Jeannie Plew didn’t think about driving an electric car until she started working for an electric vehicle (EV) charging station company. She joined SemaConnect as Vice President of Human Resources in December of 2020, and within months, she was driving a 2021 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid. “I wish I had switched sooner, but I wasn’t informed,” she explained. “The only reason I even thought to do it was because of the SemaConnect employee incentive program.”
SemaConnect encourages all its employees to drive EVs or plug-in hybrids and offers a monthly stipend for those who do. Free charging is also available to employees at SemaConnect’s global headquarters. Jeannie, who has spent her career in human resources, appreciates that the company is practicing what it preaches. “I love that SemaConnect puts action behind its values. This is an amazing benefit for employees, and it’s definitely made a difference in my life,” she said.
Saving Money With Her Hybrid
Jeannie loves that driving a hybrid helps the environment, but the biggest value she’s seen is the reduction in her gas bill. Prior to her Prius, Jeannie drove a minivan. With a 48-mile commute to work, she found herself filling up at the gas station three times per week and spending over $600 per month on gasoline alone. Now, she only fills her gas tank once every other week!
In addition to her newfound time (and budget savings), Jeannie enjoys all the bells and whistles of having a new car. “I finally feel like I have a cool car,” she said, “I want to show it off to everyone!” Jeannie doesn’t typically buy new cars, but between government, manufacturer, and dealership incentives, her 2021 Prius was easily affordable. She was able to purchase her Prius at $7,500 below its list price, and because it is new, her car is fully covered by warranty. She encouraged anyone looking to switch to a plug-in hybrid or an EV to do research into all the offers available to them before buying.
Being a Female Early Adopter
Jeannie noted that, at times, she still feels the pains of being an early adopter. EVs are becoming increasingly common, but more so with men than with women. Because of this imbalance, there can be concerns for women that aren’t being addressed as quickly. Availability and placement of charging stations is one of her biggest issues.
Stations can be difficult to find and aren’t always placed in well-lit areas. “It sometimes seems like they were put there as an afterthought,” Jeannie described. “If a station is tucked away in a dark area away from everything, I don’t always feel secure plugging in my car.” Despite the challenges, Jeannie remains optimistic and hopes that with more education and an expanding infrastructure, more women will make the switch to electric for their next vehicle.
Her advice for anyone looking into an EV is to understand their “why” and make sure they can accomplish their goals by going electric. She also emphasized that it is important to check that the necessary infrastructure is in place before buying or leasing. EV charging is still a new technology, and a fully electric car may not be feasible if EV chargers aren’t locally available. Jeannie’s solution to this problem was to opt for a hybrid. She still gets all the benefits of an EV but has gasoline as a backup “just in case.”
“It’s been a roller coaster for sure,” she said, “but I’m very happy with my decision and I highly recommend making the switch!”