This weekend marks the start of another Drive Electric Week, a yearly series of EV meetups where EV fans can see and drive their favorite models and EV owners can meet up to chat amongst themselves and with curious members of the public about the experience of owning an EV. This will be the 8th annual event, with a record 316 events registered across the US, Canada and New Zealand.
The week is organized by Plug in America, an organization which advocates the transition to electric transportation, along with Sierra Club and the Electric Auto Association. Every event is free to attend for owners and non-owners alike, and attending is a great way to get the word out or get your questions answered about electric vehicles.
These events are often attended by local dealerships offering test drives, sponsor companies in the green energy space, government agencies or educational institutions offering information sessions, and local EV owners.
As an EV owner, you can park among other EVs, show off your car, and get a chance to talk to other owners or answer questions for curious members of the public about the experience of owning an EV.
As a non-owner, you can also attend just to get an idea of the many EV models are out there, see them in person next to each other, and, at some events, get a chance at test driving various EVs. Many of the larger events have support from local dealerships who host test drives all day, and some enthusiastic owners may even give you a chance to sit or ride in their car (but of course, this depends on the event and the owner!). If you have any questions at all about EVs, an enthusiastic owner will definitely be there to help you out.
To see what will be offered at your local event, check the map, click your local event, and click “event information” for a small page showing what each event will offer and which electric cars have registered to attend so far. You can also find out about volunteering at your local event if you’re interested in helping out.
Along with a selection of all the EVs you know about – Teslas, Leafs, Bolts, Volts, i3s, etc. – there are often interesting, rare or lesser-known cars or DIY builds which show up to these events. In the past there’s been everything from Corbin Sparrows, to a triple-motor Ferrari 308 EV conversion, to a converted Geo Metro with a small solar panel strapped the hood (to charge the 12V, not as a range extender). Sometimes electric motorcycles show up as well, with a large group of them attending last year’s event in Los Angeles.
Among the interesting events planned for this year, the Prescott, Arizona event will be attended by a team from Emery-Riddle attempting to break the world EV land speed record and Poolesville, Maryland will host a Tesla Roadster modified to look like the one which was launched into space.
Of course, at many events you can expect to see one or several Tesla Model 3s in the flesh, outside of showrooms, now that the car is out and selling like hotcakes.
Sometimes manufacturers bring new or unreleased models along. In previous years, Chevy brought a Bolt prototype to the Los Angeles event, and last year Nissan brought their Leaf redesign to several events around the US, giving attendees a chance to be one of the first to see it in person. There might be more surprises in store, especially at some of the bigger events in areas where EVs are popular.
Solar installers like Tesla’s Solar City unit are also often at these events so you might see some of the latest panels and a Powerwall or two.
I’ll likely be at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power event this weekend, or bouncing around various Southern California events, so come say hi if you see a black Roadster. Seth will be at the Pleasantville, NY event on September 8th with a Blue Chevy Bolt and/or a Black Model3. If you plan to attend an event, let us know in the comments, perhaps fellow readers can meet up.