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As Tesla unplugs from Chinook Centre, driver questions removal of EV chargers

The Tesla electric car showroom in Calgary’s Chinook Mall has been shuttered, and gone with it are the mall’s electric vehicle charging stations.

John Serafini, a Tesla Model S owner, says that’s going to have a big impact on the amount of shopping he does at Chinook Centre.

He got his car on Dec. 31, and as a Tesla owner received an email update about the closure of the Chinook showroom.

“I’ve been in this area of the city of a long time. I’ve always seen it as a community hub – somewhere where I’d go to run errands.”

He said now that the chargers are gone, he will definitely be shopping elsewhere for the most part.

He’s surprised to see the mall going to the trouble of removing the devices from the parkade, now that they’re installed.

“You would think, if they’re looking at the advent of a lot of electric vehicles on the market, they’d want to be able to promote having electric vehicles be able to charge in more locations,” he said.

LiveWire reached out to both Tesla and Cadillac Fairview, the management company that runs Chinook Centre. Neither company responded to media requests by deadline.

Serafini owns his own electric car, but he also works for a company that transports people in electric cars.

He serves as business development lead and a professional driver for InOrbis Intercity Rideshare. The Calgary-based company takes passengers to and from Edmonton, Red Deer, Banff and Lethbridge in Tesla’s three vehicle types.

He said the vehicles are popular with customers on long trips because they have wi-fi and device charging.

More and more businesses and shopping centres are installing electric vehicle chargers. Serafini said he recently recharged his car at CrossIron Mills shopping center.

Calgary Parking authority as also been adding EV chargers to many of its parkades.

Overall, Serafini believes that electric vehicles will be more widely adopted as they become more affordable.

“It’s oil and gas country and people are generally grateful for the opportunities that have been there that oil and gas has helped bring,” he said. “It’s so exciting to see in addition to that, people buying electric vehicles. There’s a kind of synergy.”