Travelers juice up at Maryland House electric vehicle charging stations

Sean McGinley’s arms pumped up and down as he did jumping jacks in the front parking lot of the Maryland House Travel Plaza in Aberdeen Tuesday morning. He wanted to get his heart rate up and his blood flowing.

He was stopped at the Interstate 95 plaza while driving from Chapel Hill, N.C., to Lafayette Hill, Pa., to visit relatives for Thanksgiving, one of millions of holiday travelers hitting the nation’s highways this week.

The Maryland House, one of the busiest travel plazas on the East Coast, debuted something new for this year’s holiday season: electric vehicle charging stations.

“They’re popping up absolutely everywhere,” Tesla Model 3 driver Nicholas Hunter, 20, of Phoenixville, Pa., said of the electric vehicle chargers as he pulled to a Tesla supercharger at the Maryland House Tuesday. “There are so many chargers along 95.”

He was driving his father’s Model S to Washington, D.C., to pick up his girlfriend and head back to Pennsylvania.

McGinley, 36, who drives a gasoline-powered Suzuki Kizashi, is one of the regular users of the Maryland House. He stops there on trips between Chapel Hill, where he is a swim coach at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and his family’s home in the Philadelphia suburbs.

“I could really use an electric vehicle, because I don't get the greatest gas mileage, but it's — knock on wood — pretty reliable,” he said of his car.

There are few full-service rest stops such as the Maryland House and the Chesapeake House in Cecil County along I-95 in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. area, McGinley pointed out.

McGinley was traveling with his dog, Brawny, a chow-chow. He said there is space at the Maryland House to walk his dog, and he typically does 50 to 100 jumping jacks at the stop to re-energize.

“It’s a welcoming site, it’s awesome,” he said. “I really like the two stops — after not having one for a while, it's a delight to see.”

The electric vehicle charging stations, as well as similar stations at the Chesapeake House, opened earlier this month, according to a news release from the Maryland Transportation Authority, operator of both travel plazas.

“The charging stations are free to our customers, and you really can’t beat the convenience,” MDTA Deputy Secretary R. Earl Lewis Jr. said in a statement. “You can grab a bite to eat inside the travel plaza while you’re waiting for your vehicle to charge.”

There are eight stations for Tesla electric vehicles only and five more universal chargers. One is at the handicapped accessible parking spaces in the rear lot at the Maryland House, MDTA spokesperson John Sales wrote in an email Tuesday.

There are 10 Tesla “supercharger” stations at the Chesapeake House, along with five universal stations — including one accessible to people with disabilities, according to the MDTA website.

Hunter said his car directs drivers to charging stations through its on-board systems. Superchargers show up on the car’s Trip Planner navigation feature, according to Tesla’s website.

Teslas can either use superchargers or the universal chargers, but other electric vehicles cannot be charged at Tesla stations, according to Hunter. He said he can go 250 to 280 miles on a full charge.

Hunter said he has driven about 10,000 miles in electric vehicles — he owns a gas-powered Mazda Miata, but he is on a waiting list for the latest Tesla Model 3. Both of his parents own Teslas, and his family’s house is fully solar powered.

He studies computer science at the College of Wooster in Ohio.

“I’m passionate about the [green] technology,” Hunter said.

John and Julie Nuzzo, of Brick, N.J., did not know about the new charging stations at Maryland House when they started their holiday trip to Greensboro, N.C.

“The car just told me where to go,” John Nuzzo said.

The couple has had their Tesla Model S for more than two years, and “we still can't stop talking about it,” Julie Nuzzo said.

John Nuzzo called it “a phenomenal car.”

His wife said they took it in for its first servicing after 25 months, and they had to replace all four tires because of the extensive use.

“This is the single best thing I've ever owned,” John Nuzzo said.

The electric vehicle charging stations, as well as similar stations at the Chesapeake House, opened earlier this month, according to a news release from the Maryland Transportation Authority, operator of both travel plazas.

“The charging stations are free to our customers, and you really can’t beat the convenience,” MDTA Deputy Secretary R. Earl Lewis Jr. said in a statement. “You can grab a bite to eat inside the travel plaza while you’re waiting for your vehicle to charge.”

There are eight stations for Tesla electric vehicles only and five more universal chargers. One is at the handicapped accessible parking spaces in the rear lot at the Maryland House, MDTA spokesperson John Sales wrote in an email Tuesday.

There are 10 Tesla “supercharger” stations at the Chesapeake House, along with five universal stations — including one accessible to people with disabilities, according to the MDTA website.

Hunter said his car directs drivers to charging stations through its on-board systems. Superchargers show up on the car’s Trip Planner navigation feature, according to Tesla’s website.

Teslas can either use superchargers or the universal chargers, but other electric vehicles cannot be charged at Tesla stations, according to Hunter. He said he can go 250 to 280 miles on a full charge.

Hunter said he has driven about 10,000 miles in electric vehicles — he owns a gas-powered Mazda Miata, but he is on a waiting list for the latest Tesla Model 3. Both of his parents own Teslas, and his family’s house is fully solar powered.

He studies computer science at the College of Wooster in Ohio.

“I’m passionate about the [green] technology,” Hunter said.

John and Julie Nuzzo, of Brick, N.J., did not know about the new charging stations at Maryland House when they started their holiday trip to Greensboro, N.C.

“The car just told me where to go,” John Nuzzo said.

The couple has had their Tesla Model S for more than two years, and “we still can't stop talking about it,” Julie Nuzzo said.

John Nuzzo called it “a phenomenal car.”

His wife said they took it in for its first servicing after 25 months, and they had to replace all four tires because of the extensive use.

“This is the single best thing I've ever owned,” John Nuzzo said.

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