Slim Goes Electric

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While I’m into EVs and clean technology, one of my bigger things in life is the outdoors. Camping, travel, and all of that have been a lot of fun over the years and it’s definitely something I need to do more! So, between the YouTube videos about EVs and such I also watch a lot of videos about exploring the outdoors. One of my favorite channels for that is Slim Potatohead. He’s a stereotypically polite Canadian guy who has been all over North America sharing his stories. He almost always camps alone, but he always brings 175,000 friends along.

Cold Camping in an Aliner Part One: Boondocking - YouTube | Cold camping, Camping trailer, Camping
One of Slim Potatohead’s video thumbnails about camping with his small trailer.

What originally got me into watching his channel was that he’s interested in efficiency. He’s not driving an EV around, but for years he was pulling a small Aliner camper that folds up and using a small Jeep to do it. He’d track MPG and do things to make the whole setup work better. Eventually, I’d like to get my own Aliner to pull behind an EV, as it’s probably about the most efficient hard-sided camper there is.

More recently, he switched to fiberglass pod-type camper (like a Casita or a Scamp), but oddly found that he was getting slightly better MPG on his travels. But, the shell on his pickup probably is just a great match for the camper.

But, when I saw the video thumbnail below, I was a little shocked. Why would this older Canadian guy who’s happy with his camping setup go electric?? Would he be getting a Ford F-150 Lightning? Did he order a Rivian? Maybe he secretly had a Cybertruck order in! Anyways, as usual I clicked to watch the video, but maybe slightly faster than usual.

Instead of ruining the surprise for readers, I’ll go ahead and share the video so you can watch it yourself. The video won’t embed for some reason, but you can click here to watch it or click the image below. Besides, the image means you have to scroll down for any spoilers, right?


What Slim Ended Up Buying

It turns out Slim was being perfectly honest, but instead of picking up an expensive Chevy or a truck shaped like a doorstop, he did something that’s arguably cooler: he bought an e-bike!

He still had fun leaving us hanging making it look like he was buying an EV, though. He said he was coming back to camp with something special after going down to Phoenix, which is a reasonably likely place to pick up an EV. But, it was also April 1st, so who knew whether it would be an RC car or something.

He got a folding Lectric brand bike with a cargo rack. It’s an XP 3.0 with 20″ wheels, fat tires, and a long-range battery compared to the standard. The reason he went into Phoenix is that the company’s based out of Phoenix. He bought the bike, but did say that he got a small discount for being a YouTuber. So, this wasn’t a paid review or anything.

Riding It Around

After introducing the bike and putting on a helmet, he said “Now, I won’t kill myself.” and rode off. But, aside from some scrapes on his arm from his first e-bike crash, he came back in good shape. He also got some cool autonomous drone footage with it following him on the bike, some first-person footage, and more. He rode around on Jeep trails to show it off, but didn’t include footage of the crash.

Then, it was time to cook as he often does in his videos, and then he went on for some time sharing his experiences in the area near Saddle Mountain, including a steep and scenic hike to a cave and then a mountaintop. I won’t recap all that, because you’re probably mostly interested in his bike experience. But, feel free to watch the whole thing if you’re interested.

Later,  he got back on the bike and hit the Jeep trails again. He shares that he discovered the throttle, and even does a little burnout. He’s also aware that the throttle means less range. But, another thing he figured out was that the bike can’t quite make it up steeper hills without some pedaling. Sadly, he was disappointed that there’s no way to readily plug the bike into 12-volt DC. But, he has a Jackery power station he could use to charge the e-bike up. Typically, he charges the Jackery up while driving, but it could just as easily charge up using solar.

When he saw some clouds and possible rain moving in, he packed the bike up. His verdict? That the bike will be a good addition for future travels.

Electric Miles Are Electric Miles

Would it be ideal for Slim to get a Cybertruck? From an EV fan perspective, sure. Even if you’re like me and don’t like the avant-garde design, seeing people camp and tow more with EVs like the Lightning or Rivian would be cool. But, at the same time, he goes a lot of places where there are still no charging stations. Just this year alone, he’s gone to some places in New Mexico that I know were just unreachable by EV. That might become a viable option later, but it’s just not there yet.

That having been said, local jaunts on rough terrain can be some of the least environmentally friendly miles in an ICE truck or SUV. Going slow on rough terrain and idling the engine a lot means lots of gas burned and emissions sent up without going very fast. So, replacing some of those local exploring miles can be a big improvement.

After all, even if you’re not replacing all miles with electric, replacing some of them means that many fewer miles burning gas. A regular bike would be even better, but an e-bike means that you can just get out there and have fun until you’re tired, but still be able to easily come back to camp on throttle.

Featured image: screenshot from the Slim Potatohead YouTube Channel.

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Jennifer Sensiba

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.

Jennifer Sensiba has 1983 posts and counting. See all posts by Jennifer Sensiba