In a push to raise awareness about electric and plug-in vehicles, Plug In America hosted a full-day ride & drive event for United States senators and their staff in the capital. Hundreds were in attendance, where they were treated with time behind the wheel and supporting education about plug-in vehicles.
Plug In America believes there is bipartisan support in the Senate for plug-in vehicles, with the main barrier being education. Most senators — and most Americans — still have not driven them personally. Connecting them with an easy-to-access ride & drive event supported by a team of educators from the manufacturers, the Plug In America team provided the right environment for them to take that first step.
Plug In America has found that people are usually very impressed with the power, silence, and enjoyable driving experience that EVs provide when they drive an EV for the first time.
Any EV owner can tell you the same, and from my personal experience, I can say that putting someone who hasn’t driven an EV before in one is still one of my favorite things to do with the various EVs we have owned over the years. The Tesla has special appeal in this area, as many people just want to drive it because it’s a Tesla. They are impressed with the tech, the design … and the fact that it’s electric just becomes another one of the points of attraction, which is why the company has been so successful in penetrating new markets for EVs and in taking share from entrenched automakers.
The event was hosted by Senator Portman from Ohio, who drove the Chevy Bolt EV around and is Chairman of the Senate Auto Caucus. Their support made the event possible and drew in other senators to attend the event, including Heller (R-Nevada), Merkley (D-Oregon), and Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island). Three senators already drive EVs: Jeff Merkley from Oregon, Angus King from Maine, and Lamar Alexander from Tennessee. To promote the event and to raise awareness, Plug In America staff went to every Senate office in person.
Automakers showed up to the event as well, bringing staff, financial support, and, of course, a variety of plug-in vehicles for the actual ride & drive portion of the event. While ride & drives serve to open people’s eyes to the reality of modern-day electric vehicles, having a deep bench of supporting information about manufacturing, maintenance, charging, emissions reductions, and finances are equally if not more important.
The event comes at a critical time for electric vehicles, with a new administration in the White House that is not as focused on the opportunities to bring manufacturing back into the US that electric vehicles present. With the largest incentive to buy a plug-in vehicle in the US coming from the federal government in the form of the $7,500 federal tax credit, it is imperative that leaders in the federal government are aware of the vehicles and the potential they have to improve the quality of life for Americans across the country.
Source: Plug in America
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