Midwest Electric’s power supplier, Tri-State Generation and Transmission, wanted its customers to get exposure to electric vehicles.
To do so, Tri-State purchased six different electric vehicles to loan to their members, who in turn could share with their customer base.
On July 1, Midwest Electric manager Jason Bishop drove a Tesla 3 back to Grant for a month-long trial.
Elon Musk’s vision of a mainstream all-electric car for the masses has made the Tesla one of the most popular and recognizable electric cars in the country.
Bishop said the ingenuity of the Tesla, as well as the performance of the vehicle, has surprised those who have taken a test drive.
He said Midwest employees were able to take the car home overnight to test it out, as well.
One of the biggest surprises, Bishop said, occurs when the driver steps on the foot feet and the sheer acceleration sets them back in their seats.
The dash looks nothing like that of a regular car. In fact, most of the features in the car are controlled through a large touch screen in the middle of the dash.
Bishop said the car’s battery, which sits in the undercarriage of the vehicle, can power the car for up to 300 miles.
Tesla has installed charging stations around the country, in cities and along interstates, for Tesla customers.
One such station is located just off the interstate in Ogallala, east of McDonalds.
The station has eight charging banks and can recharge the vehicle in 30-40 minutes at a cost of around $7.
Other stations in out-state Nebraska include Sidney, Gothenburg and Grand Island, plus Lincoln.
The car can also be charged at home with either a 110-volt or 220-volt outlet. He said it charges faster on 220 volts vs. the 110.
Bishop said each time he takes the car to Ogallala to charge it, there are always other Tesla owners who have stopped to charge their vehicles.
Tri-State is in the midst of a major transformation as it moves to more green energy production through solar and wind.
Tri-State has relied on coal-fired generation in Colorado and New Mexico. However, both states have passed legislation that bans all coal-related generation by 2030.
Tri-State sees electric vehicles as a new market down the road, Bishop said. Loaning out the electric vehicles gives people exposure to green alternatives to fossil-fueled vehicles.
Bishop had planned to offer test drives during local events. However, due to COVID-19, most of those events were cancelled.