The great thing about being from Texas is that you get to talk about Texas all the time and people have to listen. It’s a rule. I don’t understand it but, as a Texan, I’ve long been the beneficiary of such a policy. And yet, for all the listening about Texas that people from less interesting places like Delaware and Colorado have had the opportunity to do, a lot of y’all still don’t seem to get it.
Case-in-point: Mercedes-Benz’s impending charging network, Mercedes-Benz HPC, made the small announcement that it would be partnering with regional gas station chain/borderline cult Buc-ee’s to install some EV chargers in about 30 locations. This shouldn’t be a big deal except many people seem to be losing their minds about this and, seemingly, all those people seem to be not from Texas.
I don’t mean to be impolite, but being from Texas means that I’m not under any obligation to be polite, so: y’all are showing your ass a little bit.
First, let’s just clarify exactly what Mercedes announced here so no one gets it twisted:
Mercedes-Benz HPC North America LLC (Mercedes-Benz HPC NA), which is launching a network of premium EV charging stations across North America, announces a new strategic agreement today with Buc-ee’s, operators of the beloved and world-renowned chain of travel centers, marking a significant milestone in the journey to create a national charging network that redefines convenience and quality for drivers across the country. Mercedes-Benz will build charging hubs at most Buc-ee’s existing travel centers, starting with about 30 by the end of 2024.
Mercedes-Benz HPC NA has already begun work on charging hubs at numerous Buc-ee’s locations across the country, with some to be open by the end of this year. This collaboration underscores the commitment of both organizations to provide exceptional value and an unparalleled experience to their customers.
Though primarily a Texas chain, Buc-ee’s is expanding and will likely continue to expand along major travel corridors and therefore a relationship like this makes sense. I don’t feel like I need to explain what Mercedes is to people, since this is a car site, but I’ll attempt to explain Buc-ee’s. [Ed Note: Oh god, a Texan explaining Buc-ee’s. Buckle up. -DT].
The first store was opened in Lake Jackson, Texas in 1982 by a guy with the extremely Texan name: Arch Aplin III, aka Arch III. He gave the story a mascot, a beaver, and was committed to making it just a little nicer than your usual grocery store. Here’s a great description of where it started from this Texas Monthly profile:
“I think you’ll see it’s the nicest, prettiest store around. It’s very sharp looking,” Aplin told the Brazosport Facts on the store’s opening day. “I believe everyone who comes in will be in awe over the way it looks.” He made clear his ambitions were bigger than that one location. “If this one goes like we hope it will, you never can tell, we might have a chain of Buc-ee’s.”
If he dreamed that one day his creation might become a Texas icon, a temple of roadside convenience and everything’s-bigger abundance, and that it would even reach a point, in 2019, when it would outgrow Texas, he certainly didn’t share the thought at the time. He was just a kid from Lake Jackson following in his family’s footsteps.
Even Texans with modest ambitions tend to overachieve people, and in the years since Arch III has expanded the concept until he wound up with the world’s largest gas station in Tennessee, which has 130 gas pumps and more than 350 employees.
To call a Buc-ee’s a gas station is to call the Sistine Chapel a church, or the Taj Mahal a gravesite. Your average Buc-ee’s these days is a shopping mall, a restaurant, and as close to a spa as you’ll find on most major highways and interstates. They are enormously popular and I have, I will admit, withheld my micturatin’ for an unhealthy period so that I might spend my nickel at a Buc-Eee’s.
What makes them so beloved? First, they pay their employees above-average wages. The result is you don’t end up with gas station attendants who look as if they’re about to murder you or, perhaps, would be happier if you murdered them. The stores are extremely clean and well-lit and the brand advertises itself as having the nicest restrooms anywhere.
Plus, they have food. A lot of food. And drinks. They have jerky as far as the eyes can see, freshly made BBQ sandwiches, beaver nuggets, candied pecans (a personal favorite), and breakfast tacos. Is this the greatest food you’ve ever had? No. It’s arguable that the BBQ you can get at Buc-ee’s isn’t even the best BBQ you can get from a chain of gas stations in Texas (the best is from a random dude with a smoker and a giant worn Igloo-brand cooler setup in a parking lot of a place called, like, Major Brand Gas, the second best is probably Rudy’s). But it’s food in a safe and friendly place to park your car and get some gas.
This would be approximately the best place to put an electric car charger as, in my experience, the average person intends to spend 5 minutes in a Buc-ee’s and ends up spending approximately an hour and walks out with four pounds of meat, six bags of candy, and an ornamental lawn sign in the shape of a golden retriever that says “HOME IS WHERE THE ARF IS.” That’s plenty of time to charge your Mercedes.
So why are people being dumb about this?
Here’s a comment I saw today from the excellent Odd Lots Discord this afternoon:
First, rich people go to zoos.
Second, where do you think Mercedes drivers fill up their gas-powered cars? Do you think there’s some secret rich person, fancy place to drop off your GLB for some premium gasoline? Is every Mercedes electric charger supposed to be at, what, the Menil Collection? Get off yer high horse, buddy.
This isn’t isolated, though, look at all these responses to Sawyer Merritt’s tweet about this:
Nothing screams German luxury like a beaver in a trucker cap.
— Firworks (@firworksyt) November 10, 2023
You know what? If you took the average transaction price of every full-sized pickup at Buc-ee’s on a regular day and every Mercedes, my guess is the trucks would be worth more. Just saying!
Would love to see the Venn diagram of Buc-ees frequenters and Benz owners.
— Ross Nesbit (@RossNesbit) November 10, 2023
Guess what: For people who have to travel near a Buc-ee’s it’s a damn circle. You know why? People who buy a Mercedes-Benz EQS also like not using a bathroom where every surface is mysteriously wet. I’m sorry, Ross, that you’re too good for a great gas station. To the Citgo with you!
The greatest irony of these people kvetching (I live in New York now, I can use that word) over this news is that, at least on Twitter, many of them seem to be Tesla stans based on their social media profiles and the fact that they’re following Sawyer. Why is that ironic? Because Bucc-ee’s is already home to what I believe is one of the largest Tesla supercharger stations outside of California.
If it’s good enough for Tesla fans I’m sure it’s good enough for Mercedes owners.