A Valley News Publication

And some folks ventured out in the cold around midnight — Tuesday night into Wednesday morning — to say hello and take a little drive!

Here’s the video of You You Xue pulling into the Price Chopper parking lot. (Minor language warning: As a California guy, he was sliiiiightly taken aback by the cold.) The woman in the video is Lebanon resident Marjie Bish — more from her at the end of this post!

Before West Leb, he was in Hooksett, N.H. And afterward, he stopped in Burlington on his way to Canada (so I guess this is an international road trip, as well).

You can follow his Facebook page, Tesla Model 3 Road Trip, where he posts his location for meet-and-greets and reviews the car’s features. He started in California on Dec. 23 and, according to his page, the whole adventure is “not endorsed by Tesla, Inc. (yet).”

As I mentioned, Lebanon resident Marjie Bish was one of the folks who turned out, along with two strangers. She is what’s known as a “pre-reveal Model 3 reservation holder,” meaning that she and her husband went to the Tesla store in Boston in 2016 and paid $1,000 to reserve a “place in line” for the purchase of the car once it started to be built.

The couple does not currently own a Tesla — the Model 3 price point, listed at $35,000 on the company website, is still at the upper end of what they would consider spending on a vehicle, she said — but they are striving to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and are looking to replace their aging mini-van with an electric car.

“Tesla interests me because I strive to vote for the world I want to live in with every dollar I spend,” Marjie told me in a Facebook message exchange. “I appreciate what they’re doing and the quality of the products they are producing.”

Photo courtesy Marjie Bish, who is pictured at left.

Here’s a little recap that Marjie was kind enough to write about the experience!

At 11:50 pm Tuesday night, You You Xue and his co-pilot friend, Yash, arrived at our West Lebanon Tesla Supercharger. I was very excited when I learned that You You was planning a trip across the country and was offering test drives his brand new Model 3. As a pre-reveal Model 3 reservation holder, Tuesday night was an opportunity to see and touch this car for the first time in person. Presently, Model 3 vehicles are not available for the public to see and/or test drive in most areas of the country. Although there were only a few people that came out last night, the car has been drawing in larger crowds especially in the east coast cities.  

After they arrived and immediately started charging, we hopped into the back seat to stay warm and began what ended up being an hour-long personalized visit. I sat and took in the fact that these familiar strangers and I were sitting in the first Model 3 to roll into Lebanon. I was activity trying to take it all in. The screen was smaller than I imagined; the seats were nicer than I expected; the fit and feel of the car was as others described, high quality and sharp. Even though it was very late and they were behind schedule on their next Meet and Greet in Burlington, Vt., after they completed charging, we asked if we could go for a ride. (Note: West Lebanon had never been a designated test drive location. It was just a planned charging stop.) You You, without hesitation and with a positive tone, said “Sure. We have time to go for a quick ride.” Yes! So, the three of us buckled up in the back seat and off we went.  We headed south on Route 12A with cameras on video mode. What can I say? The ride, acceleration and instant power did not disappoint!

Over the course of our time together, we exchanged many questions about the car and their impressions of it over the past couple weeks. But beyond that, You You and Yash were also curious about Lebanon. Asking questions about the origins of the town name, our take on the need for winter tires and noticing our boots and winter gear, etc. Yash commented on the fact that the chargers looked great with little piles of snow on top. In general, these young Californian men were youthful in their excitement about the snow and also serious about gathering data on how fast the car was charging and the changes in performance as they more further north into colder weather.  

The entire experience was a positive one, and I look forward to hopefully driving my own around the Upper Valley sometime later next year.

Thanks, Marjie! And glad you had a good time.

Learn more about the Model 3 here.