Kira Costanza, Energy Solutions Manager of EV Charging and LED Lighting for Cape Electrical Supply, has worked to build the electric vehicle charging market for Cape Electric from the ground up and is fortunate to be a ChargePoint partner. Costanza, living in Bowling Green, Kentucky, is passionate about her work and finds these opportunities to be exciting and invigorating.
Q: What kind of EV do you drive?
A: I drive a white Tesla Model 3 SR 2021.
Q: Is this EV your personal vehicle or a company car?
A: It’s a company car! Cape Electric is investing in leadership and success in the market, building a vertical market from the ground up to provide EV charging solutions for commercial customers and contractors in this rapidly growing industry. We are committed to serving new and existing customers, and providing both turnkey EV charging solutions and hardware sales. We are also supporting the necessary education and advocacy efforts in our communities to grow enthusiasm for the market and EV adoption. Cape Electric is also installing ChargePoint stations at several of our branches and continuing to differentiate ourselves as the go-to for EV charging solutions in TN, KY, MO, AL, IL and projects nationwide.
Q: What was the year you started noticing EVs?
A: Around 2016-2017.
Q: Why did you buy an EV?
A: To walk the talk. I provide EV charging solutions, therefore I am proud to showcase how EVs are a viable form of transportation in the TN Valley. I am also showcasing Cape Electric’s fleet transitioning to EVs.
Q: Would you consider leasing an EV versus buying one?
A: I would not consider a lease – owning a vehicle has always been, for me, matter of confidence and independence – even more so with an EV! I feel so proud driving it!
Q: What is your biggest challenge of owning an EV?
A: Range anxiety is real in this area! Infrastructure is poor, we have lots of work to do. But it is exciting and I am proud that I am making it work! I carry around 3 different NEMA adapters, I plug into welding receptacles when I visit my contractor customers, I plug into a 110V at a hotel without a charging station, and make it to the next charging location which may be a 240V receptacle or a Tesla Supercharger – I don’t know until I plan my route.
Q: Does your car have a nickname?
A: The Tigress because she makes a low growl/purr when she first wakes up.
Q: Have you had a unique experience with your EV that you can share?
A: Just a few weeks ago I traveled to Frankfort, KY to speak with a legislator about Kentucky’s position re: EV infrastructure, and ironically, there are no stations at the state capitol. The closest station (ChargePoint for the win!) was 1.5 miles away. It was a good talking point when I arrived at the Capitol Annex, having walked all that distance in heels.
Q: What is the most frequent or outrageous comment you’ve been asked about owning an EV?
A: “Why doesn’t that thing charge itself while you’re driving? All it would take is an alternator.”
Q: What’s been the most unique EV charging experience you’ve had?
A: Plugging into the welding receptacle at my contractor customer’s shop. Having to circle around hotels to find the lone outdoor 110V outlet to charge overnight bc every little bit helps!! Plugged in outside the dock door at one of our branches, charging cord barely reaching the 240V receptacle inside. Plug in everywhere!
Q: What advice would you offer about adding charging infrastructure?
A: More DCFC corridor charging in primary and strategic secondary locations, coordinated with utilities and other industry stakeholders.
Q: Does your workplace offer charging?
A: I am on the road for work most of the time, and most if not all places I visit do NOT have charging. I would absolutely take advantage of it anywhere I went.
Q: What type of EV incentives would you like to personally see develop for your state and/or your city?
A: I’ve always thought it was a chicken and egg situation – need more charging stations to increase EV adoption, but need more EVs to justify more charging stations – but it’s not. We absolutely need solid EV infrastructure to encourage more of the population to drive EVs. (Both in KY and TN, although TN is farther along.) I would like to see incentives for businesses/a commercial rebate program for Level 2 & 3 chargers, as well as support from utilities for DCFC project infrastructure costs.
For more Q&A stories, check out Tennessee EV Stories.
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