Jonathan Zoes, an aspiring filmmaker, has become the first person to drive an electric vehicle to the Arctic Ocean in -40°C (-40°F) temperatures of an Arctic winter, and he did it in a Tesla Model Y. Zoes documented his journey driving through Canada to Tuktoyaktuk, relying on the help of strangers to plug in the vehicle once charging stations became harder to find.
In an interview with Northern News Services Limited, Zoes stated that finding charging stations was easy in the southern part of his drive. However, as he made his way to Dawson Creek in Northern British Columbia, he had to rely on RV parks to keep his vehicle charged.
The Yukon territory has been constructing fast charging stations at an impressive rate, even surpassing the adoption rate of electric vehicles among locals. Consequently, Zoes found most of the charging stations empty after passing Whitehorse.
Zoes couldn’t always rely on finding public chargers however. An Indigenous council in Profit River let him use their maintenance building for the night to charge up. To cross the Dempster Highway, which has no gas stations for more than 300 kilometres, he befriended road crews who let him use their garages. In Fort McPherson, he was able to get another charge from LJ’s Contracting. To travel the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktyuk Highway, he improvised a charging station.
By utilizing the Tesla mobile app Zoes calculates that he managed to save $463 in fuel expenses during his month-long journey to Inuvik. His only expenses were the costs for food and electric charges paid to his hosts. In comparison, covering the same distance with a gasoline-powered car would have set him back $701. Additionally, Zoes enjoyed the benefit of sleeping in the warmth of his car for most of the nights, except for one night spent in Eagle Plains.
Zoes stated that the technology works and will only get better and he hopes his trip helps to inspire others to take a chance on EVs and to push for more charging infrastructure in remote areas.