EV Chargers in the Woods

By: Tim Plouff

Medway, Maine is a quiet town of less than 1,400 residents. Resting at the confluence of the East and West Branches of the wild Penobscot River, the lumbering heydays of the early 1800’s—when the region had immense log-drives, multiple sawmills, and once the largest paper mill in the world—have long since passed. Medway is now known as the Gateway to the Maine North Woods.

Indeed, just a quick 55-mile ride up the 75-mph Interstate-95 from Bangor, Medway is where you leave the superslab for dirt trails like the Golden Road, crisscrossing the Maine woods all the way to Canada, or, mostly for folks to visit the state’s largest park, Baxter Park, with its majestic Mt. Katahdin visibly announcing its presence up the river just as you cross the Penobscot for the Medway exit. 

Yet, Medway has something that most towns across America don’t have—a new bank of six Tesla Supercharging stations. Ironically, located out behind the local Irving Truck Stop, in a gravel parking lot, naturally, the one-armed bandit-looking chargers seem oddly out of place in a community where four out of five residents drive pickup trucks, while the other fifth drive their ATV’s down Main Street. 

Bank of six Tesla Supercharging stations in Medway, Maine.

But apparently, in Tesla’s progressive (aggressive?) wisdom, Medway seems like a natural site for their prized EV customers to get a last gasp charge before indulging in their backwoods adventures, which might seem odd to the local moose, who might count Tesla sightings on one-hand—so to speak, if moose had hands. 

Or perhaps, the Medway chargers are to assist Canadian drivers in their efforts to get back across the border after visiting Boston and more cosmopolitan regions not found in the thick woods of New Brunswick, which is hard to tell from Maine, unless you hear the folks talk in their natural combination of Acadian English and French. 

Either scenario is plausible, but also puzzling. Since Tesla’s charging stations only work with their signature creations—and not other electric vehicles—will Medway (and other communities) need to create expansive parking lots for the chargers that GM, Audi, Porsche, Mercedes, BMW, Volvo and others will need to create for their proprietary EV’s?

Let’s hope not, as somewhere in this projected EV expansion, the normal gas-guzzling citizens will likely get to ‘subsidize’ their installment—in some manner. Perhaps the EV industry will arrive at a Beta or VHS decision about sharing charging devices before the real fights begin.

The other clear irony is that there is a six month backlog to find a mechanical contractor able to meet the demand for installing new underground gasoline/diesel tanks in Maine; tanks that have 30-year life expectancies. Clearly, despite all of the pronouncements about the virtues of electric vehicles, of which drivers can enjoy many, our driving fleet will not be changing to EV’s as quickly as many officials predict. 

Even in Medway Maine, the Gateway to the Maine North Woods and Tesla Charging bliss.

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