Back in September 2019, Elon Musk made an obtuse tweet noting the similarity between the flags of Romania and Chad, before announcing that Tesla would be expanding into Romania. Nearly two years later, Tesla is starting to expand its Supercharger network into Romania. Social media posts, and news articles, over the last week show construction activity at the Continental Hotel in Timisoara, and at a shopping mall in Bucharest.
At the time, I noted that Tesla’s presence in Europe had a curious east-west divide, where Western Europe had excellent Tesla presence, and Eastern Europe had almost none.
Today, there is now Tesla Supercharger presence in Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, Hungary, Slovakia, and Bulgaria, with stations being built in Romania. The locations in Ukraine do not have estimated construction dates.
The Romanian locations marked on this map are Timisoara, Sibiu, Pitesti, and Bucharest. Timisoara is a major city in Eastern Romania, in a region known as The Banat. Sibiu is a major tourist attraction, due to being a well preserved medieval city. Pitesti is a smaller city where the main attraction is probably it’s location along a route from Sibiu. Bucharest is of course the capitol city of Romania.
The website promotor.ro has a good summary of the plans.
The first site, in Timisoara, will have only six charging stalls. However, a YouTube video with commentary in Romanian says these stations will support 250 kW charging. The Continental Hotel is near the old town of Timisoara.
In Sibiu, the location is also towards the center of town, near Parcul Petőfi Sandor. In Pitesti, the location is also towards the center of town, near Parcul Expo.
In Bucharest, the location is described as being near the intersection of Strada Moeciu & Șoseaua Pipera roads next to a monument to Red Army Soldiers. However, the social media posts show the Bucharest location as being in a parking garage attached to a shopping mall, and there is no mall near the described location. There is a major mall, the Promenada Mall, near the intersection of Șoseaua Pipera and Strada Barbu Vacarescu. The Promenada is a very likely place, since it is on the rich north side of Bucharest, and within a short walk are several tall buildings containing high tech companies. Another clue is that a twitter posting, shown below, shows an address on Calea Floreasca, a road which borders the Promenada Mall.
Also nearby is the Muzeul Național al Aviației Române, a museum dedicated to the history of Romania’s contribution to Aviation. A little known fact is that a Romanian inventor, Henri Coanda, developed the first jet engine for an airplane, and a little better known is that Romania used to have a significant aviation industry. The museum goes over all that and more, and is well worth a visit.
But let’s not get distracted, and return to the story.
That the initial locations are located at prominent locations in city centers is important. In the USA, the Supercharger network initially focused on locations along highways to support taking road trips. It wasn’t until later that Tesla began building Supercharger locations in city centers. But for Romania, the initial locations are inside the cities, rather than on inter-city highways. This may be due to the conditions in Romania, where there are very few 4-lane or more intercity highways.
On mobilissimo.ro, it is claimed that Tesla will soon open a showroom in Romania, and has already opened a headquarters location in Sector 4 of Bucharest.
On YouTube, another video goes into the construction site at the Promenada Mall, discussing Tesla’s expansion into Eastern Europe. The video even shows that Superchargers are shipped in cardboard boxes, like is shown below.
As significant as it is that Tesla is expanding into Eastern Europe, let me reiterate that Tesla has been very slow to do so. As I noted back in September 2019, non-Tesla charging networks supporting fast charging were already, at that time, widespread in Eastern Europe. In October 2018, the first fast charging stations in Romania were installed at a Kaufland location on Strada Barbu Vacarescu (a short distance from the Promenada Mall mentioned earlier).
A look on PlugShare today for ComboCharging System stations shows this:
Eastern Europe is crawling with CCS stations. There’s even one in Crimea, and one in Kramatorsk which is in the middle of the disputed area of The Donbass in Eastern Ukraine.
Tesla is way behind the curve on this.
What follows are various social media postings showing the status in Romania. At the bottom is the aforementioned video showing the location at Promenada Mall.
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