The Grant County Chamber of Commerce hopes one of its newest projects will provide a jolt to the local economy.
The chamber recently installed a 100-amp Tesla electric vehicle charging station at its office, 301 W. Main St., John Day.
The high-powered outlet will quickly charge Tesla batteries, and Chamber President Jerry Franklin said he hopes the free, 24/7 availability of the service will bring some people into Grant County who otherwise may have avoided the area.
“It’s the wave of the future,” he said. “If people know it’s here, they might change their route to come through Grant County.”
Franklin said charging stations have been available in Bend, Baker and Burns for a while. He said the Harney County Chamber of Commerce has reported the station in Burns is used “quite a bit” and the cost of the electricity is negligible.
He said Historic Hotel Prairie in Prairie City also has a charging station, and 1188 Brewing Company plans have charging available as well.
The charging station now appears with others in the network on the computer console in Tesla vehicles, Franklin said.
“It’s just another tool to draw people to John Day and Grant County,” he said.
Stacy Stemach and Doug Watson, who were here to help promote the charging station, were the first people to use it. Stemach said the Tesla vehicles can travel about 260 miles on average before recharging.
“I think the technology is just going to keep improving, so what is possible in this car today wasn’t possible 10 years ago,” Stemach said. “I think they’re just hoping to keep improving the batteries and keep getting higher and higher capacity and faster charging.”