Jim Thorpe Tesla charging station sees first users
The Times House Bed and Breakfast on Race Street in Jim Thorpe also offers a universal charging station for all types of electric vehicles. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS
Carbon County's first official charging station for Tesla electric vehicles recently came in handy for a couple traveling the northeast extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
Chris Prokop, who owns the Times House Bed and Breakfast on Race Street in Jim Thorpe with his wife, Diane, said they had the Tesla charger installed in early winter for use by their guests, but made it available in a pinch.
"We had our first Tesla drivers use the station on March 20," Diane Prokop said. "One of the stops on their route was closed, then they had missed the Allentown exit on the turnpike. Thankfully, we were able to accommodate them and they charged their vehicle in an hour or two, just enough to get them to their next stop."
The couple was heading from Washington, D.C., to Ontario, Canada, and found the Times House station through Tesla's online navigation system.
According to a map on the Tesla website, the next closest stations are in Bethlehem and Wilkes-Barre.
Past customers had asked the Prokops about a charging station and had actually used an extension cord to slow charge their electric vehicles while staying at the bed-and-breakfast.
"That is a real slow charge with an extension cord," Chris Prokop said. "We contacted Tesla and they sent us the equipment. All we had to do was get an electrician to install it and send them the bill."
Prokop said he believed the system, which was installed by WB Electric in Jim Thorpe, cost a few thousand dollars.
Tesla owners are not the only drivers who will benefit.
The company also supplied a Clipper Creek universal charging station available for guests with other electric cars.
"We were a little delayed in getting the universal system installed because of the snow, but it is up and running now," he said.
Tesla high-power wall connectors add up to 60 miles of range per hour to Model S and Model X vehicles, Diane Prokop said.
The vehicles offer 270 miles of range on a single charge, so the connector can easily top off the Tesla in just a few hours, she said.
A group of Silicon Valley engineers founded Tesla Motors in 2003, and the three models were subsequently released: the Roadster in 2008, Model S in 2012 and most recently the Model X, a crossover vehicle that entered volume production in 2015.
More than 50,000 Tesla vehicles are on the road worldwide, according to a company statement.
"Electric vehicles are great, but you need places to charge them," Chris said. "We're thrilled to be able to provide this service, and hopefully it is just one more thing that can entice people to come to Jim Thorpe."