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Kirk McElney, of Gold Hill, charges his 2016 Tesla Thursday at 2Hawk Vineyard & Winery. [Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch]

Juicing up at 2Hawk Winery

Ross Allen likes to lead the way when it comes to sustainable farming practices at 2Hawk Winery & Vineyard.

So it isn't surprising to see three Tesla destination charging stations have sprouted next to his vineyard off North Phoenix Road.

In 2014, 2Hawk became the first Oregon vineyard to install a Hortau irrigation management system. Last year, the estate's new winery was built with a solar component to provide 100 percent of its energy need — a Southern Oregon first.

The Tesla connection was a natural.

"Quite a few of the larger wineries in the Willamette Valley have Tesla charging as a side note to what they do to help their environmental cause and offset the carbon footprint, but also provide a service for their wine club members," Allen said. "It just made sense for us to do that."

Last month Tesla said it planned to double the number of charging locations for its 200,000 owners by the end of the year.

Over the past five years, Tesla has built 5,400 supercharger stations, which are along the lines of regular gas stations, and installed another 9,000 destination chargers, in locations where people sleep, eat, shop and recreate. The automaker intends to boost its supercharger outlets to 10,000, and to 15,000 destination locations such as 2Hawk, by 2018.

Southern Oregon is generally void of Tesla charging stations. The nearest supercharger station is in Grants Pass, and aside from a bed-and-breakfast in Ashland, there isn't another spot for Tesla owners to charge between here and Shasta City, California.

At first, Allen merely eyed opening a standard EV charging station. He approached ChargePoint, the largest EV charging network in the country, about installing a station at the winery. But the costs didn't pencil out.

"It operates like a cardlock fuel station," he said. "They wanted $7,000 for equipment, $7,000 to install, and there were annual and quarterly fees."

He said thanks, and moved along.

"I didn't know what to expect when I contacted Tesla."

Tesla offered a deal he couldn't refuse.

"They told me you're the first station in your area, and we want to work with you," Allen recalled from his March conversation.

"They provided all the equipment for free," he said.

All Allen has to worry about is maintenance, which he's glad to do, and pay for the electricity.

Jason Hanlin of Eagle Point has gone 260 miles on a single charge, but road trips can be challenging if you're not charged before crossing the Siskiyous, so he's happy to see another option.

"In Southern Oregon there aren't a lot of options," Hanlin said. "Having the ability to come out to enjoy a glass of wine and charge the car is great."

Tesla supercharger stations, presently spaced 100 to 150 miles apart, can juice a car's battery in an hour enough to cover 250 miles.

Kirk McElney of Gold Hill said destination chargers, similar to the one owners have at home, add 30 to 35 miles to a vehicle's range per hour.

"It's always nice to top off your tank, so to speak, while you're having a glass of wine and flatbread," McElney said.

Tesla drivers are equipped with digital lists of charging stations, so Allen won't have to advertise on a freeway billboard to direct traffic his way.

"It's built into Tesla's navigation system, to let drivers know the various stations as they travel," Allen said. "It provides them a place to charge their cars, and it exposes 2Hawk to new faces."

— Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31.

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