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Mountain News: Tesla installs charging stations



SILVERTHORNE, Colo. – Driving a Tesla electric car just got much easier in the I-70 corridor of Colorado. Tesla is installing eight fast-charging stations at the Outlets at Silverthorne, located 113 kilometres from downtown Denver.

From Silverthorne, it's another 48 kilometres to Vail, 145 kilometres to Steamboat Springs, and 161+ kilometres to Aspen, depending upon the season.

In 30 minutes, the charging stations can deliver electricity sufficient for 322 kilometres of driving.

"Just like in California, where Tesla began in the major metro areas and then provided charging stations at incremental locations while expanding outwards, a Silverthorne charging station will get Denver metro residents to Steamboat, Vail Valley and the Aspen area and back," explains Kevin Batchelder, town manager of Silverthorne.

In May, Tesla announced plans for a network of 200 fast-charging stations that will connect most of the major population centers in the United States and Canada, providing free electricity at the dispensers.

"The expansion of the network will mean that Model S drivers can take the ultimate road trip — whether that's L.A. to New York, Vancouver to San Diego, or Montreal to Miami — without spending a cent on fuel," said Tesla in its May announcement.

Only Tesla Model S cars can be charged. They run about $70,000 but have a much bigger battery pack than other electric cars. A Nissan Leaf, for example, has a theoretical battery range of 125 kilometres. Because of the limited range, the standard advice in mountain towns is that it's best to buy a hybrid, with an electric component and a gasoline engine.

But why should this be good news for other electric car owners? A correspondent in Oregon for KATU asked that question of Phil Barnhart, a state representative from Eugene.

"The first cellphone was a brick," he answered. "It weighed like a brick. It cost $10,000. If somebody didn't buy the thing, we wouldn't have this," he said, pulling his iPhone out of his pocket. "You've got to have early adopters."

In Silverthorne, the town government lined up Tesla with the Canada-based owners of the factory-outlet complex. Tesla doesn't demand prime real estate, but it does require use of four or five parking spaces plus 200 to 600 square feet for the charging equipment.

Dog and bear tangle

WHITEFISH, Mont. — The Whitefish Pilot managed a trifecta in its headline: "Dog survives bear attack on Lion Mountain." And none of it was a stretch.

A nine-year-old weimaraner named Daisy raced around the house that is located on Lion Mountain, located about three kilometres from Whitefish, to confront an invader, a sow bear. Protecting its two cubs that had climbed a tree, the sow swiped into Daisy twice with great success.

Daisy's human companions rushed the dog to a veterinarian, who managed to save the dog's life, but just barely. They tell the Pilot that they realize they are in "bear-adise," what with all the berries and apple trees, but have made a point of picking up the fruit to make their home less attractive to bears.

As for Daisy, she's pushing her luck. She was once shot through the chest with an arrow and another time suffered a severely broken leg while chasing a ball. Cats may get nine lives, but probably not dogs.