Stories from the Road: Driving Cross Country in Your EV

As you probably know by now, we are on the road in our first ever electric vehicle driving experience. Our round-trip road trip to Salt Lake City is over 2,00 miles.

In order to prepare for our trip, we met with local connections who drive an electric vehicle. Mark and Kathleen Bernick are member-owners of Stearns Electric Association who own their Tesla Model X. In addition to providing us with the top things to know about driving EVs, they shared a story with us about their first time driving cross-country in the Tesla Model X.

Continue reading Stories from the Road: Driving Cross Country in Your EV


Whitney Ditlevson

Age: 29

Family: Husband, Danny and 10 month old puppy, Khaleesi

Cooperative: Stearns Electric Association

Position: Communications and Marketing Specialist

I worked as the communications and workforce development coordinator at the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce in St. Cloud, Minn. for six years prior to starting a new opportunity at Stearns Electric.

Most Rewarding Part of Your Job: My favorite part of my job so far has been our Energy Education program. I had the opportunity to visit 33 schools within our service territory this winter to educate fourth graders about energy efficiency and electrical safety.

College: St. Cloud State University; Major: Public Relations

Favorite Vacation Spot: I’ve been on several wonderful vacations, but my favorite place is actually a tie between Zakopane, Poland and Sorrento, Italy.

Favorite Road Trip Snack: Sour Cream and Onion Pringles

In My Spare Time: I enjoy walking our pup, grilling out with friends and reading.

Fun Fact: I grew up in Wisconsin and LOVE the Green Bay Packers!

Car I Drive: Chevy Equinox

One thing I hope to learn on this trip is overcoming range anxiety. Even though our car is built to provide us with worry-free charging guidance, I’m still worried we will run out of charge between charging destinations. I also look forward to seeing if and how our speed, vehicle temperature and other factors like charging electronics while driving factor into our vehicle’s battery life.



Amanda Groethe

Age: 30

Family: Husband, Carey and children Isaiah (4), Madelynn (3) and Nolan (1).

Cooperative: Stearns Electric Association

Position: Director of Communications and Marketing

I’ve been with Stearns Electric a little over eight  years. I began my career here during college as the Communications and Member Services Intern.

Most Rewarding Part of Your Job: I enjoy sharing the electric cooperative story – including our meaningful history, the fascinating and rapidly changing industry and our community connection. The most rewarding piece of my job is being able to use my communication skills alongside my graphic design talent to tell this story for Stearns Electric.

College: College of St. Benedict; Majors: Business Management and Communications

Favorite Vacation Spot: I love traveling, so it’s hard to pick a favorite, but if I had to I’d say New York City, New York and Venice, Italy. I’m hoping my next vacation is somewhere on the beach though!

Favorite Road Trip Snack: Gold Fish Crackers

In My Spare Time: I enjoy practicing my photography and design skills, volunteering in the community, completing DIY home renovations, spending time at our lake cabin and just being home and active with my family.

Fun Fact: I’m an obsessive list maker.

Car I Drive: Chrysler Town and Country
(Yes, I drive a minivan – remember I have three little kids!)

I’m looking forward to how much we’ll learn from this trip. We’ve been researching electric vehicles to prepare us but the first hand experience will be invaluable. I’m looking forward to seeing how our confidence in the vehicle’s range grows as the trip progresses, seeing if charging is an inconvenience or not, and ultimately understanding the differences between a traditional car and an electric one.