By Zoe Soderquist
Electric vehicles have recently seen mass public popularity, with sales up 2.7% last year and the internet popularizing this type of car. The first electric car was made nearly 200 years ago, yet today the industry is seeing a massive surge in support across multiple sectors, leading car companies to pour their efforts into expanding technology behind their electric vehicle models. Electric vehicles have specifically seen mass support in Arizona, with Quartzsite set to be the potential site of a level four charger. According to research, such a charger would fully power an EV in 20 minutes of charging.
Arizona has spearheaded electric vehicle efforts and is home to several companies with a long-running interest in the EV industry, including Lucid, ElectricaMeccanica, Niccola, Rivian, Polestar, Tesla and Atlis. This phenomenon was explored at Get Into Electric Vehicles, an event recently hosted by Scottsdale Community College. The unique event gave a spotlight to a rising industry that has been drawing in a variety of environmentally-conscious and financially minded consumers who all stand to gain from the industry’s expansion.
The event started with a Q&A session led by local Arizona electric vehicle industry experts, including Peter Gruber, Tudor Melville, John Martinson, Kathy Knoop, and Baily Soto. Knoop, Manager of Vehicle Grid Integration Solutions for General Motors, began the event by talking about the multitude of jobs available in the electric vehicle space. The electric vehicle industry is unique in the multiplicity of jobs that interested parties can take on, including positions in engineering, software design, commercial and industrial design, manufacturing and maintenance. Positions are also unique to the industry with regional and urban planners needed for infrastructure to support the technology, as well as industry support from marketing, management, sales and media positions.
Baily Soto’s position at Legacy EV is one example of the breadth of job opportunities in the field available. A curriculum specialist, Baily began her position at Legacy EV with a decade of experience in education and a master’s in secondary education but always knew she wanted to work with cars. Growing up in a family where cars were a central part of her childhood, she has uniquely championed the EV industry by showcasing how future leaders can be developed in the industry in numerous ways. She has built over 300 hours of curriculum for electric basics that allow students to learn whilst interacting with a car. She provides specialized training for students alongside parts and kits for people who want to convert their gas vehicles into electric.
Following Soto’s remarks, Peter Gruber, CEO of Gruber Motors, opened by discussing his love of Tesla. His company was the first commercial independent Tesla service organization to provide support in repairing any car out of warranty at a component level. Their specialized process is able to find 1/700000 resistive cells in a battery pack and the company has modernized numerous procedures for assisting Arizona’s electric vehicles.
Tudor Melville, CEO of Suntech Circuits, shares a similar love for electric vehicles. His company manufactures PCB circuit boards that are critical for EV operation. His company was able to successfully deliver a board from Asia for Tesla in 7 days per special request of Elon Musk. He talked about the many sectors looking for EV infrastructure, like school districts looking into electric buses or Tesla’s testing of a semi truck made from electric. People in Texas are trying to convert boats to electric and current electric vehicles are being modernized to fit every price point.
The event then transitioned to a one of a kind car show, featuring nearly a dozen electric vehicles. The vehicle owners allowed event goers to sit inside of unique EVs and see what it feels like to be in such a car. From a converted 1972 El Camino to some of the newest Tesla Models, attendees were mesmerized by the numerous cars made into electric showcasing just how far the industry has come. If you want to experience a similar EV testing, the expert panel mentioned how Turo, a rideshare company, now hosts numerous electric vehicles that users can rent and try. The Scottsdale Electric Vehicle Association also holds monthly ride and drive events for members, as well as events similar to the experience Green Living was able to see in February.
Electric vehicles truly have something to offer everyone, whether you’re a consumer or looking for a new career.