Electric car drives Richmond resident to solar

By Ben Delman on September 14, 2016

All it took was one test drive and Charles Gerena was hooked on electric vehicles. Gerena wanted to share his enthusiasm with others in the Richmond area. Not finding a group of fellow electric vehicle owners, he decided to start his own, and Drive Electric RVA was born.

“Owning an EV makes you a more mindful driver,” Gerena said. “You think more about how far you are going and how long it will take to get there. You consider how fast you accelerate or hit the brakes. And, you hear more of the world around you that would normally be drowned out by engine noise.”

The group now has more than 100 people on its mailing list. Half of them, said Gerena, own an electric vehicle of their own. The group does a variety of things to connect electric vehicle owners and those who are interested in learning more about EV technology. These include monthly round-ups of electric vehicles, meet-ups; and visits to community events. Gerena said the group is working on forging relationships with local car dealers who sell electric vehicles as well.

Some of the electricity Gerena uses to power his car comes right from his rooftop. He had a 6kW system installed this June through the Richmond Community Solar Co-op. His system meets about half of his home’s electricity usage. He expects to pay off the system in less than ten years.