This post is part of a series of EV Driver Spotlights that shine a light on why people choose to drive electric. Drivers, want to be profiled? Tell us your EV story.
Mryia and her husband Todd decided to switch their family to electric two years ago with their Nissan LEAF. Now, they are the first people in the state of Ohio to own a Kia Niro EV! Learn what it's like to be a two-EV family and an EV trailblazer.
Where do you live? Do you see many other EVs around?
We are from Columbus, Ohio. We do see other EVs around, typically at least one each time we are out and about.
What do you do for work (and fun)?
I am a homemaker and my husband works as a Consultant IT App Developer. For fun, we love attending hockey games (go Blue Jackets!) and going out for a movie night.
Has driving electric affected your work or commute?
My husband has considered switching parking garages to have access to chargers at work. He works in the Arena District in downtown Columbus and several of the garages have ChargePoint units.
What made you decide to go electric? When did you make the switch?
We bought our first EV, a Nissan LEAF, in May 2017 because of a rebate program with our local power company, AEP. At the time, we traded in our aging minivan and kept our 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid. About six months ago, we started talking about passing our hybrid on to our daughter (now a senior in college) and getting a second EV since there are now longer-range models available. In April 2019, we picked up our second EV, a Kia Niro EX Premium Launch Edition.
How did you decide which EVs to buy?
In 2017, I read an article in our local paper about AEP (our power company) running an instant rebate on the 2017 LEAF in conjunction with Nissan dealerships. We had been talking about getting a new second vehicle for our family, and this exceptional offer (and knowing we could also claim the federal tax credit) was just too good to pass up.
I told my husband about the offer, and that evening he started researching the Nissan LEAF. He checked inventory at a couple local dealerships to find a LEAF with most of the packages we hoped for—and in our favorite color. Three days later we had a LEAF in our driveway! It is an excellent commuter car and was definitely the gateway we needed to consider another EV.
Tell us about your adventure becoming the first Niro EV owners in Ohio.
When we started thinking about getting a second EV, we knew we needed a vehicle with longer range, active thermal battery management and comfortable seats for tall folks like us. We started reading quite a bit about the Kia Niro and thought it seemed like it would be the right fit for us. We saw a PHEV version at our local auto show, and liked the look and feel. We heard that some dealerships were taking deposits so we got in touch with ours. They hadn't heard of the Niro EV but were helpful and found it in the ordering system, put in all of our requests and took our deposit.
However, three days later, they called us back to let us know the regional Kia rep had canceled the order because Ohio was not going to be allowed to order or carry any Kia Niro EV inventory.
"On April 22, we bought the second Kia Niro EV sold in the state of Maryland and then brought it home to be the first Kia Niro EV in Ohio!"
-Mryia, Nissan Leaf and Kia Niro driver
This kind of stirred something in us, so we found a list of the 12 states that would be getting inventory initially, plotted drivable routes (that would have the charging infrastructure needed) and started contacting dealerships (mainly in New York and Maryland). Some of the dealerships weren't sure what to make of our interest, since we had not seen the Kia Niro EV in person, much less test driven one since it wasn't released yet—not to mention the fact that we lived 400+ miles away. A few dealerships took us seriously and promised to call as soon as they got word of inventory.
On April 19, we received a call from a dealership in Maryland—they were expecting a gravity blue Kia Niro EV in the EX Premium Launch Edition, with both winter packages, and were willing to hold it for us! We booked a hotel room and a one-way rental car and took off on Easter Sunday to pick up our car on Monday morning. On April 22, we bought the second Kia Niro EV in the state of Maryland and brought it home to be the first Kia Niro EV in Ohio—two titles we can be proud of!
Where do you usually charge? Do you have a favorite charging spot?
We typically charge at home on a Level 2 unit in our garage. Our favorite charging spot away from home is Easton Town Center, which has multiple ChargePoint units in three different garages as well as a parking lot. All of the units are free and with lots of restaurants, shopping and a movie theater nearby, it is a great place to enjoy your time while you charge.
How much do you estimate you're saving on gas and maintenance?
Now that both of our vehicles are electric, we are easily saving $250 in fuel monthly and our maintenance has been reduced to $0 (a huge change since both vehicles we replaced were aging and starting to need extra care).
"Now that both of our vehicles are electric, we are easily saving $250 in fuel monthly and our maintenance has been reduced to $0."
–Mryia, Nissan Leaf and Kia Niro driver
Where's the best place you've taken an electric road trip, or where would you like to take one?
In our LEAF, our longest road trip has been to Cleveland (155 miles each way, about as much adventure as we want with a 107-mile EPA listed range). We love our LEAF but we really just use it as a daily commuter. Our Niro EV is an entirely different story since our very first drive in it was 400+ miles to get home from the DC area, and we have already driven it over 6,000 miles in just a few months. For our next big adventure, we're hoping to head to Tennessee.
What's your favorite thing about driving electric?
My favorite thing about driving electric is how smooth and quiet the ride is. It's also very nice to not have to stop at the gas station (or having to worry about fluctuating prices).
"Both my husband and I are very involved with our local EV club... We get to meet a lot of folks who are learning about EVs for the first time and it's fun to share our passion for driving electric with other"
- Mryia, Nissan LEAF and Kia Niro driver
Anything else you want us to know?
Both my husband and I are very involved with our local EV club, Drive Electric Columbus. EV owners seem to naturally form a kind of community, and it's nice to have a group to get together with to share information about EV programs and new chargers or just to compare notes about our EV experiences. We also get to meet a lot of folks who are learning about EVs for the first time, and it's fun to share our passion for driving electric with others.
We recently had a monthly meeting at the Rusty Bucket in Easton Town Center, so we had tons of people charging with ChargePoint. During the meeting, we kicked off our latest round of the #SupportLocalChargers challenge, asking EV drivers to use the hashtag and post photos charging with autumn leaves in the background.
Thanks, Mryia! We're so glad that you went the extra mile to get your EVs and share your passion with the people of Columbus. Drivers, get the ChargePoint app to find places to charge wherever you go.