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Electric Car Enthusiast Brings 20-K-mile Cross-Country Trip to CNY

Chris Bolt/WAER News

  Sales of electric and hybrid cars continue to inch up…though most drivers still stick to vehicles that need gas for a variety of reasons.  WAER’s Chris Bolt met up with a cruising crusader traveling through Syracuse who’s trying to change some minds.

First off, Steve Sasman says he just didn’t want to be in Phoenix for the summer.  Instead he’s on what he says - and many would agree - is a bucket list kind of trip.  Driving from Phoenix here to Upstate New York, then down to Florida, criss-crossing the US back to the Northwest, then down the California coast back to Arizona.  But he won’t spend a nickel on gas. 

“These cars are amazing road-trip vehicles.  They’re not stuck in one little area.  You can really use them to go anywhere.  And in fact, it almost encourages you to travel because it’s free.”

Now he’s doing it in an expensive all electric car made by Tesla…their model “S”.  But along the trip he’s getting the usual questions about electric cars’ limitations.

Credit Chris Bolt/WAER News
The Tesla dash board indicates charging needs and energy consumption along with other high-tech features. It also points out the next charging station on your route.

  “How does it work? How far does it go? What kind of economies does it have in terms of how expensive it is to operate?  I get those questions all today long but I’m still happy and excited to answer them”

Now the Tesla can go 270 miles on a charge…but Sasman says electric cars with more limited range are still really useful if you plan it right.

“Your gas station, if you will, is in garage.  So you wake up with a full tank every morning without doing anything.  It’s just like plugging in your cell phone.  And even on a Nissan Leaf or what have you, one of those you really can’t road trip, but you can commute around town in the same fashion.”

Plus there are more and more charging stations in public and at work places. 

(Comparison of all current model electric cars)

Now Sasman works as a vacation rental manager and is able to take that business on the road with him, since it’s largely on line and over the phone.  He’s also written an E-book about how anyone can afford a Tesla, if you’re willing to have the car help you make some money to pay for it.

Sasman is chronicling his journey on podcasts and through social media services, such as twitter, @stevesasman , and live streaming through services called Meerkat and Periscope. 

From Syracuse Sasman heads toward the Florida keys next…you can follow his journey and his reports from the road at his web site and a facebook page of the same name.  

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.