First Tesla charging station on the Western Edge debuted

The first, and only, supercharging station for Teslas, in North Dakota is located in Dickinson outside of Prairie Hills Mall. (Matthew Curry)

After years of hard work, negotiations, testing and patience, Dickinson made history on Saturday afternoon outside of Prairie Hills Mall by becoming one of the first locations in North Dakota to have superchargers for Tesla vehicles.

Prairie Hills Mall General Manager Peggy O’Brien and Tesla car owner, Brian Kopp, officially unveiled and cut the ribbon of the supercharger location in the Prairie Hills Mall parking lot at 1701 3rd Ave W St., becoming one of the few locations in North Dakota to feature the charging location.

“It’s super exciting,” O’Brien said. “It has been almost four years since I rode in Brian’s car, and was totally impressed with the car … And as he gave me more information (about superchargers) I thought, ‘well, why can’t we have that in Dickinson?’ … And the wheels just started turning and here we are today.”

While the accomplishment took nearly four years to complete, the goal in mind set by both O’Brien and Kopp made it worth it in the end.

“Getting people to Dickinson, that was our goal, ultimately to Prairie Hills Mall, but to also experience Southwest North Dakota as well,” O’Brien said. “We had to make a lot of changes. We had to accommodate additional space for Tesla, we had to change some of our landscape, some of our parking lot layout and then go through the permitting process … just all the little things that need to be done or oftentimes overlooked. Nothing was insurmountable, but some things were challenging.”


However, as much hard work and preparation came into developing the project, for Kopp, the location could not have been better for the Tesla supercharging location.

“This was without a doubt the best location in Dickinson,” Kopp said. “When you look at the layout in Dickinson, it is literally where the superchargers are, there is the most stuff in Dickinson.”

“It’s a big day for electric cars in general, to be able to essentially move into the future, with the most modern available technology right here,” Kopp added. “People (say) ‘oh, it’s just a small town,’ or, ‘it’s North Dakota,’ and here we are leading literally the quickest charging in the world, on a Model 3, can happen in Dickinson, North Dakota.”

On average, it may take Tesla chargers hours to charge their vehicle at their home to the proper battery to continue travel. However, with the supercharging location, charges could potentially only take 15-30 minutes.

Kopp dispelled the notion that electric vehicles aren’t good to drive in North Dakota due to the cold climate.

“Electric cars are actually great in North Dakota,” Kopp said. “It’s a misconception that they don’t work in the cold, but I’ve never had my car not start, so that’s kind of a perk. It can be 33-below, but I go hop in and I get where I’m going.”

For O’Brien, while very proud of having successful negotiations leading to the superchargers being outside of Prairie Hills Mall, her father’s history made it even more significant.

“For me it was deeply personal,” O’Brien said. “I grew up in a car dealer family … My whole life I’ve been around cars and growing up in cars. If my dad was here, he would be absolutely blown away by all of this, so not only was it worth having it at Prairie Hills Mall, but it was also very personal.”


Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article featured incorrect information concerning the number of chargers in the state. The article has been updated to reflect information received to reflect information received after publication.

Prarie Hills Mall General Manager Peggy O'Brien and Tesla owner, dealer, and partner on project, Brian Kopp. (Matthew Curry/The Dickinson Press)

Matthew Curry is a sports reporter and photographer for the West Central Tribune.
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