Written by Deb Groebner, Southern Coordinator
Students and coaches from YES! teams across Minnesota gathered online May 12th, 2020 to learn about electric vehicles and clean transportation during What will you drive?, our first-ever virtual YES! workshop. The featured presenter was Jukka Kukkonen, an automotive engineer by training and founder of Shift2Electric and MN EV Owners. He is a rock star when it comes to helping Minnesotans, communities, and businesses transition to electric vehicles!
Transportation is a top source of greenhouse gas emissions in Minnesota; the workshop helped participants understand how their own decision about what to drive impacts larger systems like climate, water quality, and human health. We learned about types of electric vehicles (EVs), ways to charge them, and how much money households can save by switching to an EV. Participants saw a demonstration of PlugShare, an app that helps EV drivers find charging stations and plan road trips, and CarbonCounter.com, an interactive graph that compares emissions and lifetime costs for driving particular models including EVs and gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicles.
Originally designed as an in-person event where students could ride in or drive an electric vehicle, the workshop moved online so students could participate while schools were closed for COVID-19. Hopefully next year we can offer a “ride and drive” for YES! teams. It’s amazing how quickly misconceptions about the ‘coolness,’ reliability, or responsiveness of electric vehicles are replaced by enthusiasm once people experience them first-hand!
Major funding for the YES! program was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).