Ride and drive event gets employees in electric vehicles

Who better to tout the benefits of electric vehicles (EV) than employees who “walk the walk” and hop in the driver’s seat themselves?

Great River Energy, in partnership with Midwest EVOLVE and PlugInConnect, hosted an EV ride and drive event for employees at its Maple Grove office.

Great River Energy employees were able to take a spin in an electric vehicle during a Listen & Learn event at the cooperative’s Maple Grove office.

Great River Energy employees were able to take a spin in an electric vehicle during a Listen & Learn event at the cooperative’s Maple Grove office.

Before getting the opportunity to take a spin in an EV, approximately 50 employees learned about Great River Energy’s electrification efforts in the transportation sector from David Ranallo, manager of marketing and member services.

“Electricity is a smart choice. We’re member-owned and wouldn’t promote something unless it was good for our membership – and electric vehicles are not only good for our membership but the environment as well,” Ranallo said.

Since 2014, Great River Energy has hosted 36 EV-related events in its service territory and garnered more than 19 million media impressions from those. EV numbers have steadily risen since then, too – from 31 in Great River Energy’s service territory in 2014 to 1,079 as of 2017.

Ranallo noted Great River Energy plans to continue building awareness around EVs through education and investments with an ultimate goal of making it as easy as possible for consumers to switch to driving an EV.

That switch may be just one quick test drive away for many, as Jason Vollbrecht, leader of benefits in the human resources department, learned during the event.

“It was so easy to drive and that’s what surprised me – it had more giddy-up and go than my car now,” Vollbrecht said, speaking of the electric Mitsubishi Outlander he drove. “To be honest, my next car probably will be an electric vehicle. I like the fact it’s different and it will easily fit into my lifestyle.”