Skip to main content

A Tesla owner transformed his Model X into a van life vehicle, complete with a bed and camp kitchen

Tesla owners love their vehicles, but this is commitment

Aerial shot of YouTuber Everyday Sandro outside his Tesla Model X.
Everyday Sandro

Living the van life is one thing. But most of us don’t aspire to live out of our cars for any length of time. They’re cramped, there’s no bathroom, and, if you’ve ever tried sleeping in your car, you know that it just sucks. One YouTuber decided to take on the challenge of living out of his Tesla. With a bit of customization and some ingenuity, he managed to travel the United States for an entire year in relative comfort.

Like all great (read crazy) ideas, Sandro van Kuijck’s cross-country road trip started as an experiment of sorts. The YouTuber, who goes by Everyday Sandro, bought a Tesla Model 3 EV and tested his car camping skills in and around Texas in 2022. In the early days of his trip, he confirmed that he was getting kicked out of pretty much everywhere, and constantly having to pay to charge his electric car was crazy expensive. But he soon learned how to set up privacy screens and sleep at public charging stations to avoid detection by cops and other nosey passers-by. Using the PlugShare app, he could also find free charging stations to keep the cost of refueling his electric vehicle down.

YouTuber Everyday Sandro showing off sleeping quarters in rear of Tesla Model X.
Everyday Sandro

Six months after his trip began, he upgraded to a Model X. This provided more sleeping space to spread out and even enough room to set up a mobile camp kitchen of sorts. The new Tesla’s hatch allowed for stretching out into the rear at night, which was not only way more comfortable but stealthier, too. Van Kuijck custom-built the kitchen from scratch out of plywood and off-the-rack camp cooking gear. It features a clever telescoping design extending well past the car’s tailgate for easy access to the toaster, blender, electric kettle, and even an induction cooktop. He claims the all-in price was about $1,200, plus about $500 for the portable power station that powers it all from the hatch of his electric vehicle.

YouTuber Everyday Sandro showing off the mobile kitchen in his Tesla Model X.
Everyday Sandro

Of course, an all-electric long-haul road trip isn’t cheap. He spent two months ahead of his trip scrimping and saving for the journey by working on-demand jobs like Uber Eats, Amazon Flex, and DoorDash. While touring the U.S., his in-car cooking setup allowed him to save money by not dining out.

Ahead of his roundtrip drive to Alaska, Van Kuijck shared this video (complete with a Bob Barker-style microphone) demonstrating his Model X’s full sleeping, cooking, and living setup.

My Survival Minimalist Setup - Tesla Road Trip Alaska Edition!

Not surprisingly, Van Kuijck isn’t the first daydreaming van lifer to take their Tesla on a whirlwind camping tour. A quick YouTube search of “car camping Tesla” returns hundreds of results. That’s largely thanks to the EV’s clever Camp Mode, which allows tech-savvy car campers to charge their devices and keep the cabin comfortable with automatic climate control (both heat and AC) overnight with minimal drain on the battery.

Van Kuijck seems to have no regrets about his journey. Although, he does admit to feeling unsafe in some parts of the country. Because the Tesla Model X is a bit of a novelty in places like Alaska and northern Canada, looky-loos would occasionally check out his ride, sometimes not realizing a person was sleeping inside. On those rare occasions, he said he would just activate the Tesla’s Sentry Mode to monitor his surroundings and keep him safe.

Editors' Recommendations

Mike Richard
Mike Richard has traveled the world since 2008. He's kayaked in Antarctica, tracked endangered African wild dogs in South…
2024 Audi Q8 SUV flagship updates exterior and lighting technology
New features help differentiate Audi's flagship from the rest
2024 Audi S Q8 in Waitomo Blue left front three-quarter view on pavement near the ocean shore - European Model Shown..

Audi pulled off a pretty neat trick updating its flagship Q8 SUV. How do you differentiate an automotive brand's flagship from the rest of the model lineup? It's imperative to balance significant brand identity clues with distinctive touches that signal the flagship's specialness.
The Audi Q7 three-row mid-size SUV packs sufficient luxury for many buyers, so Audi needed to add unique features to the Q8 to provoke desire and loosen budgets. The most significant changes in the 2024 Audi Q8 are in exterior styling, blending boldness with elegance, to use Audi's terms. Audi rolled out additional standard driver assistance technology in the Q8, but the drive trains carry over unchanged for the Q8 and the sporty SQ8.

The 2024 Audi Q8's updated design
The 2024 Audi Q8 styling changes emphasize the existing roofline slope, frameless doors, and broad wheel arches. The Q8's octagonal front grille incorporates new design features, including L-shaped sections on the Q8 with the S Line style option and on the SQ8.

Read more
Indian Motorcycle has a new limited-edition, carbon fiber-laden bike starting at $18,999
Classic cool with modern flare — we love it
Motorcycle rider out of focus carrying helmet toward Indian Motorcycle 2024 FTR x 100% R limited edition

Indian Motorcycle and the 100% motocross apparel and rider equipment brand announced its collaboration in the 2024 Indian FTR x 100% R Carbon motorcycle. The top trim of Indian FTR performance bikes, the FTR x 100% R Carbon, is a limited edition, with only 400 motorcycles available worldwide, with prices starting at $18,999.

The FTR x 100% R Carbon adds 100% styling, finish elements, and additional bodywork to the premium FTR R Carbon model. A single colorway is available: Blue Candy with white stripes and the distinctive red 100% logo. A glossy white trellis frame and red accents on the wheels and chin fairing add to the visual appeal. The trellis frame is the visible structure of metal tubular segments that connect the motorcycle's steering head with the swing arm, the section that connects to the rear wheel.

Read more
Only 50 Audi TT Roadster Final Editions are for sale (and only in the U.S.)
This limited edition celebrates the original Audi design
2023 Audi TT Roadster Final Edition view across the right rear quarter panel of the green car in an empty warehouse

The end of the 2023 model production year will mark the demise of the "fun Audi," the ICE-powered, two-seater Audi TT sports car. Audi of America recently announced a limited run of just 50 2023 Audi TT Roadster Final Edition sports cars for sale in the U.S.

Audi's farewell TT build resembles the 2024 Jaguar F-Type ZP Special Edition. The limited-run Jaguar roadster and coupe references the company's historic racing success. A notable difference between the two marques is that Jaguar will switch to EVs entirely after the 2024 model year. Audi is committed to a U.S. model lineup that will be at least 30% electrified by 2025 but will continue to sell gas-powered cars, such as the Audi Q7 Prestige midsize SUV and the S5 Sportback.

Read more