On Saturday, Tesla owners converged on Atlanta to make a powerful statement and support the local Atlanta Tesla community in setting a world record while fighting human trafficking. A portion of the GA 400, one of North Atlanta’s main highways, was closed down to allow for the Tesla Parade — a fleet of 340 Tesla vehicles — participating in the setting of a Guinness World Record.
Shutting down the freeway for 30 minutes was the most challenging issue. Thanks to @georgiapowerET for arranging that. That might not happen in California. @DougTurnbull @mckayWSB @MikeShieldsWSB @wsbradio @AshleyFrascaWSB @StauntonUK @JMPyper @kcboyce @NewEnergyGuy @GDOTATL pic.twitter.com/ELGprNjcsz
— Tim Echols (@timechols) December 13, 2020
That was just part of the event — the important part was supporting a nonprofit organization that is fighting human trafficking. I will note that I saw many Q-Anon references in the comments, so I encourage you if you’re worried to do your research into human trafficking and look up the nonprofit we supported — Our Underground Railroad. While Q-Anon does exist, so does actual human trafficking, and if you’re concerned, again, feel free to do your own research. In fact, I challenge you to do it.
342 Teslas. $10K+ raised to fight human trafficking. We love the #TeslaCommunity. #TeslaRecord @OURrescue @Milesthrutime @seanmathis @TeslaTn @TeslaAtlanta @elizableu pic.twitter.com/Tj9BMbFjMK
— TesBros (@teslabros) December 14, 2020
I got to speak with reps from both the Tesla Owners Club of Atlanta and the Tesla Owners Club of Tennessee, who provided the full support of their clubs to help make this event the huge success it was. Honestly, my friend Hart and I had no idea that it was going to get this big — many people told me that they were doubting that we’d have such a huge turnout. It was truly a beautiful sight to see — a MARTA parking lot filled with Teslas, then the parade onto GA 400. Having lived in Atlanta and considering it my second home, I can tell you that this highway is never, ever empty, so seeing it empty with all of us was one of the most surreal experiences I’ve ever had.
There were a lot Tesla pic.twitter.com/9i0bBZ6FHD
— Tesla Owners Tennessee (@TeslaTn) December 12, 2020
I also reached out to the Tesla Owners Club of Atlanta to see if they were interested in reflecting upon the event. I was emailed the following joint statement from the Tesla Owners Club of Atlanta and the Tesla Owners Club of Tennessee.
Statement from Tesla Owners Clubs of Atlanta and Tennessee:
“Saturday morning in Atlanta was special for the Tesla community and the Tesla Owners Club Program. First, we’d like to thank Sean Mathis, his wife Torie, and the Miles Through Time Automotive Museum for hosting the event. Tesla Atlanta was first introduced to Sean and Miles Through Time 3-4 months ago when we reached out to him through Facebook after seeing one of his first posts about his idea. We offered the support of the Tesla Owners Club of Atlanta and our regional Owners Club partners, including the Tesla Owners Club of Tennessee. Sean was very excited to be able to work with us, and his enthusiasm was contagious.
“Sean knew it would be a challenge to host something like this during a pandemic, and that was really the main consideration in all aspects of the planning. We spent many hours on phone calls debating and asking ourselves the question, ‘what can we do to make this event more COVID friendly.’ During these tough times, it’s always the ‘easy’ answer to not do something. However, we knew the Tesla community is resilient, and Sean decided to proceed with hosting the event.
“From past experience with their annual RayDay event, we knew Allie Kelly of The Ray and Commissioner Tim Echols immediately needed to be involved. They were extremely receptive to the idea, and we cannot underscore the breadth of their support. Commissioner Echols was able to secure all necessary government-level permissions to make the event possible and Allie brought volunteers and the support of Georgia Power, who sponsored the escort-permit required to shut down the roads along the parade route.
“Under the direction of Miles Through Time, the Tesla Owners of Tennessee and Tesla Owners of Atlanta leadership teams were tasked with designing the check-in system to meet the strict Guinness requirements of having to account for every vehicle. On Saturday, we jokingly tweeted ‘Staging lot logistics powered by Tesla Atlanta and Tesla Tennessee logistics team,’ but, in all reality, it was true. A handful of people spent a significant amount of time designing that system, and it worked flawlessly. Ultimately, you could have participated in the event without rolling down your window or leaving your vehicle, and that was the goal in every aspect of the event’s design. The line moved smoothly, and we were able to capture the data we needed from every participant, and safely park 340 Teslas in a rather timely fashion, all while maintaining social distancing.
“Despite the extensive planning, this wouldn’t have been possible without our volunteers, including those from the FreeChapel. The support and energy they brought to the check-in area was amazing. Something as simple as putting a small neon dot sticker on top of another sticker, something that seemed so simple to them, meant so much to us, the Tesla Community, and the Guinness attempt. They were more than willing to do whatever we asked, whether it was the stickers, or making sure a GoPro was still recording. Commissioner Echols, selflessly directing traffic on a Saturday morning. Allie Kelly and her team, putting vinyl decals on cars. Our QR code team, our traffic team, our parking team — everyone working together to accomplish a common goal was phenomenal, and a true testament to the strength of the Tesla, and Atlanta, community.
“It was as car 300 was pulling into the lot, that we first realized the true magnitude of what we were doing. The President of Tesla Owners of Tennessee, a personal friend, walked over, giving a (socially-distant) elbow bump, saying ‘we did it.’ At that moment, as we looked out at the sea of Teslas, was when we both fully realized that, yep, we did do it, as well as the true scope of the event. You can envision cars pulling into the lot, you can make diagrams of the process, but nothing is like the actual thing. It’s extremely hard to encapsulate the joy we both felt at that moment, of both seeing our hard work pay off, and seeing the selfless work of so many volunteers working together, while maintaining COVID safety and social distancing, to check in a record amount of Teslas. We’ll both remember that elbow bump for a long time.
“Standing there, we were overjoyed to see a parking lot filled with EV’s, especially in the South. It is a sign that real change has come to the region, but is only a small preview of the things to come. Through the Tesla Owners Club Program, our mission is to assist in providing the education and understanding of electric vehicles and accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable energy, one car, one owner, and one interaction at a time. There was not a better display of this mission than the event yesterday. The community’s response to this event during these difficult times was greater than we could have ever imagined, and deserves a resounding applause. Saturday was the coolest moment we’ve both had as Tesla owners, and we believe many of the participants would agree. As a community, we set an unofficial record for the most amount of Teslas in a parade, and raised over $8,000 (and counting) to fight human trafficking.
“As for next year, we’ve learned a lot, and we’ve already had several discussions on what we could improve upon for a future event of this caliber. From the Tesla Owners Club’s perspective, both Atlanta and Tennessee are willing to support making another, even larger, attempt with the outstanding support of the local partners we’ve established through this year’s event. To stay informed, Tesla owners can register for our clubs here and here.”
.@BrookhavenGA_PD was on hand along with 12 State Patrol Motorcycles who lead the way. Special thanks to @alpharettagov and @SandySprings_PD for their help as well. https://t.co/Xgw1cnbgPC
— Tim Echols (@timechols) December 13, 2020
mission accomplished. https://t.co/7TiKkeOMVY
— Tesla Owners Atlanta (@TeslaAtlanta) December 12, 2020
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