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New Tesla charging station opens at Destiny USA, but officials say more are needed

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Tesla has installed the largest supercharging station of its kind in Onondaga County, which means Tesla owners will be able to charge their car batteries while stopping at Destiny USA in Syracuse.

Jeff Knauss of Skaneateles has owned Teslas for five years now. For him, having the option to reliably and quickly top off the car’s battery in Syracuse is a lifesaver.

“Because most chargers are out there are trickle chargers,” Knauss said. “There’s many chargers that take 14 hours to get a full charge. The Destiny USA superchargers, if I’m completely out, it might take 45 minutes to an hour to fully charge my vehicle. And most times you don’t need a full charge to get home, and you can charge at home."

This newest charging station at the edge of the mall parking lot joins over 400 public electric vehicle charging stations already in Onondaga County, according to Visit Syracuse, the area’s tourism agency. CEO Danny Liedke says these new Tesla stations are positioned perfectly for anyone who needs a charge and is traveling on the New York State Thruway, or Interstate 81.

“This is right in the center of the map. You know how much traffic is on the Thruway and 81,” said Liedke. “This will be a major stopping point for people who drive Teslas.”

But he admits with the increase in electric car ownership, more chargers need to be installed in central New York.

"We’ve got a long way to go,” he said. “Fortunately the state of New York and National Grid have substantial grant programs out there to build more stations. I know the county applied for a large grant to add more charging stations in this county, but we’re definitely behind."

In the meantime, owning an electric vehicle like a Tesla requires an electric car mentality, according to Knauss. Something he’s gotten used to.

“It’s easy enough to charge at night, and if you’re going somewhere, you know, you need to leave with enough time to stop in Victor if you’re going to Buffalo,” he said. “And it’s easier than you think, once you get used to that."

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.