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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

A Father-Son Road Trip Goes Green: Tesla sparks idea for a new tour

By John S. Martinson

On July 1, my son, Neo, 17, and I will embark on a 6,000 mile, 31-day road trip across the West. The trip started as a father- son bonding experience driving to some of the country’s finest national parks and visiting friends and family along the route. But after I applied the lens of sustainability to our journey, it became something much more.


Now, five months later, our summer road trip has evolved into an ambitious carbon-neutral adventure. We will be driving a Tesla Model 3 – Tesla’s new medium-priced electric vehicle – to prove the efficacy of electric road tripping. Our experimental excursion will benefit the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability and other organizations working on the transition from
carbon-intensive fossil fuel-based travel to low-carbon, clean-energy road tripping.

RMI is a “think-and-do tank” that works with businesses, communities, institutions and entrepreneurs on global market-based solutions to “transform global energy use to create a clean, prosperous and secure low-carbon future,” a mission I strongly believe in. RMI
will use our road trip to raise funds and awareness for their work, and we will also promote ASU’s School of Sustainability degree programs to audiences across the route, including ASU alumni, electric vehicle enthusiasts, RMI supporters, K-12 teachers and kids.


The route will take 31 days to complete. It will take us through 10 states (Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Washington, Oregon and California) and two Canadian Provinces (Alberta and British Columbia) on a combination of highways, interstates and challenging twisty-turny roads. The car’s body will be covered in a professionally designed head-turning wrap promoting renewable energy, sustainable travel, electric road tripping, RMI, ASU’s School of Sustainability, sponsors and other partners.

We have a blog (teslaroadtrip.blog), social media (FacebookTwitter, Instagram and Flickr) and traditional media support (thank you Green Living AZ magazine and others). There will be events, live podcasts and meetups all along the route. We will depart from Wrigley Hall on ASU’s Tempe Campus at 8 a.m. July 1. Hope to see you there or on the road.

“Wisdom is knowing what to do next; skill is knowing how to do it; and virtue is doing it.” – David Starr Jordan


John Martinson is cofounder of the Scottsdale-based China Mist Tea Company, which was started in his garage and built into an international iced tea brand. This summer he and his son are taking a 31-day electric road trip promoting clean energy and electric motoring. To follow their trip, visit TeslaRoadTrip.blog.


  1. On the subject of tea….when I lived in Scottsdale from 1995 until 2003, I purchased all of my loose tea in small bags($9.00) for personal use. I loved the Dragonwell and Sencha. When visiting friends in Scottsdale later, I was dismayed to find out I can no longer buy the small bags or make purchases for myself. Why is that?


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