Tesla Rally Brings Electric Car Enthusiasts to Custer
May 27, 2018  Al Van Zee


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The Tesla Rally in Custer is a unique event that is drawing Tesla owners
from all over the country.  Last weekend, the rally attracted a record
number of electric vehicles.

Tesla owners are not shy about their cars.  They love to talk about what
they see as the advantages of electric cars, and most are willing to give
you a ride to demonstrate what they're talking about.

"And I've given over a thousand people their first ride in an electric car,
and not one person has had a bad thing to say about that ride," Rapid City
resident Tesla owner Mike Harmon said.  

"It's fast and it's beautiful.  It's just excellent," Redwood City,
California resident Dawn Gordon-Wylie said. 

So, performance is usually the primary thing Tesla owners love about their
cars.  In fact, the Tesla Model S is ONE of the fastest, if not THE fastest,
production car in the country.  

" The new ones go zero to sixty in two-and-a-half seconds,"rally organizer
Rod Hoffman said. 

Much of that neck-snapping acceleration is due to the fact that electric
motors have much higher torque at low RPM, compared to gasoline engines.  

 I've driven the Model S before, and I can testify to its amazing
performance, especially off the starting line.  And I was eager to find out
if that performance continued with Tesla's new, lower-priced Model 3. 

 W. Frank Horn is a Tesla owner from Bijou, Colorado. In fact, he owns two
Teslas: a Model S and a Model 3, which he took to the Custer Rally this
year.  He allowed me to take the wheel of his new Model 3.

The kick you get on acceleration is almost too much to believe. 
The Model 3 is remarkably quick. And like its Model S stablemate, downright
amazing if you punch it. 

The next thing Tesla owners will emphasize is ease of maintenance. The
simple mechanical design of the electric car, which amounts to a big battery
and a relatively small electric motor, means that there are fewer moving
parts, and fewer things to break.

"I just took it in for a 30,000 mile tuneup, and they rotated the tires, and
they added windshield wiper fluid. So there's like no maintenance," Hoffman

"It requires no tuneups, and no oil changes," Frank Horn said.

Horn says one of the big advantages of an electric car is the lower cost of
what could be called its fuel equivalent. And he says charging at home means
that he leaves the house each morning with a full take of fuel. He says his
Model 3 has a range of 300-plus miles. 

"I haven't been to a gas stations since June 15 of 2016. So I find it
incredibly inconvenient to go to a gas station," Horn said.

 "I plug it in overnight and it's charged in the morning. So I really
haven't experienced the whole range anxiety thing," Hoffman said.

"It was costing me about 27 cents a mile to drive my BMW.  And when I bought
the Tesla it dropped to 3.6 cents a mile," Harmon said. 

Tesla's new, mid-priced Model 3 is expected to change the landscape of the
electric car market once again. The older Model S was priced in the $100,000
range. The Model 3 starts at about $35,000. It's even less if you live in a
state that offers rebates.  

"That's makes it affordable and it makes the cost-per-gallon analysis really
pencil out nice," interested buyer Chris Quail said.

"You get essentially the equivalent of 100 miles per gallon on. It makes it
an economic investment," Hoffman said. 

The Custer Chamber of Commerce has been sponsoring the Tesla Rally, and
Chamber officials say it demonstrates an awareness of cutting edge
technology and new ways of doing things. And, its also simply good public
relations for the Black Hills.

"Right now, with our superchargers we have and all the destination charging
we have, we have 30 charging stations in town, so it's perfect to have an
event like this and it's really grown. The first year we had ten, and we
just passed 60. We have 60 Tesla's in town," director of the Custer Chamber
of Commerce David Ressler said. 

Along with the drivers, the Rally also attracts hundreds who simply want to
find out what the electric car thing is all about.

"We just love having these people in the Hills. I think they love driving
around here."
"A great vehicle. And this is wonderful that Custer does this for us. It's
great," with the Custer Chamber of Commerce Kelly Miller said. 

One of the final events for the Tesla drivers and their passengers was a
group photo at Crazy Horse. They're all friends, they say, with a common
enthusiasm for the electric car and for the positive changes they say it
will bring.
[© 2018 KELOLAND TV]
Custer Chamber of Commerce
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