Electric vehicles have become a key factor in the movement to provide sustainable living to all Americans. NRG Energy is part of that vanguard, thanks to their initiatives which include NRG eVgo. The NRG eVgo program is part of NRG Energy Inc, which is a Fortune 300 listed company that’s dedicated to changing the conversation on how we view and consume energy in the United States. To that end, NRG eVgo has put together a network that is composed of charging sites referred to as ‘Freedom Stations’ for electric vehicles. They also provide plans for consumers and businesses to use these stations at an effective price. This network currently counts Georgia, Illinois, Virginia, California, Texas, Tennessee, Maryland and Washington D.C. within its system. A recently launched program by NRG eVgo will focus on the company’s bond with California, and is called the TakeCharge program. We recently had a chance to chat with the Vice President of NRG eVgo, Terry O’Day about the program and the expectations that the company has.
Clapway: I’d like to begin by asking you to give a little bit of background on how NRG eVo first came up with the Take Charge program – what was the impetus behind such a move?
O’Day: We’ve been marketing infrastructure to property owners, and what we’ve found in our outreach is that we’re more successful with a driver who owns an electric vehicle and is able to charge it on their property. The Take Charge program is intended to provide a new benefit to property owners, so we’re reaching out to drivers to tell them. So many of the drivers currently miss out on the benefits because they don’t have access to a charging station nearby and have to go a ways due to the infrastructure. Renters will appreciate having the chance to charge without undue traveling, and property owners will find that it can lead to more satisfied renters and more business.
Clapway: You’ve got charging plans currently available in seven states and Washington D.C. Would you expect to initiate a similar Take Charge tour in those places as well once the current tour is completed?
O’Day: Yes, the program is set up for that purpose to eventually go out to those other cities as well.
Clapway: With California accounting for half of all electric vehicles being sold in the U.S., how important is it, in your view, that the state lead the way in fully implementing electric vehicles as a way of American
O’Day: In my view, the EV movement won’t be successful if it’s not in California. Already, there’s so many drivers who are opting to buy electric vehicles because of the benefits they provide, and that’s great. But on the flip side,it won’t be successful if it doesn’t get out of California. The automotive industry is global, and it’s a deep set consciousness that’s ingrained. So the EV movement has to get a foothold across America and further. We think it’s happening, we see sales rising, and an uptick in more people inquiring about EV’s than in the past.
Clapway: Outside of the planned tour dates on the campaign, do you have plans for outreach to more employers as well to get more people interested in electric vehicles and what you offer?
O’Day: Yes, in fact, associated with each of these stops, we have folks reaching out to employers not only in the target cities, but in the regions of these cities as well. We feel that’s the best way to increase the visibility of Take Charge and promote how good it would be for employers to get behind it.
Clapway: What’s been the feedback to the Take Charge campaign since your recent announcement?
O’Day: It’s been really an impressively warm reception. It’s been impressive, we’ve actually gotten a ton of requests and inquiries since the announcement.
Clapway: Lastly, what’s the focus on getting youth involved, in terms of outreach with this program and others?
O’Day: We have programs designed to get everyone involved, in fact in part of the program, we do outreach and training to create a labor force as part of an outreach to help get that next generation involved. We are also involved in creating curriculum and tools to help those who want to be involved to learn the necessary skills to be part of that labor force for the next generation.