When Amanda Scarborough, Senior Program Strategist at REACH Strategies, was able to get her race shop-owning dad to drive her Tesla, it felt like all her worlds were combining. For this passionate advocate for sustainability, cars, and communications, seeing a big grin spread across her previously skeptical father’s face was a big win. “His reaction was priceless,” she says proudly.
During the past seven years, Amanda has become indispensable at REACH; her skilled direction of educational events and experiential campaigns have made her a powerful figure in this field, and it’s all still as exciting for her today as it was nearly a decade ago: “When I started, there was just the Nissan Leaf. I can’t wait for what happens over the next five years; To see it go from one vehicle to over 42 [means that] over the next five years there’s going to be hundreds of models!” Having her finger on the pulse of the industry is one of the many rewarding parts of her job, and it’s a thrill to see this field experiencing such a boom.
The barriers to EV adoption are always a topic of discussion here at REACH, and Amanda is full of thoughts about those roadblocks. “It really is about education,” she says, “And creating a whole new mindset.” During the ride-and-drive events she has produced, Amanda has seen owners of gas-powered cars with reasonably good mileage talking to dealers and scheduling test drives after a mere 15-minute conversation. “It’s like a light switch,” she says, “This is what I’m here to do.” In a society used to the tradition of using gas to power transportation, electricity can feel radically new – but once drivers realize all of the benefits, EV adoption seems a little less outlandish. Amanda admits, “It [can be] hard for people to understand that it’s doable. And, and not only doable but it’s not hard.”
With such an exponential growth in the number of EVs being produced, it’s becoming increasingly clear that EVs are here to stay. The growth is a good start, but for Amanda, there’s so much more to be done. “I’d love for us to get into school bus and transit electrification,” she says, noting that EV adoption has an equity issue. Bringing clean air to neighborhoods “that depend on public transportation” should be a key focus in the industry. Additionally, the sheer number of “automakers stepping up and making commitments” is heartening in its expansion of the vehicle lineup. “The more brands and models that are available, the more likely we are to increase adoption,” she reasons. Above all, Amanda hopes this progress continues, especially among makers of more affordable vehicles. “This market is on the cusp of exploding,” she says; “There’s nothing else like it.”
Tune in soon for another blog post in our series: Celebrating Women in EVs – Women’s History Month