Duke Energy isn’t timid when it comes to innovation. So it’s no surprise that a handful of employees direct their trailblazing towards transportation.
Consider Debbie Homce, a Human Performance Manager at McGuire Nuclear Station in Huntersville, NC. Although Debbie doesn’t see herself as a techie, she does consider herself a crusader for clean energy and the environment. Her degree in Nuclear Engineering supports this claim.
To support clean transportation, Debbie bought an all-electric Nissan LEAF. Although she uses the LEAF as her primary vehicle for local commutes – work, church, shopping, etc – she hopes that charging infrastructure eventually will allow her to drive her LEAF to visit family in the Midwest or Texas.
In Cincinnati, OH sits Rebecca Hackett, a Real Estate Analyst. Rebecca – who does consider herself an early adopter – waited 14 months to get her LEAF. In fact, she was only the second retail customer in Cincinnati to receive one! She ultimately decided on the LEAF over a Chevy Volt to eliminate more car maintenance… no oil changes, transmission fluid to flush nor exhaust maintenance required.
Co-workers have asked Rebecca about features designed to protect pedestrians. (To warn pedestrians of a nearing LEAF, Nissan designed its EV to beep at low speeds.) Another co-worker questioned the impact on Rebecca’s power bill. “I have not noticed any change in my bill. I trickle charge with a normal outlet in my garage at home during the overnight hours which takes as much electricity as running a TV all night.” This works just fine for her 12-mile commute.
Then there’s Whit Gallman, also an employee of McGuire Nuclear Station, who placed his order for a Ford Focus Electric from a dealer in New York in February 2012 and waited months for the model’s official launch. Finally, in May 2012, after a drive to Long Island and dozens of emails to Ford’s marketing group, he was the third retail customer in the country to receive his shiny new Focus Electric.
So far, our employees have purchased LEAFS, Ford Focus Electrics, Chevy Volts and plug-in Priuses – 4 of the 6 retail models currently offered. I don’t know how those numbers fare against other utilities, however where ever we fall, our homegrown trailblazers here at Duke Energy make us proud.