What started out as a small local event has turned into a countrywide phenomenon that is slowly spreading to other countries. The fifth-annual National Drive Electric Week begins September 12 and has more than 170 events scheduled in 165 cities across the US this year. There are more planned in Hong Kong and Canada as well. Last year, NDEW hosted 152 events in 150 cities with attendance topping 90,000 enthusiastic electric car fans.

National Drive Electric Week is based on the idea that nothing helps convert owners of gasoline-powered cars to the pleasures of driving a clean, quiet, and powerful electric vehicle than driving or at least riding in one with an EV owner. The event showcases the cost savings, clean air benefits, and fun of electric cars. Local events typically feature fully electric and plug-in hybrid cars from many manufacturers.

“What strikes me the most about National Drive Electric Week is the incredible diversity of our participants and our event organizers’ passion,” said Plug In America’s executive director Joel Levin. “At present, we have 171 events in 39 states across the American landscape—in big cities, in farm towns and on top of mountains. Plug-ins are not a partisan issue any more. People just love these vehicles and the volunteers putting on these events are keen to educate people about EVs and share their excitement.”

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Sponsored by Plug In America, the Sierra Club, and the Electric Auto Association, the 2015 event will include a big event in Los Angeles featuring race car driver Leilani Münter, film director Chris Paine who made the movie Who Killed The Electric Car?, and actor Ed Begley, Jr. It will also include the first-ever NDEW rally in Oklahoma, which has been organized by John Gallagher, who hauls oil for a living.

Numerous past attendees from around the country have purchased or leased electric cars as a direct result of National Drive Electric Week events, where they learned first hand about the technology from actual drivers in a relaxed atmosphere.

“I got to look at and test drive a broad spectrum of electric vehicles without any car dealership pressure,” said Peggy Vadillo Orenstein, a public health analyst at UCLA, where she attended a 2014 event. “I was able to compare different vehicles at the same time. I ended up buying a Ford Fusion Energi 2015. I love the car! I’ve owned BMWs and my last car was an Audi Q5. Nothing beats electric!”

Check out the National Drive Electric Week calendar to find an event near you.

Images via Leilani Münter