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A retired veteran resides in a converted Tesla Model Y that includes a camp kitchen


Some people still believe that all-electric vehicles are unreliable or good enough to replace their fossil fuel-powered commuting appliances. Proving that they are wrong is this person who currently lives in Alaska out of all places and treats a Model Y Performance as his home. Here's how he has done it.

We understand that, at first, it could feel completely wrong to see us excited about someone living out of their battery-electric car. We get it. It's a sensitive topic. Finding proper housing in most parts of the US (and even Canada or the UK) nowadays is a serious challenge. Most young people are already priced out of the market. Others might have lost their jobs and, in turn, the means to pay the monthly mortgage.

Moreover, given the current high interest rates and the inflationary environment, buying a home might be impossible for many. It is not something to be trifled with, and that's not what we're doing here.

But this retired veteran's story isn't tied to the chaotic housing market. He chose to move out of a cozy home and into the Model Y. He didn't make it on a whim. The man also did not decide that he would like to make a living out of it as some content creators do. It was a courageous change of scenery if we can call it that.

Here's a story that's both inspiring and somewhat provocative for those of us stuck in the mundane world.

Tesla Model Y Performance owner shares his experience towing a boat

Photo: Avram Dorfman via Instagram

Trading comfort for excitement and adventure

VIDEO: How I Built My Tesla Model Y SUV Camper (Kitchen, Bed, Storage, DreamCase)
Living in Tesla

James has lived in Alaska since 2013, a state known for its harsh winters and unfriendly temperatures outside of summertime. That alone makes living in an all-electric car rather peculiar. But it was a decision he didn't take lightly. He did, in fact, give it a lot of thought.

The young man (who is also a vegan) figured out that retiring from active duty was his chance to explore the world without having to listen to orders or stick to a strict schedule. He also concluded that living in Alaska during wintertime wasn't necessary any longer, and that made him happy.

James immediately started taking advantage of his free time. He visited a couple of interesting destinations around the world and enjoyed his civilian status in many cool European and Asian places.

During that phase, he realized that spending money on a house he rarely uses wasn't such a savvy thing. During his exploratory phase, James was advised by the people he met to give up on being tied to a place and enjoy the nomad lifestyle.

Converted Tesla Model Y Performance

Photo: Everyday Sandro on YouTube

Living as a global citizen

VIDEO: Tesla Model Y Camper Kit - All in One Camp Kitchen, Storage, and Bed Platform
Living in Tesla

Nowadays, being a "nomad" has a cool, attractive sound to it. The term almost equals the definition of pure freedom. But having no constraints is not what nomadic people used to do back in the day. They roamed from one place to another in search of resources like food and water as the seasons changed. It wasn't about traveling and having fun but about surviving.

Since mobility is ultra-enhanced today, being a nomad with some financial means is more about experiencing life in various parts of the world without worrying about your basic needs. Some countries even introduced digital nomad visas for those who can work from anywhere.

It's a completely different reality for people with the skills and the opportunities not to be tied down to a specific location. Those who don't need to be present at their job or run their business from a certain place can truly see and feel the world.

James gave the "new age nomad" lifestyle some good thought and decided that a Model Y Performance should do the trick. The popular all-electric crossover SUV replaced his house, for which he paid a mortgage, the utilities, the upkeep, and the associated monthly or yearly taxes and fees.

Converted Tesla Model Y Performance

Photo: Everyday Sandro on YouTube

But this didn't just happen overnight. After modifying it as a weekend getaway car, he realized last year that the Model Y was suitable as a mobile home. He figured out that a few more additions should turn the EV into a good house on wheels.

And, in the spring of 2023, he did it.

Creating a nomad's zero-emission dream

VIDEO: Tesla Model Y Camper Build 2.0 (Workbed, Induction Cooktop, Battery, Storage)
Living in Tesla

The all-electric crossover SUV measures 187 inches in length, 75.6 inches in width (without mirrors), and 64 inches in height. The Model Y has a wheelbase of 113.8 inches. It's not particularly roomy, but it can accommodate two average adults with ease.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says the EV has a maximum range of 303 miles and shows that it's fairly efficient – it needs just 30 kWh to go 100 miles.

It's slightly less capable than the Long Range version, which can do 330 miles on a full battery with an efficiency of 28 kWh per 100 miles.

To put those range and efficiency figures better into perspective, it would take a Model Y owner about 8 minutes to add 100 miles of range when hooking the unit to a Supercharger. On average, such a vehicle needs around 15 to 18 minutes for 200 miles of range to be added to the energy storage unit.

Tesla Model Y Performance owner shares his experience towing a boat

Photo: Avram Dorfman via Instagram

Thanks to Tesla's focus on technology, the vehicle's functions can be easily controlled through the dedicated app. Thus, he doesn't always need to reach the center screen.

But it's James' enhancement ideas that truly transformed this car into a suitable living space. That might feel like an exaggerated description for something that combines a rather small bedroom, a portable camp kitchen, a pantry (sort of), and a shower into a four-door, all-electric, somewhat high-riding car, but the man made it work.

He built a simple retractable mini-kitchen with two shelves covering a storage area with an induction cooktop, kettle, toaster, kitchenware, and collapsible sink that sit very tight together. They won't make much noise while he's on the go. The cool thing about this redesigned drawer is that it retracts right under his bed.

The list goes on

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Living in Tesla

But wait, there's more! The sub-trunk fits a small refrigerator. So, there are three levels – a mini-fridge, a mini-kitchen, and a bed that comprises a mattress and a sleeping bag.

The area reserved for passengers' feet became a storage area. The part of the bed accessible through the rear right-hand side door also hides a dedicated space for the man's electronics. They're neatly tucked away from anyone's curious eyes. On the opposite side, there's space for shoes, and a water jug occupies the space between the seats.

James also makes use of a 1-kWh portable power station for his devices. The small energy storage unit used to be powered by the car through the 12V outlet. But he installed a thin solar panel on the roof box, and that will charge the portable battery from now on. The cigarette lighter remains a backup solution for cloudy days.

Converted Tesla Model Y Performance

Photo: Everyday Sandro on YouTube

He uses the frunk as a storage area for a tent. The car can sometimes feel cramped, so he will use a 10x10 setup to relax and move freely without worrying about mosquitoes, as he told Everyday Sandro in the video below.

James also has some advice for those looking to do the same – keep a list. Figure out what you need and what you don't while you still live in a conventional house. Discard everything else and keep what's essential. Then, go on and live the modern nomad lifestyle.

Don't worry; the EV nicknamed "Scotty" is not a permanent living space for the courageous man. He's still planning trips abroad in sleeping in hostels. But when he's in the US or Canada, he uses the Model Y as his house on wheels that's not a caravan.

Finally, now that winter is upon us, he plans to take one last trip through his home state and head down south.

Will this story inspire you to attempt a similar experiment? Let us know below after watching this brief video.

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