- Friday, August 19, 2022
ACEP Intern Supports EV’s Drive North to the Future
By Michael Lindemann(
This is an excerpt of a story from ACEP’s blog, From the Grid.
What does it mean to be first? To some it means to push boundaries exploring new territories, for others the term may carry no weight at all, still others may think it shows a vanity on the part of the person trying to be first. We were the first. We were the first people to drive electric vehicles to Oliktok Point. Oliktok Point is the farthest-north point in the United States that can be driven to — a total of 1,096 miles, round trip. There were certainly a few hurdles to overcome along the way, but in the end we all made it.
The journey for me started when LAUNCH Alaska’s transportation lead, Tim Leach, mentioned that he was looking for one more support vehicle/person for the Arctic Road Rally, a rally in which electric vehicles would be driven to Oliktok Point. Given my background in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the fact that I had a Toyota Tacoma, I felt that I’d be a good fit. So, I volunteered. A few weeks later, I found myself driving from Anchorage to Fairbanks with about 1,000 pounds of fuel and gear. To say that my poor Tacoma was “loaded down” would be a major understatement.
The morning after I arrived in Fairbanks, everyone started trickling into the Golden Valley Electric Association’s parking lot at 7:30 a.m. I immediately began installing Geotab units in peoples’ cars. These Geotab units were to acquire data on how their cars functioned and performed on the rough road. Our fleet of EVs consisted of five Teslas, three Rivians, one Hummer and one Ford F-150 Lightning.
At the starting line, we did what's called a staggered start. The timings and orders were determined by Devon Kibby, the electrical engineer behind the project. He calculated the best ordering and timing to ensure there were no bottlenecks at the chargers along the way.
Leaving Fairbanks, we got a rude awakening as to how rough the Dalton Highway, more locally known as the “haul road,” was. It seemed like the road wasn’t really a road; it was more of an endless series of potholes and frost heaves. I was driving my Tacoma with long-travel suspension and Fox shocks, so for me it wasn’t too bad, but it sure looked like the Teslas were getting bounced around a lot. Slow and steady was the name of the game. The first stop on our trip was the Alaska Department of Transportation’s facility at 7-mile, which is just across the Yukon River. At this point, I was traveling behind the F-150 Lightning. The timing worked out perfectly, and we pulled in just as the Rivian crew was finishing charging. After about two hours of charging, we headed on to Coldfoot. The road after the 7-mile facility was mostly all dirt and was in much better shape than the paved sections. As a group we lost two tires that first day, both of which were on Teslas.
Read the full EV adventure to the North at (insert the link here).
Michael Lindemann, of Anchorage, is an electrician and was an ACEP undergraduate intern in the summer of 2022.
A Musk Ox on the left, and the Hummer EV on the road (very small) on the right. PS-4 is in the background. Photo by Michael Lindemann.