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A Tesla Model X owner traveled to 49 states in a year, installing a kitchen and bed - Autoblog

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    A Tesla owner said he lived out of his EV for a year. Courtesy of Sandro van Kuijck
    • A Tesla owner said he lived out of his electric car for about a year.
    • The YouTuber, Sandro van Kuijck, built a makeshift kitchen and recently took his Model X to Alaska.
    • Van Kuijck said he's found living in his Tesla can be a cheap way to travel cross country.

    Forget van life. What about Tesla life?

    That's what one YouTuber has been experimenting with, turning his Tesla into a mobile home of sorts.

    Sandro van Kuijck, a YouTuber and the owner of a Model X, told Insider he's been living in a Tesla for about a year and even built a makeshift kitchen into the back of the SUV. Van Kuijck has said he's used the EV to travel to 49 US states and even recently took the car to Alaska.

    The YouTuber said he first bought a Model 3 and experimented with living in the car during a road trip to Texas last year, but it took a while to get the hang of sleeping in the EV.

    "I was getting kicked out all over the place and I was still paying for charging at the time, so it did get pretty expensive," van Kuijck said. "And then once I came back from Texas, that's when the curiosity of  'Can I live in this and travel full-time?' took over."

    The Tesla owner said he quickly learned how to find free charging stations using PlugShare, a navigation app for charging stations. He's also learned how to sleep in the vehicle without often being detected by passersby or kicked out by local police. At night, van Kuijck said he puts up his privacy screens and usually tries to sleep at public chargers so it will be difficult for people to be able to differentiate whether the car is occupied or simply charging overnight.

    About six months after he started sleeping in his EV, van Kuijck said he traded his Model 3 for a much larger Model X.

    "I'm surprised how I slept in for so long before the upgrade," van Kuijck said. "When I turned around at night, I would hit my knees against the metal compartment in the back."

    The YouTuber fitted the EV with pillows and a homemade portable kitchen he'd built shortly after he started living in his Model 3. Van Kuijck said he put the wooden drawers together from scratch and filled them with an induction plate, toaster, blender, and electric kettle that could be powered by a battery pack he'd bought for about $500. In total, he said the renovation cost about $1,200, including kitchen supplies.

    A Tesla owner built a makeshift kitchen for his EV.
    A Tesla owner built a makeshift kitchen for his EV. Courtesy of Sandro van Kuijck

    "I'll cook my meals in the morning and eat it throughout the day," van Kuijck said. "I'm plant-based so I eat a lot of tofu, avocado toast, rice, and beans, pasta. If it's really bad weather outside, I'll get takeout, but I try to keep my costs as low as possible."

    The YouTuber said he spent two months saving to go on his most recent trip to Alaska by working for DoorDash, UberEats, and Amazon Flex.

    Van Kuijck also broke down his set-up for the trip in a recent video on his channel.

    Van Kuijck is far from the first Tesla owner to sleep in his EV. A Model S owner previously told Insider he took his Tesla on a 19-day road trip and slept in it every night thanks to the car's Camp Mode — a feature that allows drivers to use AC, hear or charge their devices while using minimal battery power.

    Despite some of the perks of living in his Tesla, van Kuijck said there are times he's felt unsafe spending the night in his EV.

    "I am a bit of a sitting duck and I'm always very aware of that," van Kuijck said, adding there's times he trades Camp Mode for Sentry Mode. "Sometimes at night people come and check out the car, not realizing someone is inside, which makes me feel uneasy. A Model X stands out, especially in places like the Yukon."

    Ultimately, van Kuijck said he enjoys the freedom his Tesla gives him, even on rural routes where he's had to find creative ways to charge.

    "It's such a unique way of traveling," van Kuijck said. "I can travel on a pretty low budget and I get to see more of the scenery, talk to more people than I would otherwise."


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