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Family of car buffs run EV business


Father, sons focus on installing home charging stations for electric cars

By Judith Kohler

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“I’ve always liked internal combustion engines and I’ve always said there’s nothing like the sound of an American V8.”

The declaration by Ron Rooney is a bit unexpected coming from the CEO of a business that installs home charging stations for electric vehicles. But Rooney said his lifelong love of cars, like automobiles themselves, is evolving.

Rooney, who lives in Littleton, is on the waiting list for a Rivian SVU. And last year, he and two of his sons and fellow car enthusiasts started Peak EV Solutions, which installs home chargers. Rooney sees the business as a means to educate people about electric vehicles, what they need to keep them running and make sure they know all about the tax credits and rebates available from local governments and public utilities.

“That’s part of our mantra is to educate people as well,” Rooney said.

Building a startup company is a new venture for Rooney. He spent three decades in the corporate world, holding senior management positions and running businesses, including in the mortgage industry.

His sons, Joe and John, started a business called Elevation Proving Grounds, which helps electric and autonomous vehicle companies recruit and hire employees. Rooney’s sons then recruited him to help develop a new enterprise.

“We were kicking the idea around for several months. I wanted to retire and get out of the corporate rat race and do something else,” Rooney said.

Enthusiasm for cars runs deep in the family, so a new career revolving around vehicles was a good fit.

“We’ve always had that interest in the automotive industry and have been car buffs,” Rooney said. “We’ve had multiple cars, show cars. This was an opportunity for us to do something as a family.”

The startup is also an opportunity for the family to be part of the evolution of the automotive industry. The International Energy Agency expects global sales of electric vehicles to grow by 35% to 14 million. The organization said 10 million EVs were sold in 2022 around the world.

In Colorado, the state has released an updated electric vehicle plan that envisions roughly 2 million electric cars and SUVs on the roads by 2035 and thousands of public chargers across the state installed or in the works by 2025. Moving to more electric vehicles is part of the state’s efforts to cut air pollution and address climate change.

Rooney said starting a new business is a lot different from his previous jobs.

“I retired from corporate life in August (2022). I took 30, 45 days off and then started building the business plan and started building the website,” Rooney said. “Because I was in senior management, I always had staff that I was be able to delegate things to.”

This time, Rooney is doing a lot of things himself. He’s talking to clients, developing estimates, keeping up with the latest on technology and rebates and incentives available to customers.

Home charging station rebates are primarily available through local utilities, said Ari Rosenblum, Colorado Energy Office spokesman. Xcel Energy and Black Hills Energy offer rebates. Rosenblum said many of the electric cooperatives also have incentives for EV chargers.

“If a home requires electric panel or circuit upgrades to install an EV charger, residents can take advantage of a federal tax credit for 30% of the cost, up to $600,” Rosenblum said in an email.

Rooney and his sons were on hand for a recent installation of a charger at a home in south Denver. Justin Webster, a master electrician and owner of Lotus Electric, works with Peak EV on the installations of the chargers and charger receptacles.

“They’re keeping me very busy,” Webster said. “Business is booming.”

Rooney said business has increased. “When we started installations in January, we were lucky if we were doing one installation a week. We are reaching one installation a day.”

Joe Rooney said the recruitment and placement business that he and his brother, John, founded is busy as well. Joe, who has a mechanical engineering degree, said the business originally collected data on vehicles for engineers but switched to offering staffing services when companies said they needed more help with finding electrical engineers or test drivers.

Elevation Proving Grounds has worked with companies in Denver, in Canada and across the country, Joe Rooney said. Clients run the gamut from startups to more established companies that are making the transition to electric vehicles.

A common thread among clients is the growing need for workers, Joe Rooney said. People at a recent expo he attended voiced frustration with finding enough people with the right skills.

“There’s definitely an issue of getting the next wave of mechanics and technicians trained on these vehicles,” Joe Rooney said.

Working with his father, who has always been his mentor, and seeing his father return to his entrepreneurial roots has been rewarding, Joe Rooney said. “It feels like we are making an impact on our community by helping people make the transition over to EVs, which isn’t always an easy one.”

The elder Rooney is looking forward to seeing what changes are in store as the auto industry becomes more electrified. He believes the necessary infrastructure “has a long way to go” and changes to the grid will likely be needed to support more electric vehicles.

“Where will EVs be in the next five years?” Rooney asked. “That’s what really piques my curiosity. We’re at such the infancy of EVs. It’s going to change in leaps and bounds.”

But Rooney still likes gas-fueled vehicles.

“I do think that there will always be a place for internal combustion engines. Maybe people will use their EVs for their daily drivers and have an ICE sports car.”




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