Randy Schimka, principal clean transportation technical solutions advisor at SDG&E, is an electric vehicle (EV) owner, an EV road-tripper, an EV evangelist, and nicknamed the “EV King.” Randy recently sat down with podcast host and former SDG&E/Sempra employee Lee Krevat for an episode of “The Climate Champions” to chat about his passions.
Randy has been part of our Clean Transportation team for eight of his 34 years at SDG&E, starting not long after he made the switch to driving electric himself as the 10th person in the United States to purchase the Nissan Leaf back in 2011.
In 2013, when the public charging network was smaller but growing, Randy and his son Brandon took an 850-mile road trip in their Nissan Leaf to central California. At the time, the Leaf only had about seventy-five miles of battery range. Through planning, they not only made it work, but they got to see areas of California they had never seen before (away from the freeways).
“That road trip will always be one of my favorite memories,” he said.
Randy has since purchased a Tesla to help with longer road trips and to partake in the Tesla supercharging network and is amazed by how far EV batteries have come in just a few years.
Randy and Brandon take a lot of electric-powered road trips—they’ve been to Canada, Texas, Colorado, Lake Tahoe, the Grand Canyon, and many other places. While he enjoys making memories away from home, he has a vision for the difference EVs can make here in Southern California.
“Now people have ‘range freedom,’” Randy said. “You can go where you want to go, and not have to worry about running out of energy.”
In San Diego, most people have a commute of about thirty miles to and from work. And with the new EVs on the market, a person can travel to Los Angeles and back on a single charge.
As a native San Diegan, Randy has seen the growing number of cars on the road and how it’s important to plan for future generations with respect to air quality.
“Everybody can look at the horizon on certain days… and you can definitely see we have a pollution issue,” he said. “Burning fossil fuels for transportation purposes does not seem like the way to go long-term.”
Every day at work, Randy is living his passions for educating people on the benefits of driving electric and fostering the growth of infrastructure that facilitates making the switch for companies and customers in our region.
“I absolutely love this work; it’s my calling, it’s my passion,” he said. “In order to convince people who haven’t already purchased electric vehicles, we have to have enough charging stations around for them to feel comfortable in making that leap. That’s what we’re trying to accomplish with our Clean Transportation projects.”
“You see that smile on their face, once they get behind that wheel and they start to drive. The performance, the acceleration, the quietness… it sells itself. And then you talk about less maintenance, cheaper fuel; it’s a very attractive package. I love this job and I love to talk to people about EVs and charging all the time,” Randy said.
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