Will you take the trip?

Couple’s cross-country journey meant to drive home a point


Kathy Soule (’78) and her husband, Bob, embarked on a six-month road trip across the United States in their Tesla Model Y last year to prove that such a journey is possible in an all-electric vehicle, and they encourage others to take steps toward more eco-friendly decisions.

Before purchasing their Tesla in 2020, the Soules owned a 2010 Nissan Leaf, which they described as an “around the town” vehicle compared to the Tesla, which has a 315-mile range.

The couple had many reasons for the trip, not the least of which was Bob’s retirement. Having visited 51 national parks, they also hoped to raise money for the National Park Foundation supporting the National Park System.

two_cars.pngPrior to the trip, the Soules planned pit stops to ensure they could charge their car as needed. They preferred venues that supplied Tesla Supercharger stations but had to make adjustments along the way.

During a typical day on the trip, the couple began by hiking around the many national parks they visited. If the pair came across litter along a trail, they would pick it up and hold it in their car until they could dispose of it. At the end of each day, they would plan and create posts for their Instagram page and website, chronicling their journey as well as showing why solar power is key to a more sustainable planet.

garage_stuff.pngThe trip was meant to spread a message. Fossil fuels are one of the largest sources of air pollution from human activity and are mainly used in gas-powered vehicles, making cars the second leading cause of pollution in the U.S. The Soules believe EVs can make a positive environmental impact on the world.

“Everyone who buys a new gas-powered car today will likely have it on the road for another 10 to 20 years, putting out the exhaust, hurting the environment and creating more global warming,” Kathy said. “That is why we think it’s so important to inform as many people as possible about electric cars and as quick as possible. The fewer people who are buying new gas-powered cars, the better off the earth will be.”

Some argue that the infrastructure to support zero emissions isn’t available or even sustainable. However, the Soules make the point that transitioning to clean energy will not only benefit the one who makes the change, but also the planet.

happy_couple.png“People think that if we make the change, it’s going to require us to give up our lifestyle, give up our freedom or our way of life. This is just not true,” Kathy said. “Technology is here now to stop this problem. … We can have all the stuff we have today, but we can have them run off electricity run by renewable sources.”

Off the road, the Soules have different eco-friendly initiatives throughout their home, like green-powered electricity. The couple takes part in environmental groups, such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, and their website, RunningOnSouler, informs others of the importance of green-powered electricity.


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by Maddie Johnson

Published: Monday, April 10, 2023

Last Updated: Thursday, April 25, 2024

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