Plug In America hosts its 9th annual Drive Electric Week next week at events all around the US and the globe. There are currently over 300 events registered in the US, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Mexico, New Zealand, Taiwan and Slovakia.
These events are often attended by manufacturers and local dealers who host test drives, and the bigger events include booths from companies in green industries, food, and activities for the family that makes for a fun weekend event. Most of all, all events are attended by local EV owners, and it’s a great way to talk to people about their real experiences of owning an EV.
Drive Electric Week has been a project of Plug In America, the Sierra Club, and the Electric Auto Association since 2011. In its first year, there were 25 events, and it has grown pretty steadily since then. This year, the event has a number of sponsors including Nissan LEAF, ClipperCreek, California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, Enel X, and DTE Energy.
It started as a way to increase visibility of electric cars, especially at a time where dealerships simply didn’t know anything about them. While dealer support has increased since then, anyone who has shopped for an EV can tell you that dealers still aren’t that knowledgeable about them. So you’ll probably be able to take a test drive at these events, but the dealer representative may not know a lot about the car you’re test driving.
That’s where the owners come in. EV owners, particularly those who attend events like these, often love to talk about their cars. And most will have plenty of insight about what it’s like to own an electric vehicle. If you’re looking for independent information that’s not coming from a salesman, this is the place to go.
And you’ll definitely see an assortment of vehicles at each event, from the more commonly available cars like the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Bolt, and all manner of Tesla, to rarer vehicles as well. I’ve seen one-offs like the Nissan Leaf Nismo RC concept, DIY builds like a Ferrari 308 conversion, and performance builds like EV West’s Pike’s Peak BMW M3 conversion.
Tesla doesn’t typically attend these events in an official capacity, but just about every event includes local owners who want to show off their cars. Sometimes these owners will offer test rides, but of course this shouldn’t be expected, as these are private vehicles and not owned by a dealer or manufacturer.
There will be more info on each event’s page as to whether test drives will be offered. The events are all organized by locals and have different booths and activities to offer, so check out the pages for some of your local events to get a sense of what’s available.
Some of the larger events will be in Los Angeles on September 14 and in Poolesville, Maryland, Atlanta, and Irving, Texas on September 21. Each of them have over 100 owners already registered to attend with their cars.
But don’t just focus on the bigger events, as some of the smaller ones can be great, too. The large events have a more festive atmosphere, but the smaller events can facilitate much deeper conversations with owners, and better chances to learn more about individual vehicles.
If you’re planning to attend any event, go to their event page and click “RSVP” to register, either as an attendee or as an owner planning to show a car. You can complete a short survey for a chance to win $250.
We at Electrek will be in attendance at a few events. I’ll be in Los Angeles at various events including the main Charge up LA event, Charles will be at the DC event, and Seth plans to head out to Hastings-on-Hudson and Mahopac on September 14, Highland Falls on September 15, Pleasantville on September 21, and Poughkeepsie on September 22.
If you plan to attend an event, let us know in the comments, and perhaps fellow readers can meet up. And do tell your friends — Electrek readers will be pretty well informed about EVs already, but maybe some newbies can be converted and brought into the EV fold after checking out what’s on offer at these events.
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