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Published on September 27th, 2016 | by Cynthia Shahan

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2016’s Largest Environmental Mass Mobilization — National Drive Electric Week

September 27th, 2016 by  


The Sierra Club’s press release Monday shares that, indeed, National Drive Electric Day has become a popular and expanding celebration of electric cars, a shining example of our future. Electric cars are immeasurably valuable environmental investments. A record number of cities celebrated the 6th Annual National Drive Electric Week to highlight this and to get more consumers trying them out. The Sierra Club is calling the event 2016’s largest environmental mass mobilization.

The event I attended was warm and friendly. It was truly an upbeat event near Florida waterfront — Electrifying the Island.

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Sharing their 2016 Nissan Leaf at Mote Marine in Sarasota, Florida, for National Drive Electric Week.

Sierra Club continues, “This year’s sixth annual National Drive Electric Week was the biggest National Drive Electric week yet with 235 events in 212 cities, seven countries, and 46 U.S. states held between Saturday, September 10 and Sunday, September 18.”

The celebrations gave 7,368 test drives to interested and potential EV owners. Some cities enjoyed celebrations combined with environmental proclamations from city or county government, street fairs, and electric vehicle parades. All told, more than 120,000 National Drive Electric Week attendees had another or a first opportunity to check out electric vehicles (EVs).

“With more chargers in the ground and EVs on the road than ever before, it’s clear we’re driving forward, not backward. Clean transportation is here, and it’s here to stay,” said Gina Coplon-Newfield, the Sierra Club’s Electric Vehicles Initiative director.

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An early leader, a Tesla Roadster, at Mote Marine in Sarasota, Florida, for National Drive Electric Day — Electrify the Island.


 

“As more than half a million electric vehicles drive along U.S. roadways and public officials and everyday citizens flock to National Drive Electric Week events, this year’s exciting events show that American drivers are ready to make the switch from dirty gasoline to clean energy solutions like electric vehicles,” Coplon-Newfield continues.

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EV and Solar Enthusiasts At National Drive Electric Day in Sarasota, Florida

Nothing is better than first-hand experience. Getting out and talking to generous EV enthusiasts offers a one-on-one experience that goes a long way to advance EV adoption. Quality experiences lead the way.

I have not talked with or heard of one disappointed EV driver — EV drivers love their EVs — but most non-EV drivers aren’t aware of this, and many haven’t even been exposed to an EV driver yet.

Sierra Club notes, “National Drive Electric Week is based on the idea that nothing beats learning the ropes from existing owners and ride-and-drives in clean, quiet and powerful plug-in vehicles for converting gasoline-car drivers to EV owners.” I agree. Although, sites like CleanTechnica, EV Obsession, and Gas2 make a powerful difference as well.

The event I participated in was a lighthearted, healthy-heart, clean-air experience.

Electric cars are cost-saving, health-saving, and fun tools. For the sixth year in a row, Plug In America, the Sierra Club, and the Electric Auto Association teamed up with local groups to organize events, which featured all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric cars. Individual activists organized events, too.

“In just five years since this event began, we’ve seen a massive uptick in consumer interest, product availability and social push for clean transportation,” stated Plug In America’s Executive Director Joel Levin. “With such wide variety in today’s marketplace, there truly is an electric vehicle to fit every lifestyle and price point.”

Some highlights of this year’s events included:

  • National Drive Electric Week proclamations and speeches by many public officials, including the governor of Hawaii; the Chair of the California Air Resources Board; U.S. Congressman Paul Tonko (NY); and the mayors of Boise (ID), Salt Lake City (UT), Ottawa (Ontario), Pleasantville (NY), Fargo (ND), South Portland (ME), Annapolis (MD), Baton Rouge and New Orleans (LA), Windsor Heights and Des Moines (IA), Alpharetta (GA), and Cupertino and Solvang (CA).
  • Ribbon-cuttings for several charging stations at Dunkin’ Donuts locations in the Pittsburgh area and 26 new charging stations at the Hyatt Regency in Sacramento, CA.
  • The President of the University of Utah and the Mayor of Salt Lake City announced a new round of funding for EV rebates and reduced costs of EVs through a joint purchasing program.
  • The White House and the U.S. Department of Energy amplified news about EVs and National Drive Electric Week through social media.
  • More than 400 media articles in TV, radio, print, and web outlets referencing this year’s NDEW events.
  • Dozens of U.S. Navy sailors checking out EVs at the military base in Groton, CT.
  • Wall-mounted charger giveaways in Cupertino, CA and Poolesville, MD.
  • 750 ride-and-drives at one Los Angeles event alone.
  • A speech urging for increased availability of electric vehicles in North Carolina by race-car driver and EV-owner Leilani Munter in Asheville, NC.
  • Zero-emission electric bus demonstrations in Richmond, CA, and Concord, NH, and a showing of Alaska’s first electric bus in Juneau, AK.
  • Ride-and-drives and financing and rebate information booths to highlight EV incentives geared toward low-income residents, in Watts, CA.
  • An Electric Juice Bar Crawl featuring a caravan of EVs who toured and visited public charging sites around town and gave attendees the opportunity to ride in different models of electric vehicles in Las Vegas, NV.
  • International events included dozens in New Zealand alone, and events in Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Hong Kong, and Italy.

0585-2Oldsmar, Florida, Teslas via National Drive Electric Photos. Credit: Jorge Chavez

china-drive-electric-weekHong Kong Drive Electric Week Photo. Credit: Ralph Ng

Nissan has served as National Drive Electric Week’s exclusive automotive sponsor since 2013. California Electric Transportation Coalition (CalETC) was a silver sponsor, ClipperCreek a bronze sponsor, and PlugShare a media sponsor.

Next year’s Cleantech Mass Mobilization — or rather, National Drive Electric Week — will take place from September 9 to 17, 2017.

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Images: National Drive Electric Week Photos and photos by Cynthia Shahan for CleanTechnica.com

 
 





 

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About the Author

Cynthia Shahan started writing by doing research as a social cultural and sometimes medical anthropology thinker. She studied and practiced both Waldorf education, and Montessori education. Eventually becoming an organic farmer, licensed AP, anthropologist, and mother of four unconditionally loving spirits, teachers, and environmentally conscious beings born with spiritual insights and ethics beyond this world. (She was able to advance more in this way led by her children.)



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