A Tesla’s Trek: NW Montana to Salt Lake

Tesla Trek_Intro_Fully Charged

By: Wade Harris, FEC Research Analyst

Hi! I’m Wade Harris, and I’m taking my new Tesla Model 3 on an adventure to learn more about what it’s like to own an electric vehicle. In the past, I’ve shared the economic benefits of EVs, and the benefits to the quality of the air that we breathe. It’s easy to drive around town, to work and back, running errands, etc. We all know EVs have enough range to do that. But what about driving from Kalispell to Salt Lake City? I’m about to find out, and you can follow along on this journey as well!

The DriveToCONNECT EVent is sponsored by Touchstone Energy. Six teams in a variety of plug-in vehicles will drive from their co-ops and homes to Salt Lake City for the 2018 CONNECT Conference. Teams are asked to arrive by Monday evening (May 7) so they can be on-hand at the Touchstone Energy EV pre-conference workshop to share data, stories, and observations about the trip, about what it’s like to drive long distance – outside the co-op service territory, and what we as co-ops need to do to plan, prepare, and facilitate EV growth.

My Tesla Model 3 has several advantages compared to most EVs. It has a rated range of 310 miles, and access to Tesla’s Supercharger Network. This network of charging stations allow Tesla owners to drive long cross-country distances and quickly charge their cars along the way. It’s not much different than taking a convenience break at a rest stop, gas station or food mart.

Flathead Electric Co-op’s team is “Pure Glacier Energy”, composed of me and my Tesla. I’m excited to get started.

Here’s my itinerary:

  • Day 1 (Friday May, 4): Leaving early afternoon, destination Billings, to visit Mom and Dad. One or two stops to charge.
  • Day 2 (Saturday, May 5): Catch up with my family, work on the “honey do” list for my folks.
  • Day 3 (Sunday, May 6): Go to Sunday Meeting, go for a bike ride, and mow the lawn. Get to bed early for a big drive on Monday
  • Day 4 (Monday, May 7): Drive from Billings to SLC, leaving at 4 AM so I can make it to a service appointment with Tesla at 3 PM. This is a BIG drive, even if my car ran on gasoline! Hopefully autopilot will make the trip a little easier.
  • Day 5 (Tuesday, May 8): Touchstone Energy EV pre-conference workshop, including test drives in the afternoon. It’s fun to show people how different and wonderful the Tesla Model 3 really is.
  • Day 6 (Wednesday, May 9): The long drive home, back to the Flathead Valley from SLC.

I’ll be posting several times throughout my trip, so check back on the blog to see how it’s going!