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Evolve KY Bring Electric Vehicle Know-How To The Bluegrass State

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Kentucky nonprofit Evolve KY educates the Bluegrass State community on the benefits of owning electric vehicles (EVs). The company hosts EV car meets throughout the state where owners can show off, and the public can learn more about the cars and trucks. Evolve KY also focuses on the importance of charging stations via its Adopt a Charger program, which educates businesses on available tax deductions for charger installation.

Founded in 2014 by Daniel Monroe and Stuart Ungar, Evolve KY works to address Kentucky’s lag time in the United States’ move to adopt EVs. It ranks 45th in the U.S. for owning an electric car, truck, or SUV and is the third worst in the nation for charging stations. 

Conversely, Kentucky’s economy is getting a boost with significant EV investments, with numerous vehicle and component manufacturers setting up shop statewide. The influx of new companies means nearly 12,000 new energy jobs for the state over the past eight years.

Photo Courtesy Evolve KY

Additionally, according to the U.S. Electric Vehicle Manufacturing Investments and Jobs report, the Bluegrass State has received $10.8 billion in EV funding. Two Louisville companies, Piston Automotive and Quadrant Magnetics, recently announced plans for major expansions related to their work on EV batteries. Similarly, electric car manufacturer Rivian recently bought a massive facility outside the city.

All of that economic energy is shifting Kentuckians toward cleaner, reliable vehicles. Evolve KY’s meet-ups focus on the benefits of owning one of these vehicles, allowing visitors to see a very wide range of models and EV enthusiasts to keep tabs on current marketplace trends. The nonprofit also puts information at people’s fingertips by providing manufacturers’ information to community members so they can research EVs before they make a purchase.  

Photo Courtesy Evolve KY

“It’s bringing awareness,” Wrensey Gill, Evolve KY’s Lexington Chapter vice president, said to WKYT. “Most people don’t realize, like my Nissan Leaf, the first month I had it, I drove 1,000 miles on it for 15 dollars.”

One of the key EV Kentucky programs is the Adopt a Charger program. This program partners with local businesses to install free electric community chargers.

Evolve KY researches potential charger sites and, if the site is a great fit, installs the chargers. 

The typical cost of each charger is between $5,000 and $9,000, but Evolve KY ensures that the businesses receive the maximum possible tax credit for the installation. This way, the businesses make a cost-effective decision, and the public can access free chargers. So far, Evolve KY has installed more than 135 charging stations statewide, most in readily accessible places, including eight churches across the Louisville metro area.

Photo Courtesy Evolve KY

“Many of the churches believe that we need to be good stewards of the Earth,”  Ellen Wade, a volunteer at All People’s Church in Louisville, told Spectrum News 1. “Presbyterians, as well as the Unitarian Universalists, all believe we have to be good stewards of the Earth, and we have to be able to keep it for our grandchildren.”

Lately, Evolve co-founder Ungar has noticed a real shift in Kentuckians’ interest in EVs as the good news about cost and environmental savings has spread.

“Now people are calling us,” he said to Spectrum News 1. “We’ve gotten calls from apartment complexes. Someone that owned a chain of car washes called me the other day. There’s been a real shift in interest.”


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