I’ve always been a huge fan of road trips. When I bought my used 2013 Tesla Model S in 2015, I opted to buy it halfway across the country in Columbus, Ohio and drive it the 4,180 kilometers home just to test out Tesla’s Supercharging network. Thank God it worked, as I didn’t have anything in the way of a backup plan.
Along the way, I stopped off at my brother’s house in Colorado Springs and in Las Vegas for CES before driving back home to the West Coast.
Little did I know at the time that the road trip seed planted that day by my Tesla Model S adventure would only continue to grow. It evolved into an annual and now twice annual road trips that see me heading off in random directions to mostly unplanned locations across the country. As with most things, COVID through a wrench into my plans these last few years but I’m back on track now with another trip planned for November 2022.
My first trip was messy. I legitimately didn’t have much more of a plan than a hostel booked a few hours away from Columbus for the first night. I just picked up the car and hit the road. On my first full day, I was on the road some 26 hours, driving, charging, and eating. I took naps in the car while charging and fondly recall trying to get some real sleep tucked up in the back of the car without much more than a jacket. It wasn’t comfortable, but it worked. I was adventuring.
That same desire to explore the world in an electric vehicle continued to burn in me and I increasingly improved my road trip processes. I loved how Supercharging broke up the monotonous drives. It gave me a chance to stretch, discard old coffee, pickup something to eat or drink and to move around. The electric car was so much smoother than gas cars and the lack of vibration from the engine made the long drives much more enjoyable.
I brought portable power stations along with me, cooking food and making coffee along the way. I evolved my sleeping setup, adding a roll up foam pad and a sleeping bag to make it easier to sleep in the car. I’m apparently a slow learning but I’m ok with that. I learn how I want to learn and I enjoy the process of finding out what matters along the way, then focusing on solutions.
We traded up to a Tesla Model 3 in 2018 and on my next solo road trip, I added in hotels and did some research along the way to find locations where I could more easily pull off to sleep. In the Model 3, we even took a family road trip from California up to see my brother in Colorado for the holidays. It worked out well and everyone came away enjoying the experience.
After running through these scenarios, a handful of times both in real life and in my head, I realized that my 6’2 frame was not well suited to sleeping in the model 3 with its trunk which required my hips to fit through the trunk pass through. The pure dimensions of the vehicle made this a challenge.
I was set on buying the Tesla Cybertruck as the ultimate off road, road tripping, family, work, utility vehicle but after numerous delays coupled with my own impatience, I pulled the trigger and bought a 2022 Tesla Model Y Performance in May 2022.
The Model Y fixes so many of the frustrations I had with a Tesla Model 3. Don’t get me wrong. The Tesla Model 3 is a great car, but my needs included things that most people don’t have on their list. I love the hatchback. I love that it was slightly taller, even the four extra inches of width were useful. I love that the rear hatch was motorized as compared to the manual trunk of the Model 3. I love that it was a performance model. Not that the extra horsepower really has any impact on road trips or camping, it’s just a hell of a lot of fun.
I had a bigger, more involved plan for my Tesla Model Y that would see it evolve into the ultimate off road, camp ready road trip machine. Stay tuned for details on the full build in another article.
All images credit: Kyle Field