First Tesla charging station in Eastern Iowa opens

It will benefit drivers, Mount Vernon business

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Eastern Iowa’s first Tesla electric car charging station opened Thursday at Bass Family Farms on Highway 30 in Mount Vernon.

The new charging station — which is free for the public to use — will provide about 60 miles of additional range for every hour the car spends connected to the device. Tesla cars owners can hook up to the station, which draws power from a nearby farm building, according to Tyler Olson, vice president of Paulson Electric. His company, based in Cedar Rapids, helped install the station.

Bass Family Farms — which provides chemical-free produce — got involved in the project after applying to be a charging station destination for Tesla, said Will Pattison with Produce Run, which helps Bass Family Farms with marketing and promotion. Pattison said Bass Family Farms wanted to be a part of the project because it’s a way to offer fresh produce to more people and be as “sustainable as possible.”

“As a producer of local, chemical-free produce the environment has always been a priority of ours,” said Chris Bass, owner of Bass Family Farms, in a news release. “This charging station will help us, and our community, as we look to increase the sustainability of our operation.”

Pattison said around 16,000 cars travel on Highway 30 each day and while most are not electric cars, there is hope they will be someday. He added

while there is not really a network to support electric cars now — typically drivers traveling across country bypass Iowa — additional chargers

makes it a possibility they will stop in the state.

Olson said there is a demand for more charging stations. He said it brings customers into businesses such as Bass Family Farms while reducing the carbon footprint and cost of fuel for the electric car owner.

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday morning, two cars used the charging station, Pattison said. While it is unknown how many cars will

immediately use the station, he knows of four Tesla electric cars in Cedar Rapids alone and expects the number of electric cars on the road to

increase as more charging stations are built.

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