By Stuart Ungar
Nineteen-year-old Spencer Rhoden is charged up about electric vehicles.
As a child, he was so obsessed that he had to dial back talking about them with his parents and friends.
Now a rising sophomore at Lyon College, Spencer runs an EV clothing brand and has also started a new chapter of the Electric Auto Association (EAA) in Arkansas — all while navigating his college studies. He also has a passion for archery and is the first signed archer in Arkansas.
Through his starting the Arkansas chapter of the EAA and a collaboration with Adopt a Charger, he has helped get 10 Level 2 chargers installed in his community. Looking to the future, he wants to build on his success by fostering relationships with local car dealers and providing EV ride and drive educational opportunities.
His interest started early when he was in a 9th grade engineering class. He watched the Tesla Model 3 reveal in class and was immediately hooked.
“I initially got drawn in by the technology and the ‘wow’ factor,” he said, “but later got really passionate about it because I saw how the electrification of transport can have a big impact on reducing carbon emissions.”
As a teen, he feels climate change is one of the biggest issues facing his generation today.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Spencer for my podcast, “Stu’s EV Universe.” He talked about how he’s seen his parents take big steps to be eco-conscious and how that has informed him with his EV work and in starting his EV-related clothing brand and founding a chapter of the Electric Auto Association.
Here is a direct link to the podcast on Apple Podcasts.
According to Cox Automotive, only 10 percent of EV buyers were between the ages of 25 and 34 at the end of 2019. The reason? The younger generation struggles with student debt, lower starting wages, and high EV price tags. But as more automakers enter the market and battery pack prices go down, the price gap between ICE vehicles and EVs is narrowing. That puts electric cars within reach of young buyers.
Spencer eventually convinced his family to consider getting a Tesla Model 3. The family drove to the nearest Tesla showroom (about 4–5 hours away in Texas) to test-drive the car. They made a weekend of it. After the test drive, they were hooked and purchased the car the same day.
My conversation with Spencer was filled with unbridled enthusiasm and entertaining stories. It offers a glimpse of a clean electric future led by a competent and humble leader.
Stuart Ungar has been interested in how technology can help us live lighter on the Earth for most of his life and remembers going on solar house tours as a kid in the ‘70s with his dad (and having to travel many miles to see each site).
Stuart is the co-founder of Evolve KY, Kentucky’s non-profit electric vehicle group, and has a brand new podcast — Stu’s EV Universe — which can be heard on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and other major platforms.
Stuart lives with his wife and college-age kids in Louisville, Kentucky.
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