It was a bittersweet event for locals in the city of Soldotna, though.
Who can remember the days when Alaska was covered in abandoned school buses filled with survivalist hippies? Well, those times are over. EV giant Tesla has now officially opened its first-ever EV charging station in the remote state, and it promises to bring clean electric mobility to the people of Soldotna, a city in the Kenai Peninsula Borough. America has seen an explosion in its EV charging network over the past year, but Alaska has been left out of most of the action, until now. Tesla, which recently opened up its charging network to other brands, has started its expansion into the large state, and the locals are stoked.
The brand new charging station features four charging points for Tesla vehicles and joins the existing destination charger which charges EVs at a significantly slower rate. The station has technically been open since November last year, but the official opening only took place six months later due to the tragic death of a person closely tied to the development of the station.
Derek Leichliter was an electrical contractor who died in a plane crash weeks before the station was meant to go online. At the opening ceremony, a commemorative plaque was unveiled that reads: "This first-in-Alaska Tesla Supercharger station is dedicated to our dear friend and outdoor lover, Derek Leichliter of Legacy Electric, whose passion and support for electric vehicles will forever be part of his legacy."
Henry Krull owns the station, and believes that this is the first step to a cleaner Alaska. "I think it's particularly important in our state, which was built on oil and gas," Krull said. "And despite that, there is a transition going on here in Alaska, just like in the Lower 48, to renewable energy sources and cutting down greenhouse gas emissions, and there really is a trend towards electric cars now," he told Alaska's News Source. Krull, who owns the fifth Tesla ever in the state, says that there are over 800 Tesla vehicles in the state, and believes many more are to follow. Krull says Tesla chose the location for its convenient location close to food and drink locations.
EV batteries don't hold their charge quite as well in colder climates, which also affects how Tesla decides on charging locations, and Tesla states that Alaskan drivers will be able to save up to $2,000 a year in gas. This is great news for Tesla owners, especially Model S owners who are looking for a bit of snowy drifting action.
Join The Discussion