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Sweepstakes winners loved their electric ride

Two ECE members drove a Tesla Model S for a week last fall as winners of our first Electrify Your Ride sweepstakes. They came away from the experience wowed by the car and confident that EVs have a promising future. 

Calenn Heppner, Foreston, MN, and Lindsay Izzard, Foxboro, WI, had never driven an electric vehicle when our sweepstakes notice appeared on their email. Both had provided their email addresses to us when they downloaded the SmartHub app.

A mechanical engineer who works in downtown Minneapolis, Calenn and his wife have five children and another on the way. He took the car on three 120-mile round trips to Minneapolis, made a few short trips into Milaca, and traveled to Cedar Rapids, IA, on the weekend.

“We plugged our Iowa destination into the Tesla navigation system, and it plotted our route via Supercharger locations to make sure we got there. That was one of my favorite features of the car,” Calenn said.

While it took over an hour extra to get to Iowa, he said it was fun to go to each Tesla Supercharger site and charge-up for free in 30-45 minutes. At home, he was able to charge the car to full battery every night on a 240v outlet, giving him a range of over 230 miles.

Calenn praised the quickness and handling of the Tesla, as well as the style and comfort, but he questioned the practicality of any EV for a family his size. He also has concerns about not being able to repair or maintain the car himself.

Lindsay and her husband have two kids and live 10 miles south of Superior, WI. She works in Duluth as a registered nurse. She drove the car at least 1.5 hours each day and charged it on the 240v outlet in their garage four to five times during the week.

“It was so smooth and quiet…lots of bells and whistles. I liked the questions from onlookers. There really was nothing I didn’t like,” she said. “Honestly, the only thing that would keep me from buying an EV is the price.”

The Electrify Your Ride sweepstakes was sponsored in September by our power supplier, Great River Energy, and its 28-member co-ops, including ECE. Minnesota Power and Otter Tail Power were also sponsors.

“Electric vehicles have become a viable option for car buyers,” said Justin Jahnz, ECE Manager, Energy Services and Strategic Projects. “Not everyone can purchase a Tesla Model S, but many manufacturers have added EVs to their inventory at prices comparable to gas-powered vehicles. Range of over 200 miles is common. Our 7 cents-per-kWh nighttime and weekend charging rate is equivalent to buying gasoline for less than 80 cents per gallon.” 

Lindsay Izzard, Jennifer Veeser, Justin Jahnz
Winner Lindsay Izzard (L)
ECE Manager, Member Services, Jennifer Veeser
ECE Manager, Energy Services and Strategic Projects, Justin Jahnz

Justin Jahnz and Calenn Heppner
Winner Calenn Heppner (R)
ECE Manager, Energy Services and Strategic Projects, Justin Jahnz

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