News Article

Getting to Know Our Driver

September 14, 2020
By Jonathan Susser

With our National Drive Electric Week road trip rapidly approaching, we wanted to share a bit about our fearless leader and driver, Jacob Bolin. Let’s check in to learn more!

PINC: Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

JB: Well, I think we should start with the most important thing first — I am a lover of the road trip! My name is Jacob Bolin, and I’m thrilled to be the program manager for Plug-in NC. During normal times, this job allows me to get out and about all across the state (and sometimes the country) to share the benefits of electric vehicles (EVs). It’s awesome. I’m passionate about clean energy and believe that EVs are a critical piece to decarbonizing our future.

When I’m not working — and sometimes when I am — I’ve been fortunate enough to travel all around. Over the last few years, I’ve visited Vietnam, Portugal, Mexico, Columbia, Ireland and Hawaii (a few times). Durham is my North Carolina home, and I’ve been here for about five years. I love running, sunshine, cooking new cuisines (currently, my partner and I are focusing on Iranian food) and working with kids as a middle school cross-country coach.

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PINC: So you said you’re a lover of road trips — what and how many have you taken?

JB: I guess it depends on what we consider to be a road trip! I’ve taken two that have hit the 4,000-mile mark and have had a number of others going back to when I was a kid. Here are some of my most memorable:

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PINC: Those all sound amazing. Do you have a favorite road trip story?

JB: Do I have to pick just one? I’ve never been good at brevity, so I’ll share a few.

PINC: Well, first, congratulations. Second, how do you think this trip will be different from your others (besides the lack of a proposal)?

JB: Well for starters, it’s with an EV. I’ve been set on paying off my student loans, and since my current vehicle (my beloved Ford C-MAX hybrid, named Minnie) is paid off, I haven’t yet made the jump to electric. It feels a bit hypocritical since it’s literally my job, but having access to the company Chevy Bolt is a heck of a perk. I’ll be an EV convert soon enough.

It’ll be fun to spend so much time hopping around North Carolina and Virginia. I’ve spent my share of time camping, driving and touring through North Carolina, but this itinerary promises some new places for me — especially some areas that don’t get as much love as they deserve, like Kinston and New Bern.

PINC: What are you most excited about, considering this will be your first road trip in an EV?

JB: So many things! I’m excited for our team to bring an exciting idea and concept to celebrate National Drive Electric Week. Obviously, this year has been one of limitations, and it’s been hard to miss out on all of the public events that we normally do. This feels like a nice change of pace to the webinars and other virtual events, and I hope it will resonate with folks who are curious about EVs.

I’m stoked to talk to other EV drivers and strike up (safe, socially distant) conversations with folks who might be less aware of EVs. Plus, I want to debunk the range anxiety and road trip myths that float around.

I’m excited to move a little more slowly, spending some time in places that I haven’t been, and exploring while the EV charges up. I’m also excited to see what our Plug-in NC friends decide to name our trusty Chevy Bolt. (Update: It’s Wattson!)

PINC: What do you think will be the most difficult aspects of the trip?

JB: We’ve designed this trip to intentionally travel to areas of North Carolina and Virginia that have some of the larger gaps in charging station access. I think this will resonate with North Carolinians and others because many parts of eastern North Carolina are such large tourism hubs and corridors. I think sometimes with a road trip, we can just blast through certain locations quickly in order to get to our destination for the day or week. I’m nervous about station access at a few points and the time it might take to charge when there isn’t DC fast charging, but I’m excited to see what those places hold.

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PINC: Is there anything that you are particularly eager to see?

JB: It’s certainly been done before, but I’m eager to see our Chevy Bolt on a ferry to Ocracoke! Not only is it a tourist destination, but it feels like the “hardest”-to-reach place in North Carolina. It should be fun to drive electric through the island and onward. I’m also eager to see who is working to fill charging station gaps across the state. We work so closely with North Carolina’s electric utilities in the state. Duke Energy, Dominion Energy and North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives have all been such proactive leaders in electric transportation. I’m excited to visit some new stations that they’ve installed and also to speak to the businesses and organizations that value them as commodities for their customers and visitors.

PINC: What are the road trip essentials that you’ll be taking with you? Any you’re adding this time around?

JB: Here is the list I have in mind:

Due to spending some time at charging stations, I’ll probably make more use of the hammock to lounge, and maybe squeeze in some exercise too! Other than that, the GoPro and vlogging approach will be new to me. I’m excited but nervous to see how it comes together and tell the story!

PINC: Any parting words?

JB: I want to give a shoutout to our Plug-in NC communications team. I’m thrilled to be taking this trip, but the real work is being done by them to tell this story and make it interesting for our Plug-in NC community. Due to COVID, we can’t travel on this journey together, but they are making it happen!

Stay tuned to Plug-in NC social media for updates on Jacob’s road trip adventures across eastern North Carolina and Virginia!