Tahoe charging stations service electric cars, environment | SierraSun.com

Tahoe charging stations service electric cars, environment

Los Angeles area resident Marty Coren plugs in his Tesla, an all-electic vehicle, to charge last week at one of Squaw Valley's new electric car charging stations.
Margaret Moran / mmoran@sierrasun.com | Sierra Sun

Without having to wait in a line of cars, Los Angeles-area resident Marty Coren grabs a nozzle from a nearby dispensing station and beings fueling his vehicle.

But rather than gasoline being dispensed, it’s electricity that flows into his Tesla, an all-electric vehicle.

“It takes a lot of energy to get up here (Lake Tahoe), so I need to find a place to charge before I get down,” Coren said. “That’s my situation right now.”

He found such a place at Squaw Valley, which recently installed four electric car chargers, becoming the first ski resort in California to install such stations.

“We know the region’s success is dependent on our dedication to protecting the special mountain environment, and these new charging stations are a part of our extensive efforts that we’re taking on as part of our environmental stewardship efforts,” said Andy Wirth, president and CEO of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows.

Squaw Valley is one of eight confirmed electric car charging stations in and around the Lake Tahoe Basin.


In March, the Cedar House Sport Hotel in Truckee installed electric charging stations upon guest requests, said Patty Baird, owner and director of the hotel.

“Tahoe is a treasure that needs to be protected,” she said. “I think having infrastructure that allows lower carbon emission is a good thing.”

Roger Adamson, parks superintendent for the Tahoe City Public Utility District — which also has a charging station, with two ports — elaborated on how the stations and vehicles that use them help protect the local environment.

“Electric cars would help a lot with the runoff into Lake Tahoe,” he said. “… Runoff that clouds the lake — where does it come from? It comes from traffic … (from) oils, transmission fluids, and gasoline and diesel that spills on the ground.

“An electric car parks — it doesn’t mark its spot.”

According to the Tesla website, the electricity that powers the vehicle comes from many sources such as natural gas, coal and oil, among others.

As for how long it takes for a Tesla Model S to charge, that depends on the type of outlet or charging station used. The car can go 301 miles per charge with an 85-kilowatt-hour battery.

At the TCPUD station, Adamson said one hour of charging equals 30 miles for the Tesla.


The TCPUD has seen an increase in its station’s use this summer, Adamson added, at a clip of two to three times a week.

“This is the first year that we’ve actually seen a major use of that facility,” Adamson said, since its was installed in 2004.

“For what reason — I don’t know if it’s because of that new Tesla car being produced or just more people are aware that we have the charger.”

Baird has witnessed a similar weekly usage of her hotel’s stations, adding that their frequent usage has “surprised” her.

It’s a trend Adamson thinks is “great” and hopes continues.

“Instead of so many gas stations, you may see charging stations (in the future),” Adamson said.

It’s a development Coren would like to see.

“(Have stations) everywhere they can,” he said, while walking his way to the Village at Squaw Valley for lunch as his car charged. “Just make them more convenient.”

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