DRIVE Electric Arizona Launches Native American Chapter

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Photo courtesy of DRIVE Electric AZ

In 2019, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community member Hans Klose and his friend John Martinson, founder of the Valley of the Sun Electric Vehicle Association, drove a Tesla vehicle to every Native American reservation in the state of Arizona.

Klose said that from those visits, the two concocted the idea of creating an electric vehicle advocacy group for tribal communities.

Over the next couple of years, Klose became one of the first members of the board of directors for the association. In 2023, members of the association received a grant from DRIVE Electric USA, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Energy.

DRIVE Electric Arizona was officially launched in March as an all-volunteer organization dedicated to educating consumers, utilities, utility regulators and government officials about moving toward electric vehicles. Arizona’s first DRIVE Electric chapter is the Valley of the Sun Electric Vehicle Association.

Now, Klose is at the helm as president of the first Native American chapter for DRIVE Electric, called Three Rivers Tribes, which serves the SRPMIC, the Gila River Indian Community and the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation. The chapter is named for the three rivers that flow through the communities: the Verde, Salt and Gila.

“The Three River Tribes chapter of DRIVE Electric Arizona is focused on educating about electric vehicles and encouraging electric vehicle adoption by individuals and organizations from the three urban tribes of central Arizona,” said Klose.

He noted that he is excited about cultivating interest in electric vehicles among Native American consumers and “handing over the reins,” or switching from gasoline to electric power, sooner rather than later.

Klose’s mother was Lorna Menson Klose and his father was Wolf-Dieter Klose. His maternal grandfather was Lawrence Menson from Salt River and his maternal grandmother was Dorothy Walker Menson from Gila River.

Previously, Klose was director of the SRPMIC Community Development Department, chair of the Salt River Casino Arizona gaming enterprise (1999-2006), and a member and president of the SRPMIC Education Board (1999-2015). He served on the Indian Land Tenure Foundation board of directors from 2014 to 2022 and was appointed by former Arizona Governor Doug Ducey to the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools in 2017.

During April, which is Earth Month, Klose said that they will be offering people the opportunity to participate in a Ride & Drive event. At a Ride & Drive, attendees can take an up-close look at a variety of electric vehicles and either drive one or take a ride in the passenger seat.

For more information about the Three Rivers Tribes chapter, visit www.driveelectricaz.org/three-rivers-tribes.

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