EV Life | March 28, 2019

EV Driver Spotlight: Steve’s Epic Model 3 Road Trip


Team ChargePoint

Steve's Epic EV Road Trip

This post is part of a series of EV Driver Spotlights that shine a light on why people choose to drive electric. Drivers, want to be profiled? Tell us your EV story

Think EVs aren’t for road trips? Think again. Steve and his brother Dave made an epic EV road trip in his Model 3 last year, traveling through 40 states or provinces while visiting 30 major league baseball parks and benefiting the Boys & Girls Club of America. As the 2019 baseball season begins (play ball!), we bring you more info about Steve’s Model 3 and his epic journey. 

An Epic Trip, by the Numbers 

Miles driven 18,778 miles (in only 37 days)
States/provinces visited  40 (38 states, 1 province and Washington, DC)
Stadiums visited 30 Major League Baseball stadiums, 3 Minor League Baseball stadiums, 1 NBA arena (NBA playoff game), 1 NHL arena (Stanley Cup Finals in Las Vegas – to see the Washington Capitals win the NHL Championship)
Games attended 34
Gas savings $2,000
Side trips

Miller Brewing Plant in Milwaukee, CN Tower in Toronto, Niagara Falls and the Snake River Canyon in Idaho

Hotel rooms 34
Cups of coffee Too many to count

Tell us about yourself! What do you do for work (and fun)?

I am a consulting structural engineer, primarily involved with the design, renovation and evaluation of buildings. For fun, I enjoy family time, travel, outdoor activities, hiking and sports. 

What made you decide to drive electric? 

I wanted to be greener, and enjoy the quieter, smoother, more powerful drive of an EV. It was the next step from a previous hybrid vehicle.

How did you decide which EV to buy?  

I did my own research, talked to many EV owners regarding their experiences and test drove a few EVs. I had heard about the planned production of the more affordable Tesla Model 3 and made a reservation. While I was waiting, I rented a Tesla Model S for a 1,000-mile business trip to Ohio (that I normally would have flown to). By the end of the trip, I had no doubts that I wanted to go all-electric and that I wanted a Tesla. 

Do you charge at home? What charger do you use?  

I currently charge at home off of a standard 120V plug as a temporary measure until I finish wiring my garage for 240V service. I am using the standard package of plug adapters that Tesla provided with the car.

Not having to fit in a stop at a gas station each week is great: I have a “full tank” every morning.

Do you charge at work? Did that influence your decision to get an EV?    

I work out of a home office, so I do charge “at work”—in my garage. Regardless, this would not have influenced my decision, as my Model 3 is fine primarily using overnight home charging. Charging at work would be more important for those without a home charging solution, or for those with smaller batteries or longer commutes.  
 
What’s your favorite thing about driving electric? 

I have many favorite things about driving electric: 

  1. The instantaneous torque/acceleration makes every trip fun and, more importantly, made the countless merges into highway traffic (and avoidance of crazy drivers) easy and safer during our long trip. 

  1. Not having to fit in a stop at a gas station each week is great: I have a “full tank” every morning (as well as not having to smell the toxic gas fumes). 

  1. The smoothness and quietness of the ride is exceptional—and makes you feel like you are on a monorail. 

How much do you estimate you’re saving on gas?   

estimated that we saved around $2,000 (in gas costs versus electricity costs) during our 37-day trip (compared to my 2001 Volvo S60). I also saved on the cost of two or three oil changes that we would have otherwise needed during our 18,000+ mile trip.

What are some of the challenges about driving electric, or what’s surprised you?   

You do need to plan a bit more prior to longer trips. Recharging a battery takes longer than filling up a tank with gas; however, much of this time can be minimized by planning some of your charging stops with meal breaks and with your overnight hotel stays. I was surprised about how many public Level 2 chargers there were along our way—particularly ones with free charging at hotels. 
 
What’s your favorite place to charge? Where would you most want a charging spot?   

My favorite place to charge is AT HOME (where I expect nearly all of my charging to occur). I do not have a particular place where I want to see a charging spot—though I expect that in the not-too-distant future, there will be charging stations at every store, office and gathering place. 

Epic Tesla Road Trip with ChargePoint

I was surprised about how many public “Level 2” chargers there were along our way—particularly ones with free charging at hotels. 

How did you decide to take your road trip? What tools did you use to plan it?   

I was preparing to open a new structural engineering firm and had planned on fitting in a summer sabbatical first (to take some time off, do some traveling and spend time with my wife who has off from teaching for the summer). My brother Dave, who is a huge baseball fan, had recently retired and had more free time on his hands. With my new Model 3 arriving in the spring, these three events fell together nicely.   

My brother and I decided to take the new Model 3 on an epic road trip and chase the Holy Grail of baseball—driving to watch a baseball game in each of the 30 MLB ballparks. As the planning continued, I decided to also use the trip to help raise EV awareness and raise funds for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (through social media, TV interviews and our event website epicEVroadtrip.com).  

Regarding EV planning tools, I used the online trip planner at EVtripplanner.com to get a good idea of how long each leg of the trip was going to take (including charging) and to choose a schedule of games that provided enough time to drive, charge and sleep without missing a pitch of any game. 

Did you run into any surprises during the trip? 

The biggest surprise was when driving down a mountain in Colorado, we drove for over an hour (covering 54 miles, including many miles beyond the base of the mountain) and ended up with more charge than we started with, meaning we used no energy over this long leg. See photo of trip computer. (You can’t do that with gas! -Ed.) 

EVs at Altitude

We drove for over an hour (covering 54 miles, including many miles beyond the base of the mountain) and ended up with more charge than we started with, meaning we used no energy over this long leg.  

What’s one thing you think people should know about driving electric?    

Driving electric is a smoother, quieter, more fun and cleaner way to drive. Don’t be scared—take a test drive and do a little homework. Understand the charging solutions that are out there (at home, at work and on the road) and understand your normal commutes and desired range of the car you are considering. Driving electric is no longer something for the distant future—EVs are not only viable now, but are arguably some of the best vehicles on the road. The Model 3, in particular, is a phenomenal vehicle.

Driving electric is a smoother, quieter, more fun and cleaner way to drive.

What do you wish you’d known before you chose to drive electric?   

I did so much research prior to buying an EV that I have not had any significant surprises. The change from gas to electric has been smooth and painless. I cannot imagine ever purchasing a gas vehicle again. 

Thanks, Steve, and congrats on your trip. Don’t miss Steve’s own trip wrapup, with hot insider tips (like get the pork chop sandwich at Louisville Slugger field!) 

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