Wondering if a tiny Tesla home is possible? Good news, you can live in a Tesla! Here’s someone who’s been doing it for almost a year.
We have all heard about “Van Life” and those free spirits who have forgone a traditional home and chose life on the road. Its popularity has spawned influencers and television shows on modifying vans and RVs to make this lifestyle as comfortable as possible. But have you heard of anyone that has chosen to live in a Tesla?
I am no stranger to camping in my Model Y, but Jimmy Cheung has taken it to the next level. He has been living out of his Tesla (first a Model 3, now a Model Y) for almost a year now. He has travelled across Canada taking in nature and experiencing all climates along the way. I reached out to Jimmy to ask him why he chose to live in a Tesla along with what challenges he has faced so far.
Meet Jimmy from LivinginTesla
So what kind of person decides to live in a Tesla? Well, originally from Hong Kong, Jimmy studied in the States before moving to Canada a couple of years ago. He is a freelance video creative and editor which allows him to work from wherever. Not to be outdone by Van Lifers, Jimmy is working to turn his YouTube channel, LivinginTesla, into a self-sustaining platform for income.
Here’s my full interview with Jimmy.
What Gave You the Idea To Live in a Tesla?
Being able to explore places anytime and call the constantly changing backdrop “home” has been a way of life that I have desired for some time. If Tesla hadn’t existed, a typical van is what I’d have gone with. The main reason that I chose Tesla as a travel vehicle is the ability to be gas-free. From the environmental aspect, it’s amazing to know that there’s a significantly less negative impact on the Earth as I cruise silently in nature. And financially, the long term cost of ownership with an internal combustion engine vehicle just way exceeds an EV.
How Long Have You Been Living in Your Tesla(s)?
I travelled and lived in a Model 3 for about 7 months. Initially, with the Model 3, I was hoping to do it for a year but a family emergency came up and I had to stall my plans. With recently upgraded to a Model Y and built out a kitchen plus a bed platform. This added a lot of comfort to my travel and I hope to continue as long as possible.
Your Instagram History Shows You Out and About All Across Canada and in All Conditions. Where Have You Been With Your Tesla So Far?
I began my initial trip from Ontario and took the Trans-Canada Highway west, stopping for a couple of weeks in Calgary, Alberta and Banff National Park before continuing to British Columbia. In BC, I spent my time exploring nature around the areas of Vancouver, Squamish, Whistler, Victoria, and Tofino. On the way back, I took the Crowsnest Highway and made smaller stops (Osoyoos, Grand Forks, Creston, Fernie) until eventually merging back to the Trans-Canada Highway.
What Challenges Have You Faced Along the Way?
The main challenges that I have faced haven’t been EV road trip related since all charges are placed strategically. Living out of a car has been challenging at times. In the beginning, things were still under lockdown due to Covid. Public washrooms were not easy to access and gyms were still closed. It was really difficult to just use a bathroom or shower. At the time, I wished I had a proper van/RV.
I had to learn and figure out things as I went – using baby wipes to keep myself clean and paying $12 for a shower at truck stops when I couldn’t handle it any longer. I have a shower kit with me but it was too cold to use it outdoors at the time. Eventually, things opened up and life got much easier.
You Have Made Some Interesting Modifications to Your Tesla To Accommodate Your Lifestyle. Can You Share Everything You Have Done So Far and What Else You Might Have in the Works for Your Tiny Tesla Mobile Home?
I have added a pull out kitchen with a sink and duo burner stove. I also raised the bed platform and added a bunch of storage while retaining the two original Tesla sub-trunks in the Model Y. That’s all I think it can fit, any additional mods probably won’t make it work as efficiently as now.
What Tips Can You Share for Others Interested in Sleeping in Their Tesla?
The fact that you can run climate control while sleeping is one of the reasons that I prefer camping in a Tesla/EV over ICE. For climate and Camp Mode, I find it uses more energy once the temperature exceeds 20.5 C. I like to keep it at or below 20.5 C and sometimes use a sleeping bag to keep energy optimal.
When I’m sleeping in my car, I also prefer to set the climate at “Keep” instead of “Camp”. That’s because “Camp” disables Sentry Mode. I feel safer having the security cameras rolling when I’m at rest.
What’s Next for Living in Tesla?
As of this writing, I’m exploring Quebec. I might check out more of the east before heading west again. At some point, I’d like to visit the States. I’ll be making more videos about my travels and hope to inspire more people to get out there and be adventurous.