Yesterday, I attended the Drive Electric Week event in New Port Richey. Next week, if all goes as planned, I’ll attend another one in Florida. I’ve been attending these sorts of events for a few years. Although I enjoy them, I don’t think they are very effective at their stated purpose. Every time I attend a Drive Electric event, it seems that it is preaching to the choir. I was happy to see a few non-EV owners at the event, but the majority of the people there owned an EV. [Editor’s note: As you may have seen, I’m co-organizing an event in Sarasota, Florida, this coming Saturday. I have a similar issue with these events, so my plan is to set up shop right in front of a Whole Foods and harass shoppers all day long to try to get them to test drive some electric cars — mostly Model 3s, it seems. There’s a group of ChargePoint charging stations in front of the store and a large number of Tesla Superchargers behind the store, so the good thing is that shoppers should have a lot of passive exposure by now — time for the next step.]
Such events are very useful for people like me to talk to owners of many different EVs and find out the good and bad points of each. If you wanted me to say that we are past the early adopter phase and past the tipping point where the general public is now flocking to EVs, I would say that is happening in some places, but not yet in Florida. Maybe next year.
I spoke with the owner of this Honda Clarity above and he also noticed, as I had noted here, that Honda dealers in Florida are no longer stocking the Clarity, so people can only get them if they are willing to buy them without a test drive. Although Tesla owners are famous for doing that (and someone being disappointed with their car is pretty much unheard of), it isn’t something the general public is used to doing (and Honda doesn’t have Tesla’s 7 day/1,000 mile return policy).
I took this bike for a spin and it was smooth and affordable. I would need to buy a longer seat post, though, because I have long legs. They were running a $999 special for the model shown. I really think e-bikes will be the default choice for people as they age because you can add boost as your legs get a little weaker.
I had spoken to this gentleman a year ago at this same event when he had just gotten this car. He has put about 9,000 miles on it and only used 6 tanks of gas in that time. The 22 mile EV range is enough that most of his miles are electric. He also owns a Nissan Leaf and has had solar for almost 20 years, so he isn’t using much oil for either his home or his transportation. He just replaced his home battery, so he also has power at night when the power goes out from a storm.
I took the chance to test drive the 40 kWh (150 mile range) Nissan Leaf. I wanted to test drive the new Plus model that is much more powerful and has more than 200 miles range, but they didn’t have that in stock. The dealer was very nice and helpful, but as a 7 year Leaf owner, I knew far more about the vehicle than she did. The car was a little more powerful than my 2012 Leaf, but the biggest improvement was that I loved the new e-Pedal feature that allows you to do one-pedal driving. The regen at high speeds wasn’t as strong as my Model 3 (the motor isn’t as large), but it took the car to a complete stop, which is something I wish my Model 3 would do. My Model 3 only goes down to 2 miles an hour and then I have to touch the brake.
I didn’t get to talk to the owner of this vehicle, so I don’t have any insight to add other than that I owned 3 minivans as my kids were growing up and I would have loved a PHEV, because I spent a fortune on gas.
Andrea was very excited to tell me about the $100,000 Solar Grant they recently won from EBSCO Information Services! They have worked hard to get the money to put solar on their roof. Now they need to select a vendor and get it done by the deadlines specified in the award. I mentioned the local vendors that I had spoken to, but didn’t really have a recommendation. I asked if they had reduced their energy consumption before sizing solar and she said they had not, but they would be looking into that in the future. I suggested replacing air conditioning, lighting, and looking at insulation. I warned her that if they zeroed out their bill and then made their building more energy efficient, the utility would pay little for power generated in excess of their annual consumption. I explained that as solar gets more popular, net metering needs to get less generous or it will have increasingly bad effects on the utility. Hopefully they will grandfather in existing solar so people who made decisions based on existing policy are not negatively impacted.
So, should you attend a National Drive Electric Week event (or organize one if there are no events close to you)? Yes. If you know a lot about electric cars, consider displaying your car and answering questions. If you don’t yet own an EV, it’s a great place to talk to people about how they manage charging and use their cars.
I would encourage you to invite a friend who doesn’t read CleanTechnica to come with you. Most people won’t attend an event like this unless someone they know invites them. I have no problem going places where I know no one, but most people are uncomfortable in that situation, so it is important that you invite your family or friends.
Use my Tesla referral link before October 1st to get 2,000 miles of free Supercharging on a Tesla Model S, Model X, or Model 3 (you can’t use it on the Model Y yet). Here’s the link: https://ts.la/paul92237 (but if someone else helped you, please use their link).
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