Electric car owners can plug in at museum

TUPPER LAKE – The Wild Center’s new vehicle plug-in station is making it easier for electric vehicle owners to visit the region.

The nature museum’s executive director, Stephanie Ratcliffe, said the idea came when Dobbs Ferry resident Lou Klepner called and requested the station because he frequently travels through the area.

“He very specifically said that we could make this happen,” Ratcliffe said. “We knew we had the electrical resource, so we designated a spot and made it happen.”

The museum’s parking lot now has a parking space exclusively reserved for charging vehicles. The station itself required some minor reworking of existing electrical infrastructure before it could be ready for use. The service is free.

“We love being a place that demonstrates the welcoming of whatever new energy options are out there,” Ratcliffe said. “We have to be able to offer these kinds of options.”

The new charging station is the first of its kind in the Tri-Lakes area. There are others nearby in Canton, Potsdam, Plattsburgh and Lake George.

For Klepner and Anna Markowitz, the station expands their options for travel. In an email, Markowitz explained that their recent purchase of a 2013 Tesla Model S was an environmentally conscious decision.

“We really liked the idea of having a zero-emissions car, and then once we did a test drive we really fell in love with it,” Markowitz said. “Now that we have had the car for a few months, we still love it.”

According to the U.S. Department of Energy website, most electric cars get the equivalent of more than 100 miles per gallon and take several hours to fully charge. That figure is based on one gallon of gas equaling 33.7 kilowatt hours of electricity.

Fuel efficiency comes at a price, though. The Tesla S ranges from $63,570 for the basic model to $98,000 fully loaded with options. They can travel up to 265 miles on a full charge.

Markowitz explained that they do own a gas-fueled car, but they prefer to drive the Tesla on long road trips because it’s environmentally friendly and has more room for their growing family, baby gear and all.

“We visit Tupper Lake every year, so this super charger is extremely helpful for us,” Markowitz wrote. “Since the Tesla has no backup gas engine, we literally would not be able to bring it to Tupper Lake without The Wild Center charger.”