Wednesday, August 12, 2015

National Drive Electric Week

Not enough people realize what driving electric is like. They have misconceptions. They think all electric cars are slow, small, short-range and expensive.

And worse, they think they will stay that way.

I readily admit EVs are not for everyone. They're not even for most people. If I had a longer commute, my Leaf would not work for me. People who drive lots of highway miles and don't have charging at work need gasoline.

The very definition of this website states that the electric vehicles most people need don't exist.

Yet a reason they don't exist is that people aren't demanding them. They think zero-emissions cars are like Star Trek beam-me-down-Scotty technology that will never be developed in our lifetimes.

And when the auto industry does not perceive a demand, they don't work to supply it.

The truth is emissions-free vehicles that most people can afford and will love are close to being widely available. If the multi-billion dollar global industry made developing these vehicles more important than producing internal combustion engines, it would be done in little time.

What you drive and what you see on the road would change quickly.

You just need to stand up and demand it. EVs should be cheaper with better range. They should be built to fit whole families and all their gear. And although I charge almost exclusively at home, public chargers should be more numerous.

The people behind National Drive Electric Week (including this guy) believe that once you get inside an EV, your mind will open up. You'll start to ask questions. You'll do the math.

How often do I drive over 80 miles a day? If most of the money I spend on gas went to my car payment instead, could I afford to go electric? How much would I save? What's the difference between a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid? Can I really charge my car with the same socket that powers my garage door opener? Why does my local dealer push the same old thing instead of plug-in options?

With this in mind, NDEW is hosting events all around the country from September 12 to 20. You can look at, ride in and even drive a range of electric vehicles. You can learn from electrical engineers, solar experts, automotive designers and plain middle-class parents like me.

Personally I'm helping organize two NDEW events in Eastern Washington: a drive to the top of Mount Spokane and a ride-and-drive in Liberty Lake. At least several Leafs, a few Teslas, a BMW i3, a couple EV conversions, a Think City and a Zero Motorcycle will be at the Liberty Lake function. Please join me if you're nearby or enter your zip code here to find an event near you.

That's my pitch for NDEW. Find a local event and get involved. Learning never hurt anyone. See what's out there and see what could be out there if the industry made it a priority.

National Drive Electric Week is sponsored by the Nissan LEAF®Plug In America, the Sierra Club and the Electric Auto Association.

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