The annual Drive Electric Week celebration, a week of events where the public can see and drive a variety of electric cars and talk to current owners about their experiences, has been expanded this year with an event that covers the whole month of April. Drive Electric Earth Day runs all the way from April 1-30 and has events scheduled throughout the US, and a few in other countries as well.
Most states have at least one event, with coastal high-population areas hosting several. You can find a map of all the events on Drive Electric Earth Day’s website.
Drive Electric Earth Day is a bit of a misnomer, as the events aren’t just on Earth Day weekend, but spread throughout the month. There are events scheduled as early as tomorrow and all the way through April 30.
Plug in America, the Sierra Club and the Electric Auto Association have been organizing Drive Electric Week since 2011. The celebration started nationally and soon went international, holding 321 separate local events last year.
Events vary from place to place, but all of them include local owners who bring out their EVs to let the public look and ask questions, some include owners who provide test rides to curious members of the public, and some include dealership or manufacturer support giving test drives or showing off new concept cars. Events often include food, raffles and games, support from other organizations or businesses related to clean energy, and free “swag” from these vendors.
If you have a look at the event list, you can click through to each event to register your interest, including what car you’ll bring if you already own an EV, and see a little information about what’s planned for each event and what cars might be showing up. Registration gives you a chance to win $250, so definitely sign up!
You can expect to see an assortment of publicly-available EVs at these events, including Teslas, the BMW i3, the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Bolt, and so on, and possibly some electric motorcycles as well. But events in the past have included lesser-known cars like Corbin Sparrows and one-off DIY builds like a triple-motor Ferrari 308 EV conversion and a converted Geo Metro with a small solar panel strapped to the hood (to charge the 12V, not as a range extender).
Drive Electric Week will still happen this year, but that’s at the end of summer. That week is scheduled for September 14-22, and you can find a list of already-registered events here. That list will expand over time and will probably cover more regions than Drive Electric Earth Day does, so if you don’t see any events in your area this time around, keep your eyes peeled and something might happen come September. Electrek will report on it again when we get closer to September.
I’ve been attending Drive Electric Week for years now, and it’s a really great event. People are familiar with what it’s like to drive a gas car, but most people still have a lot of questions about electric cars. If you go to a dealer to get your questions answered, sometimes it’s not the best experience, because dealers often don’t have employees who know what it’s like to own an electric car, and are just looking to get you into whatever car the lot is pushing right now.
So events like this offer people a chance to talk to real owners and hear about the real experience of owning an EV. Owners, by and large, love their electric cars — with EVs consistently doing very well in customer satisfaction surveys (and not just Tesla — other EVs pop up into the top 10 quite often). And while EVs are a blast to test drive, the experience gets even better when you own one and realize just how convenient and pleasant they actually are to drive every day.
It’s likely these events will be a little smaller than Drive Electric Week, which may lead to a less festive atmosphere, but will also facilitate deeper conversations with owners. I’ve been to large and small events in the past, and I like both of them — large ones because they reach more people and have more fun stuff going on and usually a better chance to see something new (like the Bolt prototype or Leaf redesign), and small ones because it’s easier to focus on a few good connections with local EV fans.
So I definitely encourage you to take a look at the map and pick an event to show up at. If you’re an owner, bring your car out and see if you can change anyone’s mind. If you’re a fan, head on out and get some more information about the cars you like or see if your local government or utility has a booth to educate people on incentives for prospective EV owners. And bring some friends who don’t know anything about EVs, maybe they’ll like what they see.
Are you planning to attend a Drive Electric Earth Day event? If so, let us know in the comments — perhaps fellow Electrek readers can meet up.
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