An electric atmosphere at the Viceroy Snowmass
June 23, 2010
SNOWMASS VILLAGE – Expensive sports cars pulling into the Viceroy Snowmass’ glittering porte-cochere aren’t anything unusual. But when the vehicle in question is powered by electricity rather than gasoline, people take notice.
Such was the case recently when the makers of Tesla cars offered locals test drives in their sporty, smart and pricey rigs. Instead of taking off with a roar, barely a hum was emitted. Instead of pulling into the Conoco to refuel, the cars cruised up to a glorified electric plug in front of the hotel.
The Viceroy’s “ChargePoint Networked Charging Station” can be used by all hotel guests and visitors just popping in for a drink or a meal. Its installation satisfied one of the hotel’s LEED credits, said Dustin Anderson, sustainability coordinator for the Viceroy.
The hotel’s 14-passenger electric bus, which cruises up and down Wood and Carriageway roads, was also purchased with the LEED designation in mind.
While the charger currently offers 110 volts of electricity, a 220-volt set-up is in the offing. What’s unique about this charger in particular is its tie-in to a national network that tells the electric car owner the location of stations and whether or not they are occupied. It also has a function that authenticates access in order to eliminate energy theft.
While a full charge could require the better part of the day, if not overnight, short “topping off” charges may be completed during lunch or other relatively brief visits to the Viceroy, according to Anderson.
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Are the chargers a significant drain on the energy source, thereby negating some of the “good” they offer? Not necessarily. Anderson said the amount of electrical pull used for the cars is akin to “plugging in a mini-fridge.”
Tesla senior sales manager Eric Ziegler vowed that the vehicle’s performance won’t be compromised in the mountains. “The drivers have been happy hitting the curves,” he said, a comment that was backed up by a resident who had the chance to slide behind the wheel.
Depending on the driver and the speeds incurred, the Teslas were EPA rated at about 250 miles per full charge, Anderson said.
The Viceroy has also been setting aside its waste oil, including that from French fries and massage oils, for pickup so others may make bio-diesel.