Members win sweepstakes to drive a Tesla for a week

Nearly 1,800 members and customers of three utilities submitted contest entries last month in hopes of taking home a Tesla rental for a week.

Ryan Rooney, energy services and business development manager at Runestone Electric Association, shows Electrify Your Ride winner Sheila Schilling how to charge her Tesla rental.

Ryan Rooney, energy services and business development manager at Runestone Electric Association, shows Electrify Your Ride winner Sheila Schilling how to charge her Tesla rental.

Great River Energy and its 28 member-owner cooperatives, along with Otter Tail Power and Minnesota Power, teamed up with the Great Plains Institute to promote the Electrify Your Ride sweepstakes.

The contest, which included a short quiz that participants had to answer before being officially entered, launched in conjunction with National Drive Electric Week and offered five winners a seven-day Tesla rental with unlimited miles so they could fully experience what it’s like to drive an electric vehicle (EV).

“What we’ve learned is that once people get a chance to actually drive an EV, they are more likely to consider purchasing one as their next vehicle,” said David Ranallo, manager of member services and marketing at Great River Energy. “More than a contest, this was a great way to educate members on EV technology and get them to think about how this type of vehicle could fit into their lives.”

Three of the winners were from Great River Energy member cooperatives: Sheila Schilling (Runestone Electric Association), Lindsay Izzard (East Central Energy) and Calenn Heppner (East Central Energy).

As part of the contest, each of the winners has agreed to write about their personal experiences for the week they are driving either a Tesla Model S or Model 3, which will then be shared with their co-op’s membership via social media and newsletter articles.

“We are encouraged by the high amount of participation in this first-time contest and hope to offer it again in 2019,” Ranallo said.