The station is the most northerly facility along Interstate 95 for the all-electric vehicle maker.
Tesla – maker of upscale, all-electric cars – opened a supercharging station in the Martketplace at Augusta mall Monday, its most northerly terminus on its network of charging stations dotted along the Interstate 95 corridor.
“The Augusta Supercharger allows Model S owners to have free seamless travel into upstate Maine, New England, eastern Canada, and routes leading cross country,” said Tesla spokeswoman Sonja Koch, via email.
The supercharging stations add up to 170 miles of range on Model S in 30 minutes of charging. Superchargers are designed for city-to-city travel, allowing Tesla Model S drivers to travel for about three hours, take a quick break and get back on the road, said Koch. They are located near amenities like roadside diners, cafes and shopping centers, where travelers can stop for a quick meal and have their Model S charged by the time they’re done. The facility in Augusta has eight separate charging stations, allowing eight drivers to charge up simultaneously.
A spokeswoman for the mall owner, W/S Development, said the company is happy to have the station located on its property since it will give Tesla owners a gateway to visit its property as a stopping point to attractions in Maine. Tesla has more than 500 supercharger stations worldwide with over 3,000 individual superchargers.
The supercharging station was met with some curiosity by city officials who saw its installation a few weeks ago. There are only 32 Tesla owners in the entire state of Maine.
“There are no Tesla owners in Augusta,” said Keith Luke, deputy director of development for the city. “But it’s still a big deal. It shows Augusta as a central location for tourism and (reflects) our ability to provide high-tech services that businesses and consumers of the future are looking for.”
Mainers have been slow to adopt electric-powered vehicles. Nearly a quarter of the new cars purchased this year in Maine were small sport utility vehicles, according to the Dominion Cross-Sell Report, which tracks sales and registration data. When pickup trucks and SUVs are added together, they account for nearly 60 percent of new vehicle sales this year in Maine.
Battery-electric cars and plug-in vehicles that also have small gasoline engines account for less than 1 percent of the 46,011 new cars registered in Maine as of Sept. 30.
A Tesla S sells for between $70,000 and $120,000, according to Adam Lee, an environmentalist and chairman of Lee Auto Malls, who drives a Tesla Model SP85D.