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Richmond Tech Chief Rebecca Hough: Paris Climate Deal Helps All

Her firm, Evatran, recharges electric cars wirelessly.



The recent Paris Climate Accord has been hailed as one of the most important environment agreements in history. Signed by 188 nations, it's designed to restrict carbon dioxide pollution and keep global temperatures from rising another 3.6 degrees and prevent more destruction by global warming.

For a perspective on what it means, Style spoke with Rebecca Hough, 29, president and chief executive of Evatran, which is headquartered in Church Hill at 7 N. 25th St. Founded in 2009, Evatran is the country’s dominant player in the wireless recharging of electric vehicles (EVs), including the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt. It's expanding its coverage to BMW’s electronic cars and is working on a deal with a Chinese firm.

Style: What do you think Paris will do?

Hough: I have to smile around here because the guys around here are getting pretty sick of my getting up on my soapbox.

What else?

The significance of the problem and the depth of the problem can’t be overstated. Look at the history of China. It rose to power and then had a complete drop to where everyone’s doing their dirtiest manufacturing and sending some of the dirtiest equipment that can’t even be used here. Now it’s on the rise again as they are becoming a world dominator.

You were just there?

Actually, I just returned from two weeks abroad just before the Paris Accord. I spent a week in India for a wedding. I spent a week in China and that was for business. We have partnerships there in China that we’re busy setting up. And this was literally the two weeks leading up to the Paris Conference.

What was your reaction to your visit?

The overwhelming feeling I came back with was gratitude about air quality and the resources we have here in the U.S. Think of going to the Taj Mahal and barely being able to see it. Think of only wanting to be outside for 30 minutes in China because the air quality can be so damaging. Being there and going to all of these places in the two most populated countries and looking at and feeling the air quality, I came back feeling this is why we’re doing what we’re doing.

How so?

Every person we help make the transition to an electric vehicle means we help solve the pollution challenge. What can we do has a bigger impact.

How long will it take?

The little steps are really the important ones. Our company can make a difference. A lot of small companies can make a difference. It’s something we take so much for granted. Paris is a good step in the right direction. Look at L.A. They took small steps to clean up their air and it took 25 to 30 years.

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