The sixth annual National Drive Electric Week will begin on September 10 and run through September 18. That’s a little more than a week, but that’s because the organizers couldn’t cram all the activities they have planned into just 7 days. “Each year, Plug In America, the Sierra Club, and the Electric Auto Association team up with local groups to organize events, which typically feature all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric cars from every automaker on the market,” says Plug In America. “National Drive Electric Week events are linked to increased plug-in vehicle sales, which have jumped by as much as 23 percent the month after.”
National Drive Electric Week has grown from 2013, when there were 100 events in 34 states and over 30,000 participants until last year when there were 196 events in 41 states, 7 Canadian provinces plus Hong Kong and New Zealand. More than 130,000 people participated in events last year and more than 9,000 test drives were taken.
The purpose of the events is to give people an opportunity to learn about electric cars and why they make sense for the majority of drivers. Even in a time of low gasoline prices, electric cars cost less to operate and maintain. They also provide instantaneous acceleration, which comes as a surprise to many who are not familiar with them.
But electric cars are about more than money. They exist because the world cannot continue to spew carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels into the atmosphere indefinitely. In 2015, Americans drove more than 3 trillion miles, consuming more than 124 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel in the process.
Plug In America states, “The environmental and financial benefits combined with the growing convenience of electric vehicles, from longer ranges to expanding charging infrastructure, are causing a steady increase in use. Plug-in electric vehicles are selling at a faster pace than the first generation of hybrid cars. Even with significantly lower gas prices, EV sales were much higher in the first quarter of 2016 than they were in the first quarter of 2015.”
Electric cars are far from being widely accepted at this point. Less than 1% of all vehicles in the US are electric today, so they are a long way from being the mainstream choice. But activities like National Drive Electric Week are helping to spread the word and getting people excited about owning an electric car. It will be interesting to see how many manufacturers and local car dealers get involved this year. The degree of participation will be a measure of their commitment to the the electric car revolution.
If you participate in an event near you this year, please share your experience with us. If we get feedback from our readers, we will do a follow up story based upon your reports.
Source: Alan Kandel Science Blog