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Driving change with singer-songwriter Dar Williams

Dar Williams charging her EV

Driving change with singer-songwriter Dar Williams

Music, with its ability to evoke emotions and foster collective identity, can be a powerful tool to move individuals to take meaningful climate action. Musicians and artists have long used their voices to shine a light on pressing social issues, including climate change. Singer-songwriter, educator, and urban-planning expert, Dar Williams, is joining in.

Generation180 is partnering with singer-songwriter Dar Williams on her tour in the Southeast this spring. Dar, an EV owner herself, and Generation180 will encourage people to sign our Going Electric Pledge to make their next car, truck, or SUV electric.

We sat down with Dar to learn more about her transition to EV ownership. You can watch the recording here, or read the interview below, edited for length and clarity. 


Kay Campbell, Generation180: Hi, everyone. I am the Senior Director of Communications at national nonprofit Generation180. I am here with Dar Williams. I’ve been a big fan of your music for the last several years, so this is a career highlight for me. And so for those who may not know Dar, I want to share a quick bio.

Dar Williams is an incredible singer-songwriter who has been wowing audiences for over 25 years. Her music rose out of the vibrant mid-nineties Boston music scene, inspired by influences of alt-rockers, Berkeley, jazz musicians, slam poets, and folk artists like Patty Griffin, Vance Gilbert, and Jonathan Brook. And after a year of touring with her first album, The Honesty Room in 1994, she was invited by Joan Baez to tour in Europe and the United States. Dar, it’s just really an honor to have you here.

Dar Williams: Thank you.

Kay: And what audiences might not know is that Dar also drives an electric car! At Gen180, we have a new campaign called “I’ll Drive What She’s Driving.” This is a campaign all about encouraging women to consider making the switch to an electric car, and encouraging them to sign the pledge to go electric. Tell us a little bit about your electric car and why you decided to make the switch.

Dar: I needed a new car. I mean, you know, arguably one doesn’t. But because I’m traveling a lot at night and I had about 200,000 miles on my car — it was 11 years old — I thought, I should probably get a new car, new or used. 

I was like, all right, I can do this. I knew that owning an electric car I would have to do some planning ahead to figure out the route and I would have to stop to charge.

The decision to have kids was a big planning exercise, too, and I decided to do that. So I thought people are going all-electric so I can, too. I can help bring us into the age of making everything electric. I can handle it.

Kay: Is there anything in particular that you love about your electric car that you’ve noticed since becoming an EV driver?

Dar: Yes, it’s much quieter. So, if I’m sitting with a friend and we’re talking, I have to stop at a certain point in a regular car and I’m like, you know, I’m on my way to the gig. I have to guard my voice. It’s so much quieter that it’s just not really an issue and there’s something about the cabin — it’s just smoother. That was a difference.  And it’s a very smooth ride, and the pick-up is very good. They have a better turning radius, and that’s been great.

It’s very exciting to have solar panels and to charge my electric car and to be doing all of this, like I’m part of something.

It’s very exciting to have solar panels and to charge my car and to be doing all of this, like I’m part of something.

Kay: Have you been driving your electric car on your tour? I know you will be in the coming weeks. And how is that going with charging and fitting your instruments in there?

Dar: It’s great for space. I have an Ionic 6 which is a sedan.

I can get about 275 miles per charge. Then I have to stop for 20 to 30 minutes to charge. I got two free years of charging from Electrify America with my EV purchase and they’re in the parking lots of malls and big box stores. When you go and you plug it in and it works, it’s amazing and you’re like, this is the future.

Kay: We hear it.

Dar: I would say if you’re going to get an electric car, get all of the apps, there’s one called “Way,” which is terrific. It shows you where all of the different things are, and you should get Charge Point.

One time I went to one and the first unit didn’t work. I was about to do another one and a guy had just pulled up. So, you know, that was that, but it’s just like anything when you’re driving.  Things happen, the red light that you didn’t want because you’re late for work, you know, things like that. 

So I’m learning all the tricks and then we share tricks with each other. Within about a year or two, we won’t have to have tricks. They’re going to double the charging capacity.

Kay: Yes, it’s getting rolled out and in just a couple of years, as you say, it’ll be the norm. I’d like to hear more about what you’re saying being part of a community, like you have kind of a bond with other EV drivers. That’s really cool.

Dar: There was a woman who pulled into a parking space next to me and said, ‘how do you like your car?’ I said, ‘it’s amazing. How do you like yours?’

She said she was jealous of my EV. We talked about the cost-savings. I charge at night and at the end of the day it costs maybe seven dollars to charge my car. And it’s off peak so it’s not competing with other people’s electricity.

Kay: I’m glad you connected on that with another woman driver. As I shared, our campaign is all about encouraging women to consider EVs. Women give a lot of input when it comes to making car decisions. But women are less likely to be the first to choose an EV, that they choose them for more practical reasons or other considerations.

Why do you think there are fewer women EV drivers?

Dar: I don’t know if it’s the safety thing, fearing being frozen in the middle of nowhere with no charge. But I’ve stopped at places late at night after gigs because I’m a night owl, and there are a lot of safe places you can go at night.

I feel like I’m the one who can get in there and say, I highly recommend that your next car be electric. It’s just getting better, and demonstrably better for the environment.

Kay: When you bought your EV, did you know about, or take advantage of any of the rebates? There are state and federal rebates in the Inflation Reduction Act to buy EVs.

Dar: There’s one that I haven’t taken advantage of yet, from the state of New York. They gave me a big rebate right off the bat and they gave me the two free years of charging.

Kay: What advice would you offer to women drivers who are considering making the switch to an EV?

I recommend that everybody make their next car an EV and to feel confident that if a person who drives 300 miles each day can get this figured out, you can.

Dar: Definitely do it! I recommend that everybody make their next car an EV and to feel confident that if a person who drives 300 miles each day can get this figured out, you can.

Kay: Is there anything else you’d like to share before we wrap up?

Dar: I’m glad that you’re there doing this work and I’m glad that other EV people are there. If you get an EV, have some discussions, get together, and be a part of the community.