A Frankfort outdoors enthusiast and environmental advocate has taken a road trip to promote the benefits of electric transportation.

Gerry James, founder of The Explore Kentucky Initiative, was recently invited by Kentucky's Touchstone Energy Cooperatives to travel in a Chevrolet Bolt in order to highlight the low fuel and maintenance costs of electric vehicles — also known as EVs — along with the environmental benefits and improving driving ranges.

“I’m very conscious about my carbon footprint,” James said. “It pains me to use gas in order to get to hiking or biking destinations because our mantra is ‘green, green, green.’”

The topic also came up during a recent Frankfort Plant Board meeting, when

Chairwoman Anna Marie Pavlik Rosen updated board members about an EV trip she went on to Minnesota, stopping at 22 different charge stations throughout the trip. She said downtown charging stations — which would appear on EV travelers’ smartphone apps — could encourage them to stop in Frankfort and see what the town has to offer.

“I think the concept we’re working toward of having recharging stations in downtown areas makes a lot of sense,” Rosen said. “Especially when you’re traveling and thinking about ‘am I going to have enough charge to get to next location in a timely way,’ you look at shops or hiking trails in that area to get something done at the same time. … I believe electric cars are feasible. It’s something we want to seriously be part of in the future.”

Touchstone reached out to James recently because of The Explore Kentucky Initiative’s work on social media in promoting environmental consciousness along with exploring Kentucky’s scenic attractions, he said.

James was then met Tuesday by Mike Stafford, an electric co-op employee from Owen Electric Cooperative, with a Chevy Volt in which they’d travel from Shelbyville to northern Kentucky then back through Frankfort on the way to Winchester.

“This trip will show all the advantages of electric vehicles and feature some major Kentucky attractions with our ChargeChangeKY car,” Stafford said in a press release. “We’ll visit the Diageo Distillery in Shelby County, Daniel Boone’s Grave at the Frankfort Cemetery, the Kentucky Speedway, the Ark Encounter and other places.”

James said that during the stop at the Kentucky Speedway, he was able to top out the Bolt at 93 mph.

One thing that stood out to him along the journey was the availability of charging stations, although some charged faster than others. There are also some that use only renewable resources — such as wind, hydroelectric and solar — to generate energy for the chargers.

The trip came to an end at one of Kentucky’s largest solar farms, Cooperative Solar Farm One in Winchester.

As the principal of an outdoor-advocating organization, James encourages people to look into the benefits of electric travel.

“This is an option for your family,” he said. “Most homes are two-car homes, and you can cut your footprint in half with an electric vehicle.”

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