Tesla drivers cause uproar with the unconventional way they charged their Model Y in public: ‘Stolen electricity’

A Los Angeles couple driving their Tesla Model Y through a small Montana town caused quite a buzz. The story was even reported in the local paper, the Ekalaka Eagle. It was then picked up by the Montana Free Press and Electrek.

The couple, who were in town for a so-called Dino Shindig at the local museum, found themselves many miles from a Supercharger station. The 120-volt outlet at the farmhouse where they were staying was only able to provide 40 miles worth of charge in 10 hours of charging, which was less than ideal.

Luckily, they noticed a spare 14-50 outlet on Main Street in town, which could charge the Tesla five times faster than the outlet at the farmhouse. They were able to hook up the Model Y with their adapter kit and power up.

That’s when things went a little haywire, though, as locals noticed the Tesla, and a journalist for the Ekalaka Eagle snapped a picture. The story ran on the front page the following day with the headline “Borrowed Volts.” The copy referred to the car as an Unidentified Electric Vehicle (UEV).


When the couple returned the following day to charge the Tesla again, they found the outlet was shut off. After walking over to the Southeast Electric Cooperative (SECO) headquarters a block away and learning about the stir they had caused, they also learned that the outlet had not actually been shut off because of them — rather, it is only active for a few weekends a year.

Nevertheless, the couple insisted on paying $60 for their “stolen electricity,” and the SECO staff wrote up their first-ever electric charging receipt.

The staff even signed a copy of the Ekalaka Eagle for them and wrote that they need to “get with the times” and install a real electric vehicle charging station of their own.

Electrek’s commenters were charmed by the story.

“I like the term ‘Unidentified Electric Vehicle’; the folks at the Ekalaka Eagle have a sense of humor. The folks at the local electric co-op were also friendly, and it looks like everyone had a laugh,” wrote one commenter.

“Tesla should open a Service center there and a Showroom,” replied another.

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