This Tesla Model 3 SR+ was caught in the Virginia I-95 traffic jam – here’s how it actually fared

virginia tesla model 3
Credit: Dan Kanninen

You have probably heard about the now infamous 48 mile (77km) traffic jam along Virginia’s Interstate 95 earlier this month.

After motorists were stuck in traffic for more than 24 hours in sub-zero temperatures, The Washington Post published an op-ed that said the whole ordeal could have been a “catastrophe” if everyone was driving electric vehicles (EVs).

The author, Charles Lane, surmised that the highway would have been “littered” with EVs with dead batteries that would have needed a tow to be cleared.

The basis for this theory was a lone tweet by a Canadian long-haul truck driver who said his traffic jam neighbour, a Model 3 owner, was worried about running out of battery (spoiler alert: he didn’t actually run out of battery and still had 18% the following morning).

While we never did hear about the experience of that Model 3 owner first hand, we have from another, Dan Kanninen.

Kanninen was in his Model 3 Standard Range Plus for 14 hours that day. In a blog post on, he said he was grateful for being in an EV, pointing out the benefits of his Tesla over an internal combustion engine car in a lengthy traffic jam.

“While fellow drivers burned gasoline running their engines to stay warm, my EV intelligently directed power solely to temperature regulation—I did not have to inefficiently burn fuel to power my entire engine in order to keep us safe. As other drivers then fretted about their dwindling gas reserves, my EV intuitively monitored my power supply, giving me the peace of mind that other drivers did not have. Throughout my entire experience in the I-95 quagmire, I knew exactly how much power my EV was using, how much power remained in its battery, and how far I could drive.”

Kanninen also pointed out another benefit (no, not watching Schitt’s Creek) that Lane said was a drawback to owning an EV – refueling.

While he noticed drivers “scrambling” to get into long line ups at gas stations after the ordeal was over, his Tesla directed him to the nearest, and open, charging station (with about a quarter of his battery remaining).

A big reason the op-ed went viral was not only because of its sensationalistic headline and story, but also because of misinformation and the public’s general lack of knowledge when it comes to the benefits of EVs.

Hopefully with more people like Kanninen shedding light on exactly how an EV fared during this traffic jam, more people will become aware of those benefits and make the switch to electric.

You can read the full blog post here.

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About Darryn John 6028 Articles
Founder and Editor-in-chief of Drive Tesla Canada | Have a Tesla tip? Email, or DM us on Twitter @DriveTeslaca