The electric vehicle that Krista Bouchey will drive.

The electric vehicle that Krista Bouchey will drive.

Follow OPALCO’s EV road trip in October

  • Fri Sep 24th, 2021 1:30am
  • Life

Starting Oct. 6, an exclusive team from OPALCO (Communication Specialist Krista Bouchey and the “Switch it up pup” Pepper) will be driving the co-op’s Kia Niro 100% electric vehicle to Eastern Washington and back, making stops to visit wind and hydro projects, innovative public power projects and EV charging stations along the way. The purpose of the trip is to demonstrate the power and range of electric vehicles and talk with people about EVs and public power. Follow the journey in videos, photos and interviews on FaceBook at @orcaspower, and also on OPALCO’s This Electric Life Blog at

“This is a big learning curve for me,” said Krista, who still drives a gas-powered car at home. “We’ve got it all mapped out, but Pepper and I have to be ready for anything – I’ve never even charged at a public charging station before! Hopefully, we’ll meet some good people along the way to help us out. It’s going to be a fun adventure!”

To prepare for this carbon-free journey, Krista used the ABRP (a better road trip planner) and Plug Share apps on her phone to find EV chargers and chart a course that works with the range of the Kia, which is about 230 miles per charge. The trip begins — as all island adventures do — with a ferry ride to Anacortes and the itinerary includes:

Day 1: Tour Microgrid EV Charging Plant at Snohomish PUD and Tour BPA transmission station in Monroe, Charge on Mercer Island, Interview Tesla driver

Day 2: Tour Puget Sound Energy’s Wild Horses Wind Farm in Ellensburg

Day 3: Tour Horn Rapids Solar, Storage, and Training Site and Benton REA project with Joel Mietzner

Day 4: Priest Rapids dam and Wanapum dam

Day 5: Make it back to the islands (280-mile stretch)

Switching to electricity for transportation is key to addressing the climate emergency and a critical piece of OPALCO’s Island Way Campaign to build a sustainable energy future for the islands. Transportation accounts for 45% of all carbon emissions in Washington State and an average of 53% of all consumer total energy expenditures. Electric vehicles save at least $1,000/year over gas-powered cars, reduce total energy spending and carbon impact. OPALCO has online tools at


Pepper the Switch It Up! Pup.

Pepper the Switch It Up! Pup.