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Driver Profile

Andy Fry

EV MODEL

Tesla Model 3 and an electric motorcycle

Next Big Thing

Electric buses



In the future, people may not have as much of an emotional connection to their cars, especially if those cars are autonomous. It will more about selecting the transportation ‘tool’ that best fits the need.
For Andy Fry, an electric vehicle is one (very fun) tool in his arsenal of transportation options. An avid bicycle rider and mass transit advocate — he’s helping add electric buses to the Topeka Metro fleet — his views on transportation are forward-thinking and thought-provoking.

What first sparked your interest in EVs?

“I’ve had an interest since college, when I was studying mechanical engineering, and I’ve been following Tesla for more than a decade. A while back, my wife and I set a goal to purchase an electric vehicle. Now was the right time. My wife’s family lives in Kansas City, so we needed the range to take us there from Topeka. Buying a Model 3 represented a premium for us, but since we only have one car it works.”   

How does an EV fit into your approach to getting around?

“Our family has a different approach to transportation. We want to have a diversity of options, and then just choose what option works best for the errand and environment. We ride bicycles a lot and we live right off a bus route. I also have an electric motorcycle and, of course, we have one car — an EV. We use all these methods, whenever they feel appropriate. In the future, people may not have as much of an emotional connection to their cars, especially if those cars are autonomous. It will more about selecting the transportation ‘tool’ that best fits the need.”

Where did these ideas come from?

“For me, a lot of it was rooted in being a frequent bike rider. I like being outside and it’s a great way to connect to my community. It also made me realize I didn’t need to get around the same way I always had. Working in the planning department at Topeka Metro has exposed me to a whole network of other options. Exposure is a big part of it. That’s why I love seeing so many charging stations at different places and EVs on the roads, because so many people are seeing that as a possible choice for their lives.”

How does electric transportation fit into the mix?

“EVs provide a great driver experience — super smooth and quiet. We plug in at night and it all just feels so easy. Our family is a big proponent of simplicity, so the idea of fewer components and less maintenance is really appealing. There is so much opportunity in electric transportation. At Topeka Metro, we’re working to bring electric buses into the mix with our transit fleet. We’ve worked to develop a transit-specific overnight charging rate to take advantage of the energy that’s available when everyone else is sleeping. There’s only a handful of rates like this around the country that isn't just a relationship between a city-run utility and its city-operated bus system, so we’re excited about the potential.”

What misconception do you run into about EVs?

“There is definitely the whole idea that an EV is a local-only vehicle. I think people don’t always grasp the depth of the charging network. With a toddler and a new baby, it’s better for us to drive than fly. We’ve driven electric to the Ozarks, Oklahoma and Arkansas — and we’re planning a vacation to Utah. It might require some more creativity, but it’s possible to go anywhere in an EV. And the nationwide charging network is just going to get better.”

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