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Figure 1: Old fossil-powered Ford Mustang, electric Ford Mustang Mach-E, and Tesla Model 3. Photo by Zach Shahan, CleanTechnica.

Clean Transport

Open Your Eyes: Battery Electric Cars, Bikes, Tools, & Toys Everywhere — Life In An All-Electric Future (Part 1)

I don’t live in California where the sales of BEVs are over 15% of the market for new vehicles. My wife and I spend 5 months of the summer in Northern Wisconsin and the winter months in Northern Utah and in Saint George in Southern Utah. Teslas are multiplying like rabbits here in Northern Utah. I frequently find myself behind another Tesla in traffic, and we have many days with Tesla sightings of over 10. Yesterday, we saw 17. I am also seeing other EV brands (see Figures 5 and 6) as well as battery electric bikes, tools, and toys everywhere.

Electric Landscaping Equipment

I personally don’t like leaf blowers. At our lake house in Northern Wisconsin, we just let the leaves lie. If I absolutely need to remove leaves, they have these things called rakes that have probably been used for hundreds of years. However, I see people using gas-powered leaf blowers all the time. We spend quite a lot of time staying at our daughter’s condominium home in southern Utah, where all the landscaping service for her tiny yard is done by the property association. I dread the days the army of landscapers come by with their gas-powered leaf blowers, which are so loud they could wake the dead. Why not very quiet battery-electric leaf blowers? I’m working on getting the landscaping service to replace their gas-motor leaf blowers with electric ones.

Figure 2: Maintenance man with battery-electric leaf blower. Springdale, Utah. November 10, 2022. Photo by Fritz Hasler.

A couple weeks ago, we were just leaving Zion National Park and I saw a leaf blower in action, but couldn’t hear it. The person (see above) was working for a landscaping company and they have multiple batteries for the leaf blower, which are also used for their electric chainsaw and other tools, as well as bigger batteries for their electric lawnmowers.

Figure 3: My neighbor. Battery electric leaf blower. Lindon, Utah. November 24, 2022. Photo by Fritz Hasler.

A few days ago, I noticed my neighbor just across the street using a leaf blower that I could barely hear (see Figure 3). He said he has been using his Ryobi-brand battery electric leaf blower from Home Depot for two years already. He says that he has weed whacker and edger attachments as well. He also has an electric corded head attachment that he bought to use in case he ran down his battery. He said that he has never had the occasion to use it. He has a Chevy Volt for transportation.

Electric Surfboards

Figure 4: E-surfboarder. Big Stone Lake, Three Lakes, Wisconsin. July 13, 2022. Photo by Fritz Hasler

I described battery-electric surfboards in a previous article. They may not be replacing fossil-fueled vehicles or tools, but they are fun. See one “in the wild” on my home lake in Northern Wisconsin in Figure 4.

Electric Cars Besides Teslas “In the Wild”

We read about Tesla EVs for years before actually seeing one in real life. More recently, we’ve read about other brands of EVs, like the Ford Mustang Mach-E and the Rivian and Ford F-150 Lightning pickup trucks. I am just starting to see them on the streets in Utah and Wisconsin.

Figure 5: Ford Mustang Mach-E at Holiday Service Station. Lehi, Utah. November 26, 2022. Photo by Fritz Hasler.

The Ford Mustang Mach-E in Figure 5 was charging at a Holiday Service Station Level 3 fast charger, with a Level 2 charger in the adjacent stall. This is the first time I have seen a fast charger as part of the “original equipment” at a new service station. Kwik Trip has put chargers in its new service stations in Wisconsin, but they are virtually useless Level 1 chargers.

Figure 6: Rivian electric truck. Lehi, Utah. October 28, 2022. Photo by Fritz Hasler.

I’ve been on the lookout for electric cars ever since the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt came out in 2012. I now frequently see over 10 Teslas per day in Utah. You can also still see an occasional Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt. Recently, a gorgeous tan Rivian pickup truck drove by my house, and later in the day I saw the blue one (see Figure 6) in American Fork on my daily bike ride. Later the same day, I saw a Ford Mustang Mach-E (see Figure 5). Yesterday, a Genesis EV blew by me on I-15. Bottom line: EVs from multiple companies are beginning to appear “in the wild” even in a US state which is not California. Perhaps you are noticing the same.

Figure 7: Tesla EVs lined up for a parade, high school parking lot. Three Lakes, Wisconsin. July 4, 2022. Photo by Fritz Hasler.

Depending on the week, you can find 7 Teslas on one small street (Bonkowski Road) where we spend the summers in Northern Wisconsin. In Figure 7, you can see red, white, and blue Teslas lined up for the 4th of July parade at our annual “Electric Avenue” EV promotion event.

Figure 8: Window sleaner supplied. Tesla Supercharger in Evansville (Casper), Wyoming. September 29, 2022. Photo by Mary Hasler

Compared to other brands of EVs, long-distance travel with Tesla vehicles is almost as trouble-free as you can imagine, but there is still room for improvement.  Tesla Superchargers are strategically placed along all the major Interstate highways in the U.S. We bought our Tesla Model 3 in October of 2019. We commute from Utah to Wisconsin in the spring and back in the fall. We have also made jaunts to the east and west coasts. We have never had to wait for a stall or found one without working chargers. However, bathrooms, fast food, and restaurants often require more walking than at traditional service stations. Also, until the Supercharger in Casper Wyoming last summer (see Figure 8), we had never seen one with windshield cleaning fluid, a bug sponge/windshield squeegee, and waste paper baskets. Toilets were also available a few feet across the parking lot. Improvements keep popping up for EV drivers.


Figure 9: My wife Mary and our dog Zuni with two ebikes behind our Tesla Model 3. Oacoma, South Dakota Supercharger. Photo by Fritz Hasler.

Several times now, we have driven cross country in our Tesla Model 3 with two heavy ebikes on back. For much more on those experiences, see: “Westward Ho! 1500 Miles In My Tesla Model 3 Long Range With 2 Mountain Ebikes: Cost, Supercharging, Tips.”

See part two of this two-part exploration of electric vehicles and other machines benefiting our lives: Open Your Eyes: Battery Electric Cars, Bikes, Tools, & Toys Everywhere — Life In An All-Electric Future (Part 2).

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Arthur Frederick (Fritz) Hasler, PhD, former leader of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization & Analysis Laboratory (creator of this iconic image), and avid CleanTechnica reader. Also: Research Meteorologist (Emeritus) at NASA GSFC, Adjunct Professor at Viterbo University On-Line Studies, PSIA L2 Certified Alpine Ski Instructor at Brighton Utah Ski School.


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