Becker County

Charged Up in Detroit Lakes: My first EV ride and drive adventure

January 2024

Kyle and PdonOn August 12, 2023, I stepped into the world of electric vehicles (EVs) in Detroit Lakes, Minn. attending my first EV Ride and Drive event. Just two weeks into my AmeriCorps service term, this opportunity introduced me to the field I would be navigating.

I was particularly interested in connecting with the EV owners — it was the perfect time to ask the questions I accrued during my first two weeks on the job. I connected with Pdon, an EV owner from the Twin Cities who graciously allowed me to test drive his Tesla Model 3. We talked about battery life in EVs, and how Tesla batteries are meant to last 300,000-500,000 miles. He then explained that by the time you reach 300,000 miles, you will have spent a fraction of the amount on maintenance and fuel that you would have spent with a combustion engine car. This helped me understand how affordable EVs can be.

Test Drives

Four EVs were available to test drive and 26 people participated: 14 test drove the Ford Mustang Mach-E, 8 drove the Ford F-150 Lightning, followed by the Chevrolet Bolt with 5, and Tesla Model 3 with 4. I was intrigued by the growing interest in Mach-E over Tesla. It made me realize that consumer preferences will continue to change as the EV market expands, paving the way to even more innovation. 

In our post-event survey, fuel and maintenance savings, and a quiet and smooth ride ranked highest for benefits, with biggest barriers related to initial costs and a fear of reduced winter driving capabilities. Overall, every person that test drove a vehicle reported they were more knowledgeable about EVs after the event and were more open to owning an EV themselves.

EV Truck


The event included presentations from EV owners, such as the Ford F-150 owner who shared his initial concerns about range anxiety and our cold climate. He revealed the shift in his perspective. His truck’s 320 mile range rivals that of any regular combustion vehicle, and he has an abundance of charging stations available through At home — where 80% or more of charging happens — he charges up to 25 miles of range per hour with a level 2 charger. Other owners shared similar experiences.

Presentations at the Detroit Lakes event

J. Drake Hamilton offered a glimpse into the Inflation Reduction Act incentives shaping the EV ecosystem. Various federal incentives reduce the financial barriers associated with purchasing an EV — up to a $7,500 tax credit for new EVs and $4,000 for used. State rebates are also available

Rebates are also available for a different kind of electric transportation, e-bikes! I tested various models at the event. I could feel the weightlessness of the e-bike propelling me forward, even going up steep hills with minimal effort! The Electric-Assisted Bicycle Rebate Program offers a rebate of up to 75% off the purchase price of a bike (up to $1,500 based on income). A $2,000 e-bike would only cost me $500! 

Kyle riding an e-bike

I learned a lot from this event, most notably that connecting with people is at the heart of EV adoption. Many people are intrigued by the idea of owning an EV, but are held back by barriers. Understanding these barriers helps us address them. There are a lot of misconceptions out there, and educating people will be an ongoing process as EV technology continues to advance.

2023 Lakes Area Electric Vehicle Event

Sign up for our email newsletter

We encourage reuse and republishing of this story. All Clean Energy Resource Teams stories are made available under the Creative Commons Attribution license, meaning you can share and adapt the work as long as you give us credit. We'd also love it if you link back to the original piece. Have questions or want to chat? Drop us a line.