Will Beckett and his wife Michelle Murray, are traveling federal interstates, state highways and scenic back roads from Santa Cruz to Seattle in an electric vehicle.
To break a common myth about electric cars.
In just under three weeks, starting in mid-August Becket and Murry took to their vacation to help promote the adoption of electric vehicles, make people aware of Oregon's three area chapters of the Electric Auto Association (EAA) and potentially inspire the formation of at least two more area chapters in Oregon, one east of the Cascade Mountains, another to the west of the Coast Range. The electric vehicle (EV) they are driving is a 2017 Chevy Bolt, a car that has a ‘range’ of up to 238 miles when fully charged.
“Too many people out there don't know the value of driving an electric car,” Will Beckett, co-driver and former Electric Auto Association board member said. “One of the things that turned my head was a neighbor who found out he could save so much money commuting to work, he figured he could afford a Tesla. After getting one, he couldn't sell off his BMW fast enough!”
“Sometimes when I tell people about other long-distance road trips I've done they say something like, ‘oh, I thought they're only round-the-town cars.’ This drives me crazy. So I'm publicizing this vacation trip to help educate the public about long-range electric vehicles."
Beckett and his wife left their home in Aptos, Calif., just south of the Santa Cruz area, driving their 2017 Chevy Bolt to eventually arrive in Seattle. After a quick trip by seaplane to Victoria, B.C. they began the venture back home to complete a carefully planned 2,300-mile (approx.), 18-day road-trip.
They've traveled north on Interstate 5 to the Eugene-Springfield area where they turned east over the Cascades and into the desert. Then north on Highway 97, east on Interstate 84, crossed over the Columbia into Washington, and after getting to Richland, heading northwest over the Cascades to Tacoma and Seattle. Their return trip eventually took them south on I-5 back into Oregon and then to Corvallis, where they turned west to Newport and into Lincoln County for a stay in Otter Rock this past weekend.
After a few nights at the beach, they finally traveled down Hwy 101 south and back into California to arrive home.
“This road-trip is a vacation with a purpose,” said Al LePage, Vice-president of the Emerald Valley Electric Vehicle Association, an EAA area chapter based in the Eugene-Springfield area. “This journey challenges myth with reality. It's not simply about showing that electric cars have what it takes, both in terms of range and reliability to do what Americans love to do – make long-distance road trips – it's also about getting more and more people to seriously think about buying one.
“The future is already here and not enough range, that is, miles one can go on a single charge, is just one of many myths about electric cars that need busting.”
Will Beckett, first joined the Electric Auto Association (EAA) in the mid-1970's and purchased his first electric car in 1994. He's served as president of the Silicon Valley EAA, one of five chapters in the San Francisco Bay Area and as an EAA board member and membership chair. He's been recognized by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District for his involvement with efforts to educate the public about alternative fueled vehicles, and also received the EAA Electric Auto Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018.
He currently serves as vice-president of the Central Coast EAA chapter, of which he was a founding member. Promotion of electric vehicle use is one of his passions. He also did another long-distance road-trip with his wife in 2017.
Michelle Murray, the other co-driver and Will's wife, is a life-long artist working with textiles and other materials to create art that you wear.
The Chevy Bolt is built just outside Detroit, Michigan, the battery, motor and drive unit is produced in South Korea. It has a range of 238 miles, the first car other than a Tesla to attain an over 200-mile range, and first produced in 2017. Becket's Bolt has 14,500 miles plus and still going strong. Becket has also named his Bolt ‘Harry’ because his wife is a Harry Potter fan and according to her, there's just so much magic to be found in an electric car.
With three area chapters of the Electric Auto Association already established in Oregon, Becket hopes to someday bring a chapter to the Coast, ideally one each in the North, Mid and South Coast regions. He hopes his journey will help raise some awareness about electric cars and possibly spark the formation of these chapters.