While Tesla has become wildly popular worldwide, it appears there are pockets of places where the brand remains relatively unknown. When a Tesla Model Y turned up and started charging from an utility pole in a tiny town in rural Montana, it caused a bit of excitement among the locals, even making it to the front page of the newspapers.
Chad Lauterbach and his girlfriend Allis Markham are a Californian couple with the EV bug. When they drove to Ekalaka for a dinosaur festival, they decided to dump his fossil-fuel-guzzling Toyota Land Cruiser for his Tesla Model Y for the trip. This was despite knowing charging opportunities came far and in between, especially in remote Ekalaka.
However, on arrival, the couple was delighted to find a utility pole with a public electric outlet, which they quickly latched on. This was despite Markham’s warning that the locals could become pissed off by “just some jerk from California, doing what jerks from California do.”
True to Markham’s warning, the electric Model Y soon drew attention. It got a splash on the local paper’s front page, the Ekalaka Eagle, which referred to it as a UEV or unidentified electric vehicle. It was suggested that the Tesla was the first EV to charge in Ekalaka. The writer also slipped in that the couple might have yet to pay for the electricity consumed.
Anxious to restore their damaged Californian reputation, the couple approached the local utility and offered to pay for their charging session. Despite being told not to worry about it, Lauterbach and Markham paid $60. The payment had to be made in cash because they couldn’t accept credit cards.
The story has a good ending as the manager of the utility revealed there had been plans to install an EV charger. Perhaps this will spur the rural town of Ekalaka to get its first public EV charging station?