Cleco Power Hosts Ride and Drive Expo to Showcase Advancements in Electric Vehicle Technology

Cleco Power hosted an electrical vehicle ride and drive expo where elected officials and business leaders got to test drive the latest EVs.  ABC 31 News’ Joel Massey has more from a former teacher who was at the expo whose mission it is to connect people with electric vehicles.

“My first job ever was a middle school math teacher and I spent most of my life in the education business.  And so as an educator primarily I’m kind of obsessed with helping people this scary puzzle of switching to electric vehicles.”

Matt Candler is the founder of My Next Electric a company helping people transition to electric vehicles.  He was on hand at Cleco’s electric vehicle ride and drive expo to answer questions and give test drives.

“My Next Electric is an opportunity for my inner teacher and my inner electric vehicle nerd to get together and help other people navigate this journey and it’s going to depend each person’s going to have a different journey and for me my inner teacher that’s exactly the way it was teaching math so I’m kind of obsessed with the idea of helping people learn what this switch is going to mean in our daily lives.”

Matt showed me his Rivian electric truck and he says he bought it for a variety of reasons.

“It was an American made startup these trucks are built in Illinois.  And I know enough about electric from building electric motorcycles to know that if you design it right it’s going to be faster than a car.  It’s going to be able to pull harder than a gas truck and my favorite part about this truck is the air suspension.  I live in Louisiana with Louisiana roads, it’s the most comfortable ride I’ve ever had.”

He says he’s also saving a lot of money normally spent on gasoline.

“I drove here to Pineville from New Orleans and I paid three dollars for electricity at Walmart.  That’s my other favorite thing the reason I got this is it drives on American made sun and I pay essentially nothing for fuel I have solar panels on my house but even if I didn’t I’d pay roughly 10 to 20 percent in what I paid in gas.”

Cleco Electric Vehicle Program Manager Richie Biedemharm said they hosted the event to help educate people about the benefits and capabilities of EVs.

“Electric vehicles provide a lot of benefits to our customers.  It could save them on fuel.  It could provide them more convenience and it also gives them better performance and so these are increasingly a good option and we want to make sure we support it, raise awareness and also support the charging network.”

One of the vehicles on display was a new fully electric bucket truck for working on power lines that is a part of Cleco’s fleet.  Biedemharm said that customers can expect new charging stations to be popping up all over the area to prepare for the growing number of electric vehicles on the road.