A Family’s Tour of Minnesota State Parks Goes Electric
August 27, 2020 | Marie Donahue | Education
As many across Minnesota look for new ways to explore the outdoors, Bjorn Watland of Saint Paul and his family found a way to do so with the help of their electric vehicle (EV).
An active member of the MN EV Owners community, Watland shared on social media how he and his family organized weekend road trips to Minnesota state parks using their EV, a growing network of EV chargers, and a little creativity.
“We wanted to visit all of the state parks with our five-year-old and this was a good way to spend weekends together, get some exercise and see some interesting nature. We visited every Minnesota state park in an EV, except for Garden Island State Park, which is an island.”
Bjorn Watland, Saint Paul electric vehicle owner.
The adventure started with the family’s first trip to Afton State Park in March. Then, throughout weekends in May, June, and July, the family planned visits to the remaining parks.
“On a good weekend, we could usually visit six or seven parks, sometimes more, spending about an hour at each park to hike and find geocaches,” Watland explained.
Fitting in multiple stops and longer trips required accounting for their vehicle’s range and available charging infrastructure.
“We have a long range Tesla Model 3, so much of the state can be reached by charging at Superchargers,” Watland noted.
Although EV charging infrastructure is growing in Minnesota and some state parks, including Big Bog State Recreation Area and the Tettegouche State Park Visitor’s Center which have EV charging onsite, there are still gaps in remote areas of the state.
Looking only at PlugShare, an online map displaying available EV charging nationwide, Watland was not certain visiting all the state parks would be possible. This meant the family had to get creative about where and how to charge their vehicle.
“Rather than renting a car,” Watland shared, “we looked into camping at state parks. Many parks have electric camping spaces for RVs. That was the ticket to traveling all the way from Ely to Hallock across the whole north of the state.”
The Watland family would plug in their EV at their campsite and let it charge overnight, giving them time to set up camp and enjoy the surrounding park. When the vehicle had enough of a charge the following day, the Watlands were off on their EV road trip to the next park on their list.
Ready to plan your family’s EV adventure?
If you don’t own an EV, now is a great time to explore your options and start driving electric. Minnesota has an ambitious vision for growing the state’s charging network, much of which is already underway.
Some of this expansion is being funded by the Volkswagen Settlement, and other growth will come from forward-looking cities, campuses, and employers, utilities like Xcel Energy, Great River Energy, and Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, and many more.
This blog was originally published on the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) website.
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