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Small town, big questions

March 29, 2019

After a day back in the office, it was time again on Thursday to buckle into the Bolt for another journey out of town. This time I'd be heading to Dilworth, Minn., for the annual meeting of Red River Valley Cooperative Power Association. It would be my second annual meeting of the week, and after having so much fun in Mahnomen, I was excited to jump back into the rotation!

To bring a little more joy to my day, my fully charged battery was anticipating 189 miles of range based on the driving conditions of my past trip. I hadn't seen that kind of range since early winter. Today was going to be a good day.

I'll get a whopping 189 miles? That's out-range-ous!

I would be driving around 85 miles to the Dilworth Community Center going interstate speeds (or a little below, because safety comes first). It was just below forty degrees, but I noticed right away that I wouldn't need to rely on heat - the sun was shining bright. I was nice and toasty. With a slight north wind pushing me along, I kept great efficiency and made it to Dilworth on just 25.8 kWh with 115 miles of range remaining.

Even though I was happy with my efficiency, the outside chill still zapped a bit of my battery power, as did driving 73 mph down the interstate (rated under Technique).

I stationed the EV near the entrance of the Community Center so folks could see it as they entered, and then set up shop inside to answer any questions Red River members may have. Red River's outgoing CEO, Lauren Brorby, greeted those who timidly peeked at the car and directed them inside to me when he was unsure of certain electric vehicle data. At one point he was surrounded by a small group of onlookers, so I decided to ditch my booth for a while to go help him out.

The main question from the crowd was not surprising - how is range affected in the winter? I explained that, in my windy, subzero travels across North Dakota, I experienced a drop in range of about 40 percent, which may seem high. But I explained that I was fully comfortable with warm cabin heat and that I could still get nearly 140 miles of range with worst-case-scenario conditions.

Not bad for what some see as a "toy car."

While outside, I also had an opportunity to chat with Joe Prosby from Felton, Minn. He drove to the annual meeting in his Tesla Model X - something I was surprised to see in the parking lot. You don't see a lot of Teslas around these parts! He said he absolutely loved his car and was looking into how to get set up with Red River's off-peak charging program. I could tell he would be a true advocate for the technology in this region, and I was fully prepared to call him out during my EV presentation later in the evening.

Red River Valley Cooperative Power's Lauren Brorby (left) chats with Joe Prosby about the benefits of going 100 percent electric on the road.

The annual meeting was a delight, with refreshments and coffee, a hearty meal and great conversation before the business items of the night. I spoke to the crowd about the technology and potential of electric vehicles in Minnesota - picking on my new friend, Joe - and offered to stick around after the meeting to answer any additional questions.

Red River's staff and board served up chicken and potatoes to the co-op members packing the house for the annual meeting.
The shades are always a hit, especially with the young crowd. I think we have some future EV drivers right here...

The new popular question for Kaylee after the meeting? "Are you sure you're going to make it home in that little car tonight?"

We had some comedians in the audience.

Luckily for me, I KNEW I could make it home in that little car tonight, and didn't even have to swing by one of Fargo-Moorhead's public charging stations to top off. As the sun went down, I had an easy-peasy cruise back north on the interstate and pulled into Minnkota headquarters with plenty of charge to spare.

Annual meeting season continues next week, so I'll be on the road again. Stay tuned for the Bolt's next adventure!

- Kaylee Cusack, Minnkota communications specialist

These cookies, man. They were frosted with the Red River Valley Cooperative Power Association logo. Amazing. Just amazing.

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