EV Life Founder, Co-Chief Executive and Head of Marketing Peter Glenn is driven by his passion to help build a sustainable society by connecting electric vehicle buyers with loans that roll incentives into them.
Fintech EV Life provides consumers with access to EV Climate Loans, which roll government tax credits and rebates into the financing contract at the point of sale to make EV adoption more affordable for consumers.
“The biggest challenge that we’ve been focused on for the past three years is how to make electric vehicles more affordable than gas cars,” Glenn told Auto Finance News. “Making the price of electric vehicle adoption [less expensive] is really what gets people to switch, and they must care about the environment. That is often a secondary driver; it has to be cost effective first.”
Glenn fostered passion for sustainability by hiking the trails of nearby forests with friends and family during his childhood in Portland, Ore., he said.
“Having that sense of wonder and gratitude about the natural beauty of the world led me into caring for the planet and caring for our place in it,” Glenn said. “I’ve wanted to nurture that in different ways throughout my career.”
Glenn’s efforts promoting sustainability began when he was an activist volunteering in Tanzania in 2002 before returning to school to get a master’s in business administration in sustainability management, he said. He then landed a job running business development at energy company Fenix International, where he helped scale solar energy to provide power to more than 3 million households in Africa. Glenn’s focus on sustainability led him to found EV Life with his college friend and business partner Kevin Favro in 2019.
Auto Finance Excellence spoke with Glenn about his career, his approach to leadership and his drive to support sustainability through EV adoption. What follows is an edited version of the conversation.
Auto Finance Excellence: What are your company goals in about 10 words or less?
Peter Glenn: Finance electric vehicles for less than gas [vehicles].
AFE: What do you think is the most underrated lending trend?
PG: I’d say electric vehicle financing. Traditional auto lenders think that it needs to be financed just like gas cars, and what I think they’re missing is that these vehicles have a huge green premium on them, and they also have tax credits and rebates to offset that premium.
AFE: What is your favorite piece of leadership advice ever received?
PG: There’s been so many, but the one that sticks out for me right now is, “Put your oxygen mask on first.” That advice came from back when I was helping run marketing for the job post product at Glassdoor. I had an amazing manager named Katherine, and she always reminded us that the best leaders really come from a place of wholeness and wellness and that it’s our responsibility to lead from that foundation of self-care, taking time off, taking time for yourself and caring for the people on your team. Put your oxygen mask on first. It’s not just good advice for flying in an airplane. It’s really critical for any type of leadership.
AFE: Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
PG: There are so many different people, but I think — in terms of how I think about the vision for my career and the trajectory I’m currently on — I’ve been focused on bringing people together and dreaming big around technology that’s going to have an impact and solve tough global challenges. Right now, it’s about accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles to keep up with the impacts of climate change and help people save money.
One person that’s really influenced me, who I’ve never met, is Buckminster Fuller, the futurist and designer of the geodesic dome. He has this quote that’s really got me over the past 10 years in my journey. He says, “Lots of people try and change human nature, but it’s a real waste of time. You can’t change human nature, but you can change the tools [and that way] you can change civilization.”
The notion here is that behavior changes in any sustainable way isn’t worth it, but if we create technology and tools and processes, those are going to enable all of us to move in the direction that we want society to go in order to live in a more sustainable, prosperous world.
AFE: What’s something your employees would be surprised to learn about you?
PG: I have strong East African roots and I speak Swahili fluently. I lived in Tanzania for about five years and my wife is from there. I’m the only non-Tanzanian citizen in my family, and I have a whole set of good friends and life experiences in East Africa. They seem very distant from my day-to-day life in California, and yet they’re a huge part of me.
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