The front page of the Ekalaka Eagle featuring an “unidentified electric vehicle” discovered charging on the population-400 town’s Main Street.  Credit: Eric Dietrich / MTFP

An “unidentified electric vehicle” — actually a Tesla Model Y — accused of siphoning power from the local electric utility energized the gossip mill in the small eastern Montana town of Ekalaka last week, prompting front page newspaper coverage, a frantic apology and, in the end, much jawboning about the future of transportation in one of the most remote counties in the lower 48 states.