The parking lot behind Addie Camp in Soldotna on Saturday pulsed with the low hum of more than 20 Tesla vehicles as they pulled up to and away from a bank of electric vehicle chargers. From as far away as Cantwell, Tesla drivers from around the state descended on Whistle Hill to celebrate the grand opening of Alaska’s first Tesla Supercharger.
There are more than 30,000 Tesla Superchargers worldwide. Addie Camp also has a destination charger, which Addie Camp owner Dr. Henry Krull said Saturday was installed in 2017. Krull said that where Destination Chargers offer about 30 miles per hour of charging, the superchargers offer about 250 miles per hour of charging.
Krull and his wife, Mary, own and operate Addie Camp, Brew@602 and fresh365 — all on Whistle Hill. Krull told attendees he and his family have been Tesla enthusiasts since 2016, when they purchased a Model S. The same year Whistle Hill got its Destination Charger, Krull said Tesla reached out to ask if they’d be interested in hosting a Tesla Supercharger Station.
“It’s like, are you kidding? We’d love it!” Krull said. “Tesla took it from there. We really didn’t do anything other than donate some parking spaces.”
Krull said growing interest among Alaskans in electric vehicles is new territory for the state.
“Alaska is built on oil and gas and this is a little bit of a departure from what built Alaska to what it is today,” Krull said. “But I think it’s important moving forward that we consider our environment a little bit more and I think electric vehicles are one way to do that, in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
A large rock immediately adjacent to the supercharger dedicates the bank to Derek Leichliter of local company Legacy Electric “whose passion and support for electric vehicles will forever be part of his legacy.” Krull said Saturday that Leichliter died about two weeks before the charger came online in November of 2021, but that his excitement was “instrumental” in getting the supercharger running, especially the first one in Alaska.
“He was very excited about electric vehicles (and) very excited about Tesla,” Krull said.
Also in attendance Saturday was State Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, who praised the Krulls’ contributions to Soldotna.
“Your family together has done so many amazing things for our community and this is just another example,” Micciche said. “We’re so proud of everything you do.”
Krull said that, ultimately, he hopes the supercharger will draw more people to the peninsula and that Tesla has expressed interest in expanding the charger from four to eight spaces if demand warrants it. He hopes that the super charger will make the Kenai Peninsula more accessible to Tesla drivers in Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley.
“We hope to see Teslas down here like this all the time,” Krull said.
Alaska’s first Tesla Supercharger is located behind Addie Camp on Whistle Hill in Soldotna.