A Tesla Model S electric sedan charges Saturday at the supercharger station at the Gateway Centre Complex.
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Telegram photo / Alan Campbell

A Tesla Model S electric sedan charges Saturday at the supercharger station at the Gateway Centre Complex.

Charging station boosts Gateway Centre

By John Henderson

Staff Writer

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Business has increased at hotels and restaurants at the Gateway Centre Complex since it recently allowed electric car charging stations to be built on the property, officials said.

The complex has received a significant amount of national media attention and hits on its website since allowing Tesla Motors to build a supercharger station that charges electric cars, said complex marketing director David Joyner.

“We’ve seen a significant return from it overnight,” Joyner said. “It increased traffic to our new Gateway Centre website. We’ve seen lot of leads coming in from all over the country, with people inquiring about meeting and event space. We hoped that it would garner a lot of web traffic and media. But we had no idea it would be this significant.”

The complex includes the 
DoubleTree, Courtyard, Residence Inn, Comfort Inn, Texas Steakhouse, Outback Steakhouse and the Gateway Convention Center.

In November, a major charging station for Tesla electric cars opened to the praise of elected officials and business leaders. It was the second to open in North Carolina. Eight Tesla Model S cars were hooked up to the new supercharging stalls in the back parking lot of the DoubleTree hotel and Texas Steakhouse. The new electric car charging station in Rocky Mount is one of many the company has planned along major highways about every 150 miles to allow drivers to make longer trips. Another charging station for other models of electric cars has also recently opened next to the Tesla chargers.

“We’re ecstatic about the feedback we’re receiving,” Joyner said.

According to PRWeb, a press release company, the Gateway Centre’s Dec. 2 release about the supercharger station had 939 story reads and 27,367 headline and story summary views. Some of the websites that have published stories about the supercharger station are: 2 Degrees Network, N.C. News Feed

AltEnergyMag.com, Environmental News Network Topix, Sector Publishing Intelligence, News International, Charlotte Business Journal, Triangle Business Journal

Newsandobserver.com, Doubletree.com – Global Media Center, Biznewsindex.com, 2degreesnetwork.com and Autotrendsmagazine.

Large display posters also have been posted at the north and south Interstate 95 Welcome Centers promoting the electric car-charging stations.

“It is rare that a day goes by we don’t see a couple of Tesla vehicles (charging up),” Joyner said.

Joyner said numerous Tesla electric cars pulled into the station over the Christmas holiday, and some of the families stayed in hotels and ate at the restaurants.

Allegra, a local marketing company, has created print material promoting the electric car-charging stations.

“Mostly we did a number of ads in the Tri-County area throughout Wilson, Tarboro and Rocky Mount,” said sales representative Erin Gall. “We did number of ad layouts.

“We did a number of display boards for when they would go to trade shows or exhibits that was just highlighting the fact that Tesla was coming, as well as (promoting) the universal charging station.”

Gall said the Tesla drivers who stop there to use the electric car-charging stations have leisure dollars to spend.

“These folks on vacation might take a couple hours to drive around the city and pull into a local shop and spend dollars,” she said. “I just feel like there are a lot of hidden gems in Rocky Mount.”

This could really open up the Imperial Centre, the museum down there, as well as (bring visitors to) a lot of events the city holds.”