Story by Kaitlin Kulich – for UpGrade Ohio and College Green Magazine. Photos provided by Sarah Fischer of Clean Fuels Ohio.
Additional coverage by the Athens Messenger: “Electric vehicle enthusiasts promote sustainability in Athens County” – posted April 7, 2017
Electric and hybrid car owners and people interested in owning and learning about electric vehicles gathered at the Athens Public Library last Sunday for The Sustainable Living Network’s “EV Round-Up” event. Volts, Leafs, and homemade electric bikes and motorcycles were showcased and a representative from Ohio University Credit Union talked about their 0% interest loan program for electric car loans.
Long time electric car owners to recently converted drivers shared their experiences with their cars and why they decided to drive electric.
Linda Parsons, an Athens County resident and long-time electric car owner, raved about her hybrid Chevy Volt she brought to the event.
“I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t want a car like this,” Parsons said, “today (April 2) was the first time I got gas since January!”
Kyle Look, another Athens County resident at the event, decided to buy a Nissan Leaf, which completely runs on electric, because of the high environmental and economic sustainability the car provides.
“We decided to go electric because we wouldn’t have to repair it as much down the road. It only has two major parts to it [the lithium battery and the electric motor]. It’s the cheapest car you can own and it’s economic value is very sustainable.”
Look decided to come to the EV Round Up event to learn more about electric cars, where charge stations are located around the area and to meet and talk to people who also have electric cars. Look said he hopes to see more people come to The Sustainable Living Network events because the people who do come already know a lot about the information that is being shared, such as electric car technology.
Another advocate for sustainable living, Ed Perkins, a Sustainable Living Network event organizer, also expressed he would like to see more OU students come to these events because, “this is their future and they can at least start learning about electric cars and other sustainable ways of life.”
Opportunities to learn about other ways to live more eco-friendly where provided at the event as well. The Ohio University Credit Union was not only at the event to inform people about their electric vehicle loan program but to showcase their many sustainability specials such as a discounted rate on solar panel installation, high efficiency water heaters, energy efficient windows, doors, and skylights, solar generators and more.
Eva Bloom, a membership development specialist and representative for the Ohio University Credit Union at the event explained the sustainability specials are marked at a discounted rate and contingent on an individual’s credit. Bloom also said people wanting to take advantage of the electric vehicle loan and any sustainability specials must be an Athens county resident or have their primary place of work be in Athens.
The electric vehicle loan program was set up in December 2015 and Bloom said as of this past February about 60 people have signed up for the program.
“We have been very surprised about the diversity of people who have taken out these loans,” Bloom said. “We have had young folks to older folks, really a wide range of ages come to us to take out a loan.”
According to the Ohio University Credit Union, these drivers who have signed up for the loan program and are driving an electric vehicle are not only reducing their fuel cost, which offsets the initial cost for an EV, but are paying half the cost they would half to pay to maintain a traditional vehicle and will only see an average increase of 11 dollars per month in electricity costs.
However, not all people at the EV Round Up event took advantage of the OU Credit Union loan program. Denis Miller, who lives entirely off the grid in his self-made cabin, brought his own 3 wheeled electric motorcycle, called The Electro-Cycle, he made in his mechanic shop. When asked why he decided to make his own electric vehicles, Miller explained working as a mechanic with traditional cars made him want to create his own vehicles that have more simplistic designs and less environmental impact.
“My goal is to create a vehicle that the average person could work on themselves,” said Miller, “and I’m simply happy when I work on my vehicles and when I work on a fossil fuel vehicle I’m not happy.”
Miller is an example of a person who has totally changed his life around for the sake of the planet’s well-being. Once a car mechanic, now living off the grid and making his own EV cars, Miller proves that one can live a sustainable life no matter their previous background.
The Sustainable Living Network will continue to showcase local examples of people who have lowered their carbon footprints and living sustainable lives. Anyone who is interested in these events are welcome to join and even become a member of The Sustainable Living Network:
Email Kev Polk at – – to be added to the events email list.