She initially sought out an electric vehicle because of the potential environmental benefits — a topic that’s important to her as an owner of Missouri’s first green winery. She’s since added two charging stations in the winery’s parking lot to welcome other EV drivers. Living in a rural area, Colleen had some initial anxiety about making the switch. But the transition has been smooth and pleasant. “Most of the time I can make all my daily trips without needing to charge. And if I do need a boost, it’s so easy since we have so many chargers around the metro area,” she said. “There really isn’t a trip I can’t make around the area!” She’s made good use of her EV, putting 6,500 miles on it in the first five months. It’s not uncommon for her to use her EV for various errands during the day (opportunity charging along the way), then spend the evening chauffeuring her kids to various activities. It helps that she loves the experience of driving electric. “It’s amazing how peaceful it is to drive without the noise and vibration of a combustible engine. The engine doesn’t jerk or shift as you accelerate,” she said. She’s also found driving electric an economical choice, with new models available for around $16,000 after tax credits and used models at even lower prices. “You’re not going to find a lot of ICE (internal combustion engine) cars in that price range, especially one with bells and whistles,” Colleen said. Her 2013 LEAF SL has heated leather seats, a heated steering wheel and a big screen navigation system. “If you live in the Kansas City, it’s a no-brainer to drive electric,” she said. “There are charging stations everywhere. We’ve calculated the numbers — it costs us about $2.32 to go 100 miles. That’s hard to beat.”
Colleen Gerke sees so much potential in the electric vehicle industry she's expanded her personal commitment to her business.