Lori springs for a used electric vehicle

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How and why a Saint Paul mosaic artist made the switch to clean transportation.

Lori Greene is an artist who owns a studio, classroom, and art supply store, Mosaic on a Stick, in the heart of the Hamline-Midway neighborhood. Long committed to sustainability, Lori had been thinking of buying an electric vehicle for over two years. After her car of 15 years racked up some costly repairs, she finally made the leap.

Lori purchased her 2014 Leaf on the last day of 2018 from a dealer in Hopkins who only sells used electric cars. Charging and driving her Leaf this snowy winter has truly been a learning experience. “People tell me I bought at the worst time of the year, but really I had to learn at some point!” 

Lori uses a standard extension cord to charge her car while she’s working in the studio, and runs the cord from a normal electrical outlet in her business’s basement.

Charging out and about

Electric vehicles do great in cold weather, and Lori’s Leaf has been no exception: it started up every day during the polar vortex, no issues. 

Lori loves using public charging stations throughout her community and agrees we need more of them, especially in unexpected places.

Promoting policies that encourage this access is important to Fresh Energy and to Lori: “As a woman of color who is just barely middle class, it makes me sad to think that others like me will be the last people to own electric cars. We need to do more.”

Lori says the benefits of driving electric have extended beyond the environmental impact. Charging her Leaf around town has brought her closer to the curious public: “So many people have stopped me to ask questions and learn more. It’s allowed me to have so many conversations I wouldn’t have had otherwise.”

Increasing infrastructure in Minnesota

While charging infrastructure is on the rise across the state and the nation, this is an area where federal and state investment will be key to getting more folks into electric vehicles.

After driving to rural Minnesota to teach an art class, Lori was stuck searching for a charging station, after her planned station was unexpectedly out of service. ”There just aren’t many charging stations in greater Minnesota!” She’s hopeful that in the coming years, access to electric vehicle charging infrastructure will be more attainable.

“I have no regrets about buying my Leaf,” Lori says, “It’s important to make a difference—in whatever small way I can.”

Fresh Energy enthusiastically supports policies that increase adoption and access to electric vehicle ownership along with ample public charging infrastructure. Alongside electric cars, electrified transportation is a cornerstone of the clean energy economy and promotes greater transportation equity in our communities.