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Tesla opens new ‘Urban Supercharger station’ in Chicago suburb – but with full charge rate

Since launching its new ‘Urban Supercharger stations’ last year, Tesla has been slowly rolling out the latest addition to its Supercharger network.

Now, a new station with 20 stalls has come online in a Chicago suburb.

Originally, Tesla’s Supercharger network was meant to enable long-distance driving in its electric vehicles with daily charging expected to be done at home overnight.

But the new ‘urban’ stations are supposedly meant for urban areas where owners might not have easy access to overnight charging and therefore, they could use DC fast-charging, like Tesla’s regular Superchargers, albeit slower.

Tesla described the new stations when launching them last year:

“Superchargers in urban areas have a new post design that occupies less space and is easier to install, making them ideal for dense, highly populated areas. To increase efficiency and support a high volume of cars, these Superchargers have a new architecture that delivers a rapid 72 kilowatts of dedicated power to each car. This means charging speeds are unaffected by Tesla vehicles plugging into adjacent Superchargers, and results in consistent charging times around 45 to 50 minutes for most drivers.”

Now, the latest Urban Supercharger station to come online is in Skokie, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.

Zachary Pernikliyski stopped by this week and sent us a few pictures:

Interestingly, Tesla owners report that the station isn’t limited to 72 kW and that they can achieve a rate of 120 kW in the right conditions, like regular long-distance Superchargers.

Electrek’s Take

I really liked the idea of the Urban Superchargers when it was first announced. It made a lot of sense to me and it felt like a right step toward addressing the issue of EV owners living in apartments and condominiums where home charging can be difficult.

With this said, I’m not sure I understand the deployment.

After this station and another station in Laval, a suburb of Montreal, it looks like Tesla is deploying them in suburbs where residential charging is not as big of an issue as city centers.

To be fair, Tesla did mention that the stations will not only be installed in “downtown districts”, but also in “supermarkets and shopping centers.” The latter is the case for this particular station in Skokie.

But a possible explanation is that those new stations are actually not “urban” Superchargers even though they have the same design. Considering both stations can achieve Tesla’s regular 120 kW Supercharger charge rate, they might simply be regular Superchargers and Tesla is using the new pedestal design for them.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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