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In this Jan. 2, 2014 photo, a pickup truck sporting Wyoming-themed mud flaps and a brush guard in front drives down Main Street in Lusk, Wyo. Electric cars are all but unheard of around here, but last month Tesla installed four of its Supercharger units in the courtyard of the Covered Wagon Motel in Lusk. A Supercharger can recharge a Tesla's depleted battery pack to a 90-percent level within 45-50 minutes, several times faster than any other charging option for the electric cars. Lusk is on the route of Tesla's first network of coast-to-coast Supercharger stations. The quick-charge stations promise to make cross-country travel by Tesla much quicker and easier. A new Supercharger station also was built in Blanding, the first in Utah. (AP Photo/Mead Gruver)
Tesla Motors builds its first car-charging station in Utah
Auto » Charging station in Blanding works with Tesla all-electric car.
First Published Jan 14 2014 02:33 pm • Last Updated Jan 14 2014 04:27 pm

It seems like an odd place to build an electric-car charging station in Utah, but the famed Tesla Motors has built the state’s first Supercharger station for its cars in Blanding.

The Supercharger station, which is used to charge up Tesla’s all-electric Model S sedan, opened Tuesday at the City of Blanding Visitors Center, 12 N. Grayson Parkway. It has four charging stalls and is open 24 hours a day. The station charges the sedan’s power capacity to halfway — or for about 150 miles traveling distance — in 20 minutes. It can provide a full charge — 265 miles — in 50 minutes. It can only charge Tesla’s cars, and it is free to use for owners.

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While Blanding is a long way from Utah’s densest population, the reason Tesla built the charging station in the small southeastern town was so it could be part of a coast-to-coast route of stations in which a Tesla owner could drive from Los Angeles to New York City, said Tesla communications manager, Patrick Jones.

The Fremont, Calif.-based Tesla Motors was co-founded by former PayPal co-founder Elon Musk. There are more than 50 Tesla dealerships in the U.S. though none are in Utah.

Meanwhile, Tesla Motors also announced at a Detroit auto show that it was recalling about 29,000 of its 2013 Model S sedan’s charging adapters because the adapter, cord or wall outlet could overheat during charging and cause fires. The cars were not recalled.

Tesla executives emphasized Tuesday that their luxury electric vehicle is safe for the road.

The recall, which Tesla is fixing by software updates sent electronically to customers, added to a recent wave of negative publicity surrounding the much-hyped electric vehicle. Tesla also recently submitted to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration inquiry after three Model S sedans experienced fires following high-speed crashes. The NHTSA reaffirmed the car’s 5-star crash rating.

Jerome Guillen, Tesla sales vice president, said about 99 percent of Model S adapters had already received an over-the-air software upgrade to fix the charging issue. Tesla said the recall affects nearly every Model S and adapter the company produced for 2013.

Guillen said there have been no serious injuries in a Model S crash despite 168 million miles of driving.

vince@sltrib.com


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The Associated Press also contributed to this story.



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