Tesla to Expand Charging Stations in Baileyville Area

By Lura Jackson

 

Electric and renewable energy giant Tesla has made the decision to open a charging station at the Big Stop Irving in Baileyville as part of its rapidly spreading network of locations across the state. While details on the upcoming charging station and its extent cannot yet be confirmed, Tesla’s website additionally provides that it is intending to build a “supercharger” station in Baring in the near future. At present, there are three superchargers in Maine – one in Freeport, one in Augusta, and one in Brewer – while the potential Baring project is one of a total of five now in development.

Supercharger stations are high capacity chargers that enable electric or hybrid vehicles to be rapidly charged while they are on the road. The number of electric vehicles in Washington County and those driven by tourists is steadily increasing, and commercial electric vehicles are now entering the scene.

Shipping is a primary driver in pushing the commercial focus onto renewable energy. Last November, Walmart announced it was preordering 15 electric tractor-trailer trucks from Tesla in a move that will reduce shipping prices by 17 percent compared to diesel trucks. The electric trucks have a 500-mile range between charges when carrying 80,000 pounds, and they will have the ability to accelerate to 60 mph in 20 seconds at full load. Elon Musk, co-founder of Tesla, has released that the trucks will be able to attain a 400-mile charge within half an hour when using the newest chargers.

Aside from commercial interests, individuals are also making the move into electric cars. Most Tesla owners currently make around $100,000 a year, but as Downeast Economic Development Director Julie Jordan notes, the company is actively working on expanding their market share. “Tesla is working to expand its market share by focusing on attracting younger buyers that are eco-friendly, tech-savvy and looking at entry level luxury vehicles,” Jordan said.  “Clearly, executives believe that Tesla owners will be traveling through our area… We hope that some of these young, hip and upwardly mobile travelers will stop and stay awhile and not just pass through. We have lots to offer in the way of eco-friendly adventures and would love to show them around!”

The supercharger network began construction in 2012; there are now 1,045 supercharger stations located around the world. While Tesla and other electric vehicles can be charged from the home or from participating destinations such as the Big Stop (of which there are now 51 in Maine), the supercharger stations offer the fastest way to get back on the road.

At this point, Tesla has contracted Dewberry Engineers of Boston to design the charging station at the Big Stop in Baileyville. No timeframe is available yet on when it will be completed.