FARMINGTON — Peter Evans said he wouldn't have stopped in Farmington if he couldn't charge his extra-large Tesla Motors Model S sedan's battery.
And on Friday, in the windy parking lot outside the Marriott TownePlace Suites on Sierra Vista Drive, when the Seattle resident walked back from Target, his all-electric Tesla was almost charged. He was headed from Seattle to Aspen, Colo., and he was driving a roundabout route that was almost twice as long.
"I've driven quite a bit out of my way because it's about six months out (for) the build up of the (Tesla supercharger) stations," he said.
On Jan. 17, Tesla Motors opened its supercharger station in Farmington, and on Dec. 18 it opened one in Gallup.
The two stations are part of the company's efforts to build more charging ports nationally so its buyers can drive freely. According to the manufacture's website, almost 80 stations span the West Coast, East Coast and in between. By 2015, the company hopes to scatter the stations across the county.
Evans said he can drive his Tesla sedan 261 miles before it needs a charge.
The stations are free and it takes about 20 minutes for a half charge, according to the company's website.
In mid-February, the manufacturer plans to host a grand opening of the station, but the exact date is undetermined.
Tesla officials were planning to drive into Farmington this week as part of a sightseeing tour using the company's cross-country string of stations. But they canceled those plans when a father and daughter team beat them to it, according to an email from Tesla Project Developer Douglas Alfaro.
Now, four Tesla drivers alternating between two vehicles — each one a Model S — are cruising instead across the country to break the Guinness World Records time for an electric vehicle traveling cross-country. They will not stop in Farmington, Tesla Spokesperson Alexis Georgeson said.
The drivers left the company's Los Angeles design studio at midnight on Thursday. The drive is expected to take three days.
Kellee Brandenburg, a 6th grade science teacher at Heights Middle School, said she expects more Tesla drivers will pass through the Four Corners as the manufacture builds more stations.
She has taken pictures of the charging station for her class. She uses the cars to talk with her students about energy conservation.
"They were real excited when we talked about horsepower and 0 to 60 (miles per hour) in 4.2 seconds," she said.
The cars range from $69,000 to $130,000, and she said that is expensive but potentially worth the price. You never again have to pay for gas, she said. Evans said that is a perk.
But would Brandenburg buy a Tesla herself?
"Oh, no. I can't afford that," she said. "I'm a teacher."