Beth Kelly's picture

How to Celebrate National Drive Electric Week

Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming more popular with each passing year. BMW, Chevrolet, Tesla and Ford are just a few major manufacturers that have invested in the production of plug-in electric models.

Driving the success of these vehicles is more than just a desire to try out the latest technology - they are more energy efficient than traditional, fossil-fuel-powered vehicles, and emit fewer harmful greenhouse gases. Adding to their appeal is the fact that charging an EV typically costs but a fraction of what it would be to fill up with a commensurate amount of gasoline.

Now in its fifth year, National Drive Electric Week aims to bring an awareness of the benefits of these cars to the broader public. Run under the auspices of Plug In America, the Sierra Club and the Electric Auto Association, this worldwide “EV”ent touts their environmental and economic advantages, as well as the growing number of charging stations throughout the United States. What began as “National Plug In Day” in 2011 has now expanded to a whole week. As electric vehicles have become more mainstream, attendance at National Drive Electric Week has soared. Around 35,000 people participated in 2013, more than doubling to 90,000 people in 2014.

Despite the “National” in its title, 2014’s event expanded to include the Netherlands, Canada, and Italy as well, and happenings have already been planned this year for Canada and Hong Kong. Within the United States, 2014 saw communities embrace National Drive Electric Week in 150 cities across 39 states - this meant EV parades and festivals, test drives, and press conferences across the country. Most of the organization is done locally by volunteer EV enthusiasts.

Some people are confused by the benefits of EVs because they must, after all, be charged up using the existing electrical infrastructure, which generates harmful greenhouse gases. This ignores the fact that in most areas of the United States, renewable energy comprises a significant fraction of electricity production, and EV’s themselves have become considerably more energy efficient in recent years. Additionally, as new EV charging stations pop up around the country, many of them are expected to employ solar technology - helping reduce overall emissions even further. By changing from a fossil-fuel powered automobile to one that uses electricity, drivers are able to reduce their environmental footprint while simultaneously saving on fuel costs. Today's EV’s generally have enough range to undertake normal, daily driving on a single charge, though longer trips will of course require some planning.

Electric vehicles represent just a small part of an overall switch towards smarter energy usage. A “smart” power infrastructure helps power providers, government authorities and private citizens come together to cut back on wasted power and clean up the power production process. Using clean energy resources and improved technology, we can assess demand more accurately and store overflow for later use. To truly take a leap forward in eco-friendliness, and transport efficiency, the entire cycle of electrical use and production must be reimagined and redesigned.

National Drive Electric Week is a step forward in the right direction. To discover events near you and other ways to participate, you can visit the official website, as well as the events listing page. EVs are all around you!

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