RICHMOND, Ky. (FOX 56) — Have you considered going electric for your next car? The once-viewed fad has turned into the next wave of driving across the nation.

But if you’re still unsure about driving on electric, a new program in parts of eastern, central, and southern Kentucky offers you to try before you buy. The program allows anyone who lives in one of 54 select counties to test drive an electric vehicle for two-six weeks before deciding to buy one.

Mike Proctor is the publicity chair for Evolve KY and is heading up the program known as Rural Reimagined.

Per the program’s website, the goal of this project is to build the foundation for a more comprehensive EV community in underserved communities. This includes promoting EV infrastructure and demonstrating how an EV lifestyle is arguably more beneficial than one with a gas car.

This aligns with Evolve’s mission to speed up the adoption of electric vehicles statewide.

Proctor made the switch to electric a few years ago, doing so for three reasons:

  1. Electric cars are better for the environment. His car emits zero CO2 into the atmosphere.
  2. It’s more bang for his buck. He spends less money on electricity to refill his car compared to gas.
  3. Proctor believes if the United States was energy-sufficient, it could improve the country’s relationships with foreign countries.

The goal of the test drive program is to ultimately increase electric vehicle use in Appalachia Kentucky, a region Proctor calls an EV desert.


“You can’t go to your local library and find a charger, and we would love to, as a result of people finding out about this program, stirring some interest, getting some local folks to sort of buy-in and work with them to get, you know, additional chargers,” Proctor said. “If you build it, they will come.”

Proctor said from his experience, people statewide are interested in switching from gas cars to electric ones but just need a hands-on opportunity to reaffirm that it’s the right fit for them.

Proctor said Kentucky should be rebranded as the “Show Me State,” meaning if people see more EVs on the road, they’ll better understand the benefits and be more inclined to make the change.

Kentucky is in the process of adding more and more electric vehicle chargers, thanks to a program through the federal government, but Proctor pointed out none of them are east of I-75.

With this investment in areas outside of Louisville and Lexington and the development of Ford’s EV plant, more Kentuckians will be intrigued to learn more. From there, all he asks is that people give it a try.

“These vehicles speak for themselves,” Proctor explained. “We can talk about them. But once you get in and experience the instant acceleration, the fun of driving, they drive like sports cars because the center of gravity is so low that they corner, you know, like a Maserati or something. So, it’s just a great feeling to experience and say those make sense. If you try one, try it; you’ll like it.”

There are four cars available for the test drive program: the Ford F-150 Lightning, Chevy Bolt EVU, Ford Mustang Mach-E, and Volkswagen ID.4.

The participating counties are as follows:

  • Adair
  • Bath
  • Bell
  • Boyd
  • Breathitt
  • Carter
  • Casey
  • Clark
  • Clay
  • Clinton
  • Cumberland
  • Edmonson
  • Elliott
  • Estill
  • Fleming
  • Floyd
  • Garrard
  • Green
  • Greenup
  • Harlan
  • Hart
  • Jackson
  • Johnson
  • Knott
  • Knox
  • Laurel
  • Lawrence
  • Lee
  • Leslie
  • Letcher
  • Lewis
  • Lincoln
  • McCreary
  • Madison
  • Magoffin
  • Martin
  • Menifee
  • Metcalfe
  • Monroe
  • Montgomery
  • Morgan
  • Nicholas
  • Owsley
  • Perry
  • Pike
  • Powell
  • Pulaski
  • Robertson
  • Rockcastle
  • Rowan
  • Russell
  • Wayne
  • Whitley
  • Wolfe

To participate in the program, you’ll need to:

  • Provide a valid driver’s license (maintained for at least a year)
  • Have a clean driving record
  • Have proof of vehicle insurance
  • Have no criminal or poor financial history
  • Be a resident in the Appalachian region

To learn more about the program, you can find information here.