While DC fast charging is about to expand greatly in New Mexico, the eastern part of the state is still pretty barren. Level 2 charging is hard to come by, and even a Tesla would struggle to drive from Albuquerque or Santa Fe to Carlsbad.
A group of New Mexicans, led by Christopher Dizon, is working to make the drive in eastern New Mexico a little easier by adding publicly available Level 2 charging stations. There are some Level 2 stations along U.S. Highway 285, a highway that runs from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Pecos, Texas, but they’re all located at car dealers. For those unfamiliar, dealer charging can be pretty dicey, as they are usually closed at night, on weekends, and on holidays; and even when they’re open, they tend to park ICE cars in front of the charger and act weird when you ask to charge.
Instead of relying on flaky dealers or non-existent fast charging infrastructure, the group decided to take matters into their own hands and start putting in public stations themselves. As of this writing, they’ve installed one station and raised almost $6,000.
According to the GoFundMe page, Dizon owns a local solar installation company and has agreed to install charging stations at cost. They’ve already installed one station in Carlsbad, New Mexico, near a McDonald’s restaurant, but it proved to cost quite a bit more than expected because they needed to provide the charging station its own electrical service, so the total was around $4,500. Future stations are expected to cost much less, presumably because they’ll be able to share power with host businesses’ existing electrical service.
While Carlsbad is near Carlsbad Caverns National Park and somewhat near Guadalupe Mountains National Park, the new stations along Highway 285 will be useful for travelers headed to many more destinations. At least one donor to the project was grateful for this reason and said, “I am trying to plan a trip to Carlsbad Caverns and having a charger in the area will make the trip possible. Thank you.”
Another donor said, “Thanks for doing this. We regularly make the trip from Lubbock to Ruidoso. We would love to get to the point where it’s easy to take our Tesla instead of our other car.”
Mountain towns like Ruidoso, Cloudcroft, Mayhill, Queen, and Lincoln are the nearest mountain vacation destinations for most of Texas, Oklahoma, and even parts of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Tennessee. The land is quite flat for most of the middle part of the United States until you reach the Ozark and Appalachian mountains. So, adding charging opportunities along the highway would serve many more people than it might appear at first glance.
As I pointed out in another article, DC fast charging stations are coming to Eastern New Mexico, but as we know, DC fast charging sites can go down and it’s nice to be able to use free or lower cost Level 2 charging if you plan to stay overnight in a town. Having these sites will be very valuable, even after the fast charging sites become available.
If you’d like to pitch in to help the project, please visit their GoFundMe page here.
Featured image provided by Christopher Dizon, the project’s founder.
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