National EV Events in September Will Give Newbies a Chance to Drive Electric

By · July 22, 2016

Pictures from National Drive Electric Week 2015

It’s easy for anybody thinking about buying an electric car to find a long list of economic and environmental reasons for switching to an EV. After all, EVs are cheaper to own, they’re better for the environment, and they reduce our dependence on dirty fuels. But what makes consumers go beyond just pondering the possibility of an electric car? The experience of actually driving one, according to Joel Levin, executive director for Plug In America.

“If you’ve never driven an electric car, you’ll be surprised,” said Levin. “You push down the pedal and it really goes. It’s hard to convey the beauty of an electric car unless you sit in one.” That’s why Plug In America, a national non-profit organization, in collaboration with the Sierra Club and the Electric Auto Association, will give approximately 10,000 people around the country a chance to ride in or drive an electric car during the week of September 10 to 18.

The test drives are a central part of National Drive Electric Week 2016, which also includes a packed week of EV parades, news conferences and community events.

Levin said that EV ownership has grown by more than 50 percent since the beginning of last year. He believes electric car adoption happens in three steps. First, the public becomes aware that the technology exists. That might not have been the case in 2011 and 2012, when the first plug-in cars went on sale in the United States. But thanks to cars like the Tesla Model S, Nissan LEAF and BMW i3—the top-sellers in the EV market—there’s wide and growing public awareness about the availability of electric cars.

The second step is to dispel the myths that hold some consumers back. EV owners that already experience driving electric on a daily basis—and know about the truth that lies beyond those myths—will be available at National Drive Electric Week (NDEW) to answer questions and share their experiences. The most important idea: an affordable EV can handle all the common daily driving requirements of today’s American commuters simply by charging the car overnight while you’re sleeping.

“Getting over the myths usually happens after you spend just 10 minutes driving an electric car,” said Levin. “That leads to step three, actually buying one.”

Where Will You Be?

National Drive Electric Week 2016 is expected to take place in more than 200 cities. The number of local events that make up the national program has dramatically grown since the celebration started six years ago. Attendance records are broken every year, keeping in step with the growth in EV sales. The 2015 event took place in 41 states, seven Canadian provinces, Hong Kong and New Zealand—with more than 130,000 participants and 9,000 test rides.

“National Drive Electric Week provides consumers, media and policymakers the perfect opportunity to understand why more than one million drivers around the globe are making the switch to electric,” said Gina Coplon-Newfield, electric vehicle initiative director for the Sierra Club, a co-organizer of the national event.

You can visit the events page of the official website to get details about the National Drive Electric Week 2016 location closest to you. That’s also where you’ll find information about how to volunteer at a local event. Don’t see an event close to you? The NDEW home page has info about becoming the organizer at a new location, or becoming a sponsor.

And if you’re looking for the best electric car charging station to use during your trip to a NDEW event, go to the special page dedicated to National Drive Electric Week.

“It’s exciting that plug-in electric car sales are growing, but we’re under no illusion that we succeeded and can go home,” said Levin. “People have struggled for years to put more electric vehicles on the road. This is the moment they are really taking over.”

New to EVs? Start here

  1. Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
    A few simple tips before you visit the dealership.
  2. Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
    Take advantage of credits and rebates to reduce EV costs.
  3. Buying Your First Home EV Charger
    You'll want a home charger. Here's how to buy the right one.