By Kim O’Leary
A group of college students recently went on the road trip of a lifetime along the Wild Atlantic Way in a Tesla X model electric car.
Dublin student Conrad Opperman, 21, was told by his dad that a road trip in Ireland would be impossible in an electric car due to their “short range” and a lack of charging points across some of the more rural parts of the Wild Atlantic Way.
The Dublin student and passionate video producer decided to prove his dad wrong and gathered his friends for the epic journey along the west coast of Ireland.
Conrad filmed the project alongside his friends and published the final results to his YouTube channel Opperman Productions which was launched last week on June 4.
Conrad is a third-year student studying Management Science and Information Systems Studies (MSISS) at Trinity College and has been making films all his life, ever since he was gifted a camera when he was eight years old by his parents.
Conrad was joined on the exciting journey last July by his friends Alistair Loughrey, 21, who studies economics and finance at TUD, Dylan Dimond, 20, who is also a third-year student at Trinity College studying medicine, and their friend Zara Finn, 21, who studies BESS at Trinity College.
They were later joined by Conrad’s 18-year-old sister Isabelle who is studying for her Leaving Certificate.
Speaking to the Dublin Gazette this week about their incredible journey along the rugged Wild Atlantic Way, Conrad and his friends Alistair and Dylan explained how the epic journey came about.
“The idea for this film genuinely came from a conversation with my dad and his friends on a camping trip in 2019. We were talking about electric cars. I have always been a fan of Tesla and Elon Musk, and I asked why none of the people around the table drove an electric vehicle. The typical responses were that they were too expensive, the range was too small, and there was nowhere to charge them,” said Conrad.
“That conversation stayed with me as I knew how important it would be to convince people to buy electric cars. Fuel will one day run out, and we are causing incredible damage to the environment by burning fossil fuels,” he added.
After a Zoom call during the Covid-19 lockdown, Conrad and his friends decided to go ahead and film their journey along the Wild Atlantic Way.
“We started organising the trip in early June emailing loads of companies, we ended up emailing Tesla first and they got back to us when they heard about our idea and sent out the Tesla. The trip happened in the last ten days of July, it took us eight days total,” explained Conrad.
The team contacted hotels, restaurants and businesses along the Atlantic coast to take part in their film and many jumped at the opportunity with Ashford Castle, Dromoland Castle, Ballynahinch Castle, Harvey’s Point, the Skellig Hotel and the Europe Hotel all featured.
Speaking about the Tesla X model itself, Conrad said that he loved the car’s autopilot. “It drove itself on autopilot it just takes over, it made driving down country roads so odd,” he said.
Meanwhile Dylan’s favourite feature of the Tesla X model was the falcon wing doors. “The doors are so outrageous, they just stand out.”
Alistair liked the windscreen which ‘looked like a helicopter.’ “The Tesla X also had a front boot because there’s no engine as it’s fully electric, we thought the boot was really cool,” he said.
In terms of their favourite places to have seen during the extraordinary trip, Conrad enjoyed their stay at Ashford Castle, while Alistair really liked Connemara and Dylan loved the Slieve League in Donegal, which has some of the highest sea cliffs on the island of Ireland .
They also said that they received a very warm welcome from everyone they met on their journey.
The friends drove from Donegal to Dingle, a journey of 1,500km which was no problem to the Tesla X which has a range of 525km.
According to Conrad they took hundreds of hours’ worth of footage for the film of their journey along the Wild Atlantic Way.
Conrad and Dylan worked hard on forming the narrative for their film through the editing process that took four weeks to finish, wanting to show off the west coast of Ireland’s natural beauty.
“Everyone who has seen the film absolutely loves it. I could not be more proud of what we achieved,” said Conrad.
Meanwhile the friends say they would love to continue their journey in the Tesla abroad.
“We’d love to do it internationally, around America or Europe or Italy, they have charging points everywhere but Ireland is a bit behind that way with charging points for electric cars,” said Conrad.
Check out the published film on Tesla Model X on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way – YouTube