by Eric Cohen
4800 miles is a long drive. Particularly when it’s a new car with new technology. But after learning that the Tesla Model Y Performance with the new 4680 structural battery pack technology would only be available to the eastern two-thirds of the US, Steve Wilkes decided to take the plunge and take delivery in West Palm Beach, FL. Making a cross-country road trip had long been on his bucket list. It was made even more interesting with the potential to stop in Austin, TX to attend “Cyber Rodeo” – the grand opening of Tesla’s new Giga Factory.
Timing couldn’t have been better for Steve’s trip. After working with no vacation and burning the candle at both ends for 3.5 years, he was ready for a sabbatical. After the sabbatical, Steve would be ready for a job that would excite him, one that would be not just a “job.” During Covid, Steve became interested in electric vehicles – a natural outgrowth from his first venture at the age of 20, a car stereo installation business. “I’ve been involved with cars since I was 16. From minor fixes to rebuilding engines and transmissions, I know cars from the inside out.” His interest in cars – and EVs – expanded throughout his work as a CRM solutions architect with power companies. He began following EV YouTube channels, reading blogs, talking with people, etc. He then purchased a Tesla and there was no looking back! “After all my research, I realized that I wanted the latest and greatest model available. I felt an inner need to embark on an adventure and drive cross country. What a trip!”
One of Steve’s adventures occurred in New Mexico en route to Colorado where, three hours into his trip, he was getting to a point where he would not be able to make it to the next Supercharger – even though Tesla navigation had told him earlier he would have 30 to 40 miles to spare. “I knew I wouldn’t find a charger with the mileage I had left so I quickly turned around and rerouted to ensure I’d have chargers throughout the rest of my trip. That’s when I realized that I’d have to stop more often than I originally expected. At one point, I was down to two miles left. But I was lucky enough to find a charger! I later learned through an Elon tweet that zero does not actually mean zero – there’s a little energy kept in reserve. Other drivers have since determined there may be another 20-25 miles available.”
When asked what would have made his three-week trip even better, Steve quickly responded with two words – wireless charging. “I learned a lot on this trip. Everything has a wire. Why? We don’t need these huge cords that barely even reach the car. And who decided where chargers would be located? Some locations are really intimidating. I certainly wouldn’t want my wife or daughter to get out of the car and charge in those locations. This became really obvious when I found myself in the middle of nowhere late at night hoping a safer location would show up soon. But that’s not all. Back home, I find I’m always in a rush. I don’t always think about plugging in the car. It would be nice to know that the car is fully charged when I get in every morning. Wireless charging solves all these issues.” Couldn’t say it better myself, Steve.
If you would like to learn more about Steve’s experiences, tips, and advice related to driving without an internal combustion engine, he will soon be releasing a series of short videos on a new YouTube channel called “WoutICE”. http://youtube.com/@woutice