Tesla Model S in Sierraland

TeslaModelSTruckeePUDChargeStation 1 CC Size

This past week a stranger came to my small mountain town.

On my refuse collection rounds I spotted something interesting at the Truckee PUD free public charger. A Model S Tesla was parked and recharging its batteries.   My First impression was that the S is a sharp looking car, even in a ho-hum color such as silver.

TeslaModelSTruckeePUDChargeStation 2 CC Size

Later that day upon reflection I realized was the 1st time in my four years working in Truckee that I have seen this charger being used by any EV.  The Sierra Nevada Mountains act as a large barrier, with scarce charging infrastructure once you start the 7000ft climb east from Sacramento.  Given the real world range limitations of lesser EVs they can’t bridge the infrastructure gap of 50 miles and 4800ft of elevation gain from Colfax to Truckee in ideal weather. In winter when daytime highs are typically in the 20s to 30s fuggedaboutit.

ModelS I80 Boomtown CC Size

The Model S heralds a new era  in that it’s the first EV you could conceivably take on a trip out of town.   EVs are slowly starting to grow beyond their blue state urban commuter niche.

[ED: here’s a related NYT story on the very substantial challenges of taking a Tesla on a longer trip in the winter]