There were many amazing things that came out of GEO’s 2021 Electric Vehicle Tour. With over 500 attendees at 25 events in 14 Ohio cities, we are incredibly proud of the effort from our EV Tour Working Group. One of the best outcomes of the Tour was welcoming new business and nonprofit members into our community.
Our Member Spotlight article in this newsletter features one of these impressive organizations: Electrada.
Introducing a New GEO Member
Irina Filippova is the Chief Operating Officer of Electrada. She started with the company back when it was still an idea. In many ways, Irina’s feelings toward Electrada are maternal, and she is proud to see the company grow up to become a successful force for good in the world.
Electrada works toward providing integrated turnkey solutions for electrifying cars and fleets. In order for EV adoption to take place, Irina explains that strong infrastructure needs to be formed to achieve the following criteria: accessibility, affordability, and reliability. “We are here to help people and organizations electrify in a way where they don’t have to worry about all the different strands of electrification, from site and equipment selection to deployment and energy management. We streamline the entire fleet electrification process…. in an industry whose time has come.”
Timing is Everything
You may be surprised to hear that Electrada has not only taken off from an idea to a successful company, but that it started its operations amid the global pandemic in April of 2020.
For Irina, timing is everything. “If we had launched 5 years ago, I don’t think we would have as much resonance in the market as we do today,” she explains. “We may have launched during COVID, but we launched at a time where all major automakers have eyes on — and are making commitments to — electric vehicles.” These commitments add up to multibillion-dollar investments in research, development, manufacturing, and distribution of EVs.
So why are automakers turning to commitments with such high price tags? Irina says there are a couple of reasons to shift from oil and gas to using clean energy. The first is meeting the carbon reduction goals that are important for the wellbeing of our health and environment, and the quality of life in our communities. The second is from an efficiency and maintenance perspective – EVs break down less frequently and require minimal maintenance, and oil change. In the same realm, the total cost of car ownership also decreases, since the price of electricity is lower, even if one charges the vehicle commercially.
Appealing enough that large companies such as Amazon and UPS have made major commitments to transition their fleets to electric. In this important transition, companies often don’t have the experience to fully execute on this change. Irina explains how this is where Electrada comes in: “Electrada sits at the intersection of major shifts between the transportation and energy industries. The question becomes where do you have a productive discussion where both sectors are involved but unified enough to provide a concrete solution?” Electrada facilitates this solution through installation and support that lasts through the lifecycle of the vehicle and the partnership.
Irina’s story into the industry is one that she describes as non-linear. Starting out in the business school at Yale, Irina joined BP because she saw the company as socially responsible with a strong culture of accountability, safety, and environmental stewardship. BP was investing in every energy vertical outside of hydrocarbons, and this is where Irina gained her first experience in alternative energies.
With a new value of how everyday choices amount to a much bigger impact, Irina dove into learning about technologies, infrastructures, and manufacture/design processes that go into a truly sustainable industry. Irina considers herself honored to have worked with figures at the forefront of the environmental movement, such as Paul Hawken. “I was inspired by people telling the story of what it will take to build a lasting world… how we need to think differently and act differently to change our perspectives and our processes to become a sustainable business.”
All of this led Irina to believe she wanted to be more centrally involved in sustainability initiatives and build a career around them. After a leadership change in BP, she left for a startup focused on building a professional network of sustainability experts who provided service, advice, and consultation to companies like BP.
Leveraging her business background, from leading startup efforts, Irina then switched to working on the investment side, building a diversified solar energy value chain and bridging the gap between conventional and renewable energy. Through these experiences, Irina came to appreciate the different pathways to become a sustainable player in respective industries. Experience showed her that there is truly no one-size-fits-all when it comes to a personalized sustainable journey.
Electrada on the Move
From incubating an idea to leading a successful company, Irina has been with Electrada every step of the way. Watching Electrada grow to 14 full time staff, plus rotating interns from area universities, has easily been her favorite part of the job. “Finding people who are aligned with our mission and are passionate about electric mobility is exciting.” Irina loves seeing how these people have grown the company and pursued their potential within the company. “They influence and impact others greatly – being on fire about what you do is simply contagious.”
Electrada’s future is directed by the vision of every community being connected by clean, reliable, electric transportation. Their mission is oriented around building a more sustainable world, and Irina believes in keeping this mission broad to leave room for inspiration. Fleet electrification is Electrada’s main focus, and with a long road ahead of discovery and transformation, GEO looks forward to being connected with and supporting such an innovative and aspiring company.
Written by Courtney VanHuffel