Discover more from My Next Electric
Mr. Ford, are you ok?
WHERE we talk about going electric matters.
I've been all over Louisiana this month talking to people in person about electric vehicles, and my biggest takeaway is this: WHERE we talk about going electric matters.
Conversations in buildings can get stuck on HOW IT WON’T work.
I’ve talked EVs with a few groups this month, and no matter how cool I think my slides are, it’s just so easy to end up feeling like Ben Stein in this epic scene from Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
You know the drill. Thanks for reading!
Sometimes I get stuck trying to argue my way out of how going electric won’t work. I get it. Changing 100 years of habits is not trivial; we each need time and space to process this change. But electric works. And it’s getting better and cheaper fast. Fitting it into each person’s budget and lifestyle is the real work. Earning the right to get into that conversation means getting beyond the academic.
Thankfully, not every conversation goes that way.
Conversations in the parking lot get to HOW IT WORKS.
By far my favorite event of the last few weeks was CLECO’s Ride and Drive event at their headquarters in Pineville, LA. The premise was simple.
Get as many EV’s in the parking lot as possible.
Let employees and community members ride and drive them.
This was one of the most fun, down-to-earth, informative events I’ve been to in more than a decade of get-to-know-electric-vehicle-events. (Here’s a great summary.)
I brought my daily driver combo - Rivian R1T + JackRabbit ebike - and parked it near the doughnut table. I opened up the frunk, the gear tunnel, the doors, and spent most of the morning talking how EVs work. Here’s a clip of me talking with KLAX’s Joel Massey in the parking lot:
Then someone asked for a test drive.
Conversations in (moving) vehicles get to HOW IT FEELS.
We moved the cones aside and took my truck out on the neighborhood loop CLECO’d set up. For the rest of the event, I did laps around the neighborhood, sometimes driving, sometimes riding shotgun.
A few times I lined the truck up on a straightaway and showed folks Launch Mode. The conversations that followed reminded me of this one between Carroll Shelby and Bill Ford II in Ford v Ferrari…
For many, it was the first time they’d felt 0-60 in 3 seconds. That I expected.
What came after I didn’t.
Every time we headed back to the parking lot from the straightaway runs, people started talking about how cars make them feel. Not just 0-60, but all the way back to when they were kids.
Almost every time, someone starting talking about how the test ride made them think about how they’d felt in other cars. Memories of drag-racing as kids. Of towing a trailer to go camping. Of the last time a car unlocked something for them - fun, freedom, good times.
It was a surprising, simple reminder of what we’re trying to do in this community. We’re not here to make academic arguments about going electric. We’re here to help people feel what it’s like to go electric so they can start fitting it into their lives.
This week, I’m finalizing plans for 4x25, the Experimental COO Project, and I’m already simplifying our summer plans based on this powerful reminder about helping people feel what it’s like to go electric vs. arguing our way forward.
The people you’re about to meet in 4x25 are as clever and curious as Carroll Shelby, and they’re building stuff just as cool as a Ford GT40. I don’t know if they’ll make you cry tears of joy, but that is absolutely what they’re going for.
Buckle up. 4x25 is going to be a fun ride, too.