Turning an epiphany into a career, Sven Thesen has made waves up and down the California coast, pushing the most EV-friendly state in the U.S. to do more for the rapid and smart adoption of EVs.

In 2002, Thesen discovered the benefits of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and quickly became fascinated by the new technology. By 2007, he and his wife converted their Prius into a PHEV that they nicknamed “The Meat Grinder” because of the lead-acid battery cells filling the trunk. Since then, Sven has owned a Nissan Leaf and a Tesla Model S. He loves the convenience of overnight fueling and low maintenance. 

While working at the utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), he ran their Electric Drive Group. Sven has also previously worked on installing charging stations in Europe with the organization Better Place. He now has his own consulting group, called Sven Thesen & Associates, advising on EV policies and charging infrastructure. 

Lately, his work has been focused on getting approval for an updated building code proposal that would increase the percentage of new multi-unit dwellings that must be EV charging ready to 40%, a proposal that he says will save the state a billion dollars. 

In conversation with Thesen, he expresses the urgency of shifting to a clean, electrified transportation sector rapidly, but also doing so intentionally and effectively. He shares his thoughts on effective methods to engage legislators on an EV issue and how to educate on electric technology that might still be unfamiliar to many people.