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Electric outreach in Ada

June 24, 2019

With vacations, conferences and deadlines stacking up for the Communications team at Minnkota, I was the last person at the end of the bench available to take the Bolt out to the Norman County Fair in Ada, Minn.

The first day of summer, June 21, would be my first official EV outreach adventure. I’ve driven the Bolt a few times, but I had no solo trips under my belt.

The pressure was on.

Thankfully, the 135-mile round trip would be fairly simple with no concerns about needing to charge the vehicle. The cool summer day meant that I would be using the climate controls sparingly and the only thing impacting the car’s performance would be the strong winds gusting from the south.

Taking I-29 down toward Ada, I was reminded how much I like driving the Bolt. The smooth acceleration and quiet performance are really impressive when you’re used to driving an older SUV.

Upon arrival at the fairgrounds, Red River Valley Cooperative Power Association rolled out the red carpet (Thanks, Wayne!) for Bolty in front of the Coliseum building where the co-op had its member engagement booth set up. With the music stage on my left and the lineup of food trucks on my right, it was a perfect spot to engage with fairgoers.

Wayne (right) with Red River Valley Cooperative Power Association helped chat with people about the EV.

The EV intrigue almost matched the appetite for food and entertainment.  

“Where do you charge?”

“How does it perform in the winter?”

“When is there going to be an electric pickup?”

I even had a local law enforcement officer ask how fast it goes. Nice try. It only goes the posted speed limit, officer.

For followers of this blog, these questions are a routine part of taking the car out to any event. The educational curve is still there in our area, but I did receive positive comments from people who have seen the Bolt around the region. Progress!

After a full day of the fair, I had to grab a pulled pork sandwich from Erickson Smokehouse – a favorite from my hometown. I also grabbed some mini donuts, because, why not?

When in Ada, do as the fairgoers do.

Upon arriving back in Grand Forks, I learned that I used about 44 kilowatt-hours (kWh) to travel 135 miles. In layman’s terms, my driving efficiency was…less than stellar. I’ll attribute that to the wind speeds and the higher-speed interstate driving. Nevertheless, I left with 190 miles of anticipated range and arrived home with 44 miles of range to spare.

Things were looking great on the terrain and outside temperature fronts. It was that interstate driving (technique) that was killer.

This may be my first and last post to the blog. I don’t think they’re quite ready to hang my jersey from the EV outreach rafters, but I did have a lot of fun hearing people’s opinions on the future of EV technology.

- Ben Fladhammer, Minnkota communications manager

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