From horses, to steam engines, to combustion engines, to the up-and-coming electric vehicles—transportation has been fueled by various technologies. Just as the automobiles zoom by, so do the times which shaped them. While electric cars have established a presence in modern conversation, many have found them inaccessible. They have not been able to test the vehicles for themselves and arrive at their experience-forged conclusions. Kankakee Valley Rural Electric Membership Cooperative (KV REMC) aims to change this.
On August 11th, KV REMC hosted an electric vehicle (EV) test drive featuring three EVs: a Chevrolet Bolt, a Tesla Model 3, and a Ford F-150 Lightning. Amanda Steeb, KV REMC director of marketing and communications, believes that providing this chance to take an electric vehicle out for a spin will help to educate the public, a key goal of the organization.
“We believe in education and creating learning environments for our membership. Today was a great example of this commitment. Our goal was to provide a space for the community to test drive vehicles without the pressure to buy but rather be part of an experience. The turnout at this event showed EVs have gained the attention and interest of many people,” stated Steeb.
And experienced them, they did. Feedback from attendants commonly included gasps about the EVs smooth handling and their great power.
“I heard the truck can pull up to 10,000 pounds,” said one attendant.
“I got a feel for how it drives, and I like this,” said another. “And the math for how much you’re spending per mile is excellent.”
The Bolt’s driving environment appeared similar to that of its fossil fuel companions, and its smoothness could be corroborated. Being a subcompact hatchback, the Bolt is engineered to maximize the space within the car’s interior as well.
KV REMC purchased the Bolt new in 2019 for $38,000, allowing them to inform themselves about the vehicle and its broader underlying machinery before promoting it to their member-consumers. Dave Howell, facilities manager for KV REMC, played a large part in its purchase. Additionally, Lochmandy Ford of Knox brought the F-150 Lightning for the occasion, just as KV REMC’s power supplier, Wabash Valley Power Alliance (WVPA), contributed the Tesla Model 3 from Indianapolis.
Thrilled by the enthusiasm and turnout of the EV test drive, Howell looks to expand what KV REMC will offer in potential future events.
“I can see us doing this again,” Howell said. “The support that people showed today by attending tells me we need to find even more vehicles or different kinds of vehicles for next time.”
For Howell and KV REMC, being able to create these windows of opportunity for the public helps display and fulfill their commitment to the community.
“We're community oriented. We want to involve the community and educate the community,” said Howell. “We’re more than just an electric co-op.”
To learn more about KV REMC, consider their website: https://www.kvremc.com/.