for two years.

Bulk said he wouldn’t have felt comfortable driving to Omaha without at least a three-quarter charge on his Tesla battery if there wasn’t a supercharger in Sioux City.

The new supercharger, he said, “gives me peace of mind.” 

“Now I don’t have to worry about it, even if I left my house with a quarter full, even an eighth full, I’d be able to get to Sioux City no problem, and then charge up easily enough, just in 15 minutes, enough for me to get to Omaha without any issues,” Bulk said. 

Todd Klindt of Ames, president of the Iowa Tesla Owners Club, said there was one spot in the state he wasn’t sure he’d be able to travel if he bought a Tesla in the years before he got one three years ago: the Sioux City region.

It wasn’t so much that there was no charging infrastructure in place at the time; rather, the current charging stations in Sioux City were so sluggish that they were almost useless.

“We’ve got a bunch of family in Sioux City. For about a year or two before I bought my car, every time my family would go anywhere, I would plot it out to see if I could make it with one of these fancy Teslas that I wanted so bad. And the only trip I could never make was to Sioux City and back,” said Klindt, who was born in Sioux City and raised in Sac City. 

Bulk and Bernstein both agreed that the 15 to 20 minute wait while the Tesla is supercharging, as opposed to a minute or two at a petrol station, isn’t as bad as it may appear at first.

“I kind of pull over, I take a break, sometimes I’ll get something to eat, if I get something to eat, it usually takes me more than 20 minutes,” Bernstein said. 

Dave Rowland, who owns a Tesla Model 3 and a Model S, used the Tesla charger in Sioux City twice in the first week of June, on a journey into Nebraska and returned to his house in the Okoboji region. He was ecstatic at the speed, which was around 800-plus miles per hour when it charged his automobile.

“It’s the fastest supercharger that we’ve used to date,” he said. 

Some Tesla customers (including Bernstein and Klindt) are eligible for free supercharging, which the business offers for promotional purposes. Even if you have to pay at the charging station, it’s still less expensive than gasoline — Bulk said he just spent $13 for nearly 200 miles of power in West Des Moines. Klindt estimates that charging his Tesla at home in Ames costs around $10 for 330 miles.

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