Part 1

Gobble Gobble Race Director Matthew Sonneborn talks about how creating a green event inspired him ultimately to couple an electric vehicle with a whole house solar installation at home and cut his budget significantly. Turns out it is not only environmentally responsible but has firm financial advantages. See how he managed to cut bills by $6650 a year finding other areas too.


When I first started hearing about the waste that our sport has, to try and manage it hit me like a club over the head. There were a few resources about the challenges in undertaking greening massive events on the internet, like rock concerts and sporting events. Think how much energy goes into parking all of those cars and their commute to and from the event. On top of that, consider all of the waste disposal and the power it takes to give everyone the experience they are looking for and on and on. Then in a 50,000 plus running event, think of providing water to all the participants along the route and disposing efficiently and responsibly all the cups.
Litter on race day
Online resources began appearing and several strategies began being implemented to the Gobble Gobble over the years. We had possibly one of the first bike valets at an event locally. We tried going completely cup-free (we now use donated eco-cups we recycle for re-use in other materials in the race as well as offering cup-free stations). We have used solar power for the sound and finish area. Additionally, we employ a socially conscious company using greener fabrics in their line of clothing for shirts. Water alone is an incredible rabbit hole. We found ways to eliminate plastic bottles completely.
All that had inspired me so much. It was time to see what could be done at home. All this gas we use in cars, and electricity in cooling our homes, powering our devices and appliances is excessive. The turning point for me personally last year came when I had an expensive repair forthcoming on my Hybrid vehicle. It was time to consider new options. Working at the Naples Philharmonic gave me the opportunity to see the show room over at Tesla from day one at Waterside Shops. I didn’t know enough about Teslas but had ridden in one a few times. It was indelible to have done so. Tesla is a game changer. 


I set about my research. I had heard about the Model 3 being their newest line and affordability was the main factor they were pushing. Having only heard of the $100K+ market of cars, I was excited to hear about the possibility of someday potentially owning one at the $35K entry level price point. 
I read about all the different competitors and test drove a Leaf, a Leaf Plus, looked at both the Bolt and now discontinued Volt. Though the competition had decent incentives, the cool factor was not even close. There are other manufacturers that simply can’t be bought or maintained in FL so those were simply not options or too expensive. From a practical standpoint, long distance touring was off the table in those vehicles in comparison and my tall son couldn’t enjoy the rear seat’s lack of room in those. He loves the Tesla’s. Tesla has a vast network of Superchargers. If you want to tour the country in another manufacturer’s electric vehicle, good luck. It is possible for the patient and adventurous, but in a Tesla it’s extremely possible and merely takes a little planning. There are circumstances to overcome at times, but in 15 minutes you can put about 150-180 miles back into the vehicle. That gets you to a supercharger stations no problem in most cases. Stretch your legs, enjoy a Netflix or a Youtube (yes even youtube live tv or Hulu) stream while you charge or go get lunch or take a walk nearby. In contrast to a pump, I hate that wasted time of pulling in and standing to fill. You get used to a different experience owning your own filling station at home and plugging in overnight while you sleep too.

Let me fully disclose firstly: I am not a car guy—I haven’t needed or wanted the latest cool muscle car or new fangled hip brand of vehicle…..ever

This car is a bit trendy admittedly, but it was motivated by ecological incentives. In the Model 3, I enjoy driving it more than any other car hands down. I really enjoy NOT driving it perhaps the most. On my commute to teach at FGCU, I will typically get on I75 and get behind a vehicle and engage autopilot. “I don’t trust the car to drive” you say…really? I was skeptical at first a bit myself. Let me ask you this. Do you use cruise control? Do you trust it? It has a very sophisticated cruise control that is also adaptive. That means the satellite is providing live images of the surrounding vehicles and the car is adjusting the car length distance from another you tell it to. Once the car is in a single lane, it merely has to see the stripes of the lane with its many cameras and maintains you in that given lane and brakes or maintains speed safely. The level of stress this alleviates is hard to describe. Sure, my hands are there at any time to take over. I can certainly relax a bit without steering and maintaining speed. Rolling a dial on the steering wheel controls volume on one side and speed of the cruise control on the other. A quick roll of either of those keeps autopilot engaged every 15-20 seconds or I get a less than subtle warning.  Another question. Do you take flights? They engage autopilot all the time. You need to be ready to take over, but in one sense, being freed from those responsibilities gives me the opportunity to be more aware.
In traffic where it is stop and go, when a car in front of you moves it follows at that speed then slows when it does and stops. No stressful commute in the hassles of highway traffic jams. Just enjoy the tunes or surf the web on the browser in the background if stopped a bit. Have I mentioned the instant 0-60 acceleration of an electric vehicle? Yeah that power is breathtaking as well and silent. I love it when you are merging on the highway, and there is someone merging behind you starting to creep up speeding thinking they are going to pass you and grab the position you are in to enter the highway. The mere thought of going faster and you are looking in your rearview mirror at the muscle car who just spent $1 of gas trying to pass you is 1/4 mile behind you. 
So that is the Tesla. Not only do I have zero emissions (remember I put the sun in my car) but I can’t wait to drive it EVERY time I get in this car. It never wears off. I have never enjoyed getting into a car to go to a grocery store, for instance, like this. I will go a little further for things and more often without thought now because there is no fuel charge. That leads me to the next arm. Whole house solar power, which gives me my own personal zero emissions fueling station at home.
How is this about saving money you ask? Read pt 2 Solar and more to find out.
If you are so inclined to purchase a Tesla, here is my referral code that will give 1000 free Supercharger miles:
TESLA referral code: https://ts.la/matthew29580