Happy with his experiences, he decided to reserve the buzzed-about new Tesla Model 3 at the end of 2017 and took delivery in March 2018. (He planned to sell the Model S but his wife had other ideas, claiming it for herself.) The hybrid was Tom’s training ground, helping him learn how to make the most out of his electric range. “It almost became a game,” he says. “I knew I was really hooked when I quit paying attention to the price of gas as I drove by.” With longer range EVs and the public charging options provided by the Clean Charge Network, he can talk to potential EV drivers about range awareness instead of range anxiety. And he loves the reaction he gets when he tells people his Model 3 can go 315 miles on a charge. He believes the Model 3 will demonstrate how EV range and technology is becoming ever more affordable. Between new model offerings and the increasing availability of pre-owned vehicles, he is happy the buying public will have many more EV options to choose from. As for his family, they drive their electric vehicles everywhere, stopping at the Supercharger in Independence for a quick charge. Tom loves the technology behind EVs, especially the ability for cars to consistently upgrade through a simple software download. “Every time I get the notice that a software update is available, I’m like a kid on Christmas Eve waiting to see what new features are going to be in the latest version,” he says. “It’s kind of like getting a new car every time it updates.” And he loves the EV community in Kansas City, which is growing every day. “There is a lot of curiosity out there and part of our responsibility as EV owners is to help educate the public,” he says. “It’s amazing how freely EV drivers share their real-life experiences — often to the point of offering test drives in personal vehicles.” Tom travels for his job and is always on the lookout for the EV amenities within the cities he visits. Kansas City stands out. “I can safely say that the Kansas City metro seems to be so far ahead in terms of available EV infrastructure that it almost becomes a selling point for people coming to our region,” he says. “It wasn’t all that long ago that an EV sighting was a rarity, and now it seems commonplace as you drive down the street.”
Tom Lesnak’s journey from gas-powered cars to a fully-electric garage has been strategic and purposeful. He first tested the drive electric waters with a hybrid in 2010, graduated to a plug-in electric in 2013 and purchased a pre-owned Tesla Model S in 2016.