Last week, I saw on the Electrify America and Plugshare apps that a new charging station would soon be built in Roswell, NM. I was already going to be out that way, so I decided to check it out. What I found was a mixture of disappointment and something that was surprisingly good.
I’m going to try to crack corny UFO mom jokes in this article, and if that’s bothersome (or you’re curious about the topic), check out the last section of this article!
Electrify America’s Entering The UFO Charging Business
Other than that I was already going to be nearby with nothing to do, what drew me to Roswell this time was that Electrify America had announced a future station at the Target store. I know that in some cases, Electrify America doesn’t announce until the station is almost built, but in other cases, construction hasn’t started at all. So, I decided to check it out.
Sadly, this was one of those situations where the construction hasn’t begun yet, so there’s nothing to really report yet. I’d share photos, but I didn’t take any. A Target parking lot isn’t all that interesting.
Francis Energy Will Get Around To This Someday
The next thing I checked on was a station going in at Allsup’s. I’ve written quite a bit about these in the past, and you can read all about the plan to bring charging to the larger (by local standards) towns in New Mexico here. The plan was updated here, and with new funding. What has really frustrated people was that the state’s announcement of new upcoming EV charging locations was followed up by the construction of a few stations, but then nothing new happened for a long time. Francis Energy says that it has faced parts shortages caused by the pandemic and related chip shortages.
When I went to check on stations in Ruidoso, Hondo, and Roswell, I didn’t see any signs of progress. It’s unclear where the stations are supposed to go, as at least one of them is definitely going to a site that’s boarded up and no longer a gas station, but I was able to find some wiring in Hondo. In Roswell, the state-provided address does have a lot of construction going on, but it’s unclear whether they’re putting in just the gas pumps right now, or both gas pumps and charging, or even just pre-wiring for later station installation.
So, it’s probably going to be a while there, too. I know the aliens have been waiting for a charge since 1947, so what’s a few more months or years?
NMDOT & ChargePoint Are Going To Be First To Charge A UFO, Though
On my way back out of Roswell, my wife spotted something I had somehow missed the first two times I drove by it: a complete charging station in front of the NMDOT equipment yard!
From what I could tell, NMDOT moved the fence back and left the front portion of the yard open to the public. Then, they paved the area and had the stations put in. The station looked completely installed, and only lacked a final utility connection and meter to give it power.
So, NMDOT looks like it will be the first to provide fast charging in Roswell. Whether you’re charging a flying saucer’s improbability drive or a more conventional lithium-ion electric car, this will be the place to go for a while.
I’m in touch with NMDOT’s public relations people, and this could be part of a larger story, so be sure to check back in a few days for more information.
Let’s Talk About UFOs & Roswell
Because I’ve talked UFOs a lot in this article, I do want to point out that I know Roswell isn’t all about UFOs. It’s a town that some people like to live in, while others feel like they’re stuck in the Land of Entrapment. With the exception of a few gift shops, a couple of museums, and some other tourist-oriented businesses, most people don’t make any money off of the UFO thing and probably don’t think about it that often.
This makes a lot of sense, geographically speaking. Whether you think it was aliens, a US government experiment of some kind, or just a weather balloon that crashed, it didn’t happen anywhere near Roswell.
The crash site is closest to the little town of Corona, and it’s also closer to Carrizozo, Capitan, Lincoln, Ruidoso, and even Vaughn. The only reason Roswell is known for the incident is because the government response to the crash came from a military installation near Roswell.
For a long time, the town really didn’t want to be known for it. They used to only have these signs, practically begging you to think about anything but aliens, as you entered town:
The locals used to be pretty touchy about it, too. I visited once in 2006 and had a server at a restaurant ask where we were from, and when I told him I was from near El Paso, he asked, “You didn’t come here just for the dumb alien stuff, did you?”
But, times have changed. The “Dairy Capital” signs have fallen into disrepair, probably they’ve been replaced by much cooler ones that still feature cows, but have a flying saucer trying to pick them up with a tractor beam. Like anybody visiting with a car they haven’t taken to Roswell before, I had to take the obligatory photo with the sign.
There are also alien and UFO murals around town, the main street’s classic lamps have alien eyes, and many other things are UFO or alien themed around town. There’s even a meeting every year or two for the owners of newer Volkswagen Beetles, largely because the cars resemble a UFO, and VW made a funny commercial (unseriously) claiming it was “reverse engineered from UFOs.”
Whenever the Beetles come to town, locals line the sidewalks to watch them parade around town, too. Perhaps they realized it was a good way to bring in tourists and money, but I think that society in general has gotten a lot more laid back about things like this. It’s OK to be a nerd in 2023 and people are allowed to enjoy nerdy things without some “cool” sportsball person (who secretly enjoys Star Wars) being mean to them over it.
So, I don’t feel bad talking about aliens when I discuss anything Roswell related. It’s fun, and if you live there and are bothered by this, maybe try to lighten up a bit like the other people in town have!
All photos by Jennifer Sensiba.
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