Electric Car Rally in Creek Generates Huge Turnout – By Rick Langenberg

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Local leaders partake in electric thrill rides
Rick Langenberg

In recent months, Cripple Creek has tried to entice more visitors by offering more amenities for RV travelers and ultra-modern electric vehicles, as part of a campaign to attract additional tourists.

The effort is a way to declare that Cripple Creek is just not another gambling town.

One of these draws has involved a free Tesla Motors charging station, launched earlier this summer at the city parking lot on Bennett Avenue. Besides the city, these stations, the only electric car fill-up outlets located west of Manitou Springs, are also provided at the Wildwood casino and at Carr Manor.

On Saturday, residents, city leaders, journalists, photographers, tourists and gamblers got a taste of the electric car wave by examining a hefty sample of the latest and most distinguished Tesla models, such as the flashy P85D. Some even took a test ride, including a journalist from The Mountain Jackpot and Mayor Bruce Brown and his wife, Teller County Clerk Krystal Brown. According to preliminary reports, the test riders are still reeling in shock from the amazing speed these vehicles exhibit in a short time and their comfort and technological gimmicks. A typical Tesla model can zoom from zero to sixty miles per hour in a little more than three seconds. They can also exceed the 100 miles-per-hour barrier fairly quickly, while maintaining an impressive control level. They also have outstanding computerized features, outlining every bump and curve in the road..

The event, culminating with a party at the Wildwood casino, was attended by many Tesla and electric vehicle advocates, who weren’t shy about showing off their cars. “These cars require no maintenance, transmission checks and can last for several hundred thousand miles,” said Thad Uolo, one of the participants in Saturday’s rally.

The vehicles, which aren’t cheap, costing between $75,000 and $125,000, are part of the new wave of transportation and the clean energy boom. But newer more affordable models are also being introduced, including a new Tesla SUV.

Tesla buffs say once you drive one of these vehicles, you become hooked. “There is no turning back once you get one of these cars,” said Milo Eckles.

“This has been very well-received,” said business owner and city employee Bill Burcaw in describing the implementation of the city’s charging station. The city allows Tesla car owners to charge up their vehicle free-of-charge. Burcaw, who helped spearhead the effort, says the charging stations help further boost electric car travel between Colorado Springs and the Royal Gorge area. His son Dan, who attended the rally, has one of the newer P85D models. His flashing red vehicle emerged as one of the standouts and the highlights of the test rides.

The Cripple Creek stations are the first electric car charging outlets west of Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs.

City officials see the plan as a way to attract more visitors and help promote tourist travel in the region. “This is a really popular route for Tesla motorists,” said Bill Burcaw.

“We are getting more and more people using our charging stations,” said City Administrator Ray DuBois, who played a key role Saturday as one of the test drivers.

A typical electric car can travel about 250 miles before having to charge up.

The Cripple Creek charging station is considered a small outlet. It generally takes about four hours to completely charge up a vehicle at the Creek stations. This allows customers to enjoy the local casinos, restaurants and shops.

According to Tesla representatives, there are currently about 200 super Tesla stations in the country. The one in Cripple Creek, though, is part of a growing network of smaller charging stations.