Rolf Oetter and Silke Sommerfeld left Vancouver on Saturday in their Tesla Model X on their way east across Canada to Newfoundland. They expect their 6,000 mile journey to take about 3 months. Their dog Kyle is going along for the ride. The Model X is towing a travel trailer specially modified by Rolf to gather electricity from solar panels.
They have been thinking about a cross Canada tour for ten years. “We originally thought we would do it in a motor home, but then we switched to a model X, an electric car,” said Silke. “All of a sudden, driving a motor home across Canada with all the gas involved didn’t feel right anymore. So we thought of alternatives.” They say the purpose of their trip is to prove electric vehicle travel is possible over long distances. “It’s a good way to combine something that we always wanted to do, with something that we want to do now,” she added.
Part of the reason for the trip is to help raise awareness on sustainable energy and transportation. “It’s not so much about one particular brand, it’s about electric cars in general,” she says. “I’m looking forward to going places I’ve never been before, I’m curious what all of that will be like. I think meeting people will be very, very interesting. I just love Canada.”
Rolf Oetter, a German engineer, modified the trailer for the trek. “This trailer is designed to be never plugged in because we need the plug for the car. I installed 800 watts of solar panels and just over five kilowatt hours of lithium ion batteries similar to the ones that are actually in the car,” Oetter said. He says he can get 30 to 40 extra kilometers of range by using the batteries in the trailer to help power the car. .
The couple is not affiliated with or endorsed by Tesla Motors. “This trip is our idea,” says Silke. “All we want is to raise awareness and bring electric cars closer to as many people as possible.” They will blog throughout their trip and will also answer questions through social media. “We have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube accounts. You have a question? Send it our way and we will try our best to answer it,” Sommerfeld says.
Source: Vancouver Island News Photo credit: Instagram