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National Drive Electric Week kicks off on September 12, but Brian Kent is starting his celebration early in an incredibly green way. On August 24, he sets off in his Nissan Leaf from Albion, NY, on an odyssey to visit the 48 contiguous US states and plant a tree in each one. Along the way, he's stopping off for the EV festival's party in Jeffersontown, KY.

Kent calls the 26,000-mile drive the Negative Carbon US Road Trip because in 40 years those 48 trees should trap about 10 times more CO2 than his Leaf produces on the journey. He's sponsored by Kampgrounds of America, and this modern Johnny Appleseed is sowing the plants at some of its 485 sites around North America.

National Drive Electric Week currently has 146 events scheduled for this year, including several in Canada and one in Hong Kong. The annual celebration aims to get people interested in plug-in vehicles. One of the gatherings last year even had the world's largest ever parade of EVs, but the record was unofficially broken in Berlin this spring. Will we get a new record next month?
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Just in Time for National Drive Electric Week: A Cross-Country Trip to Raise Awareness of Plug-In Vehicles

Brian Kent will log 26,000 miles in his electric car, planting one tree in 48 states along the way

San Francisco, Calif., Aug. 18, 2015—Brian Kent, set to embark upon a cross-country trek in his electric car on Aug. 24, will participate in National Drive Electric Week by routing his 48-state, gasoline-free tour through the EV celebration's event in Jeffersontown, KY. Kent plans to launch his 26,000-mile journey from his home in Albion, NY, charging his Nissan LEAF in city centers and campgrounds alike and planting a tree in each state for his first annual Negative Carbon U.S. Road Trip. He will blog along the way.

Volunteers and other plug-in vehicle supporters in more than 130 cities from Hilo, HI to South Portland, ME will stage ride-and-drives and related activities during National Drive Electric Week, Sept. 12-20, for the same reason that Kent is hitting the road: to raise awareness of plug-ins.

"My goals are consistent with those of National Drive Electric Week," said the freelance writer. "Misperceptions are rife. Not everyone can or needs to drive across the country, but most Americans drive less than 40 miles per day, and an EV costs the equivalent of less than a dollar-per-gallon of gasoline to drive, so these cars are ideal for most Americans and we need them for our environment and our children's future. I believe it's incumbent upon those of us familiar with plug-in vehicles to spread the word as best we can."

National Drive Electric Week, celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, is based on the idea that nothing beats ride-and-drives in clean, quiet and powerful plug-in vehicles for converting gasoline-car drivers to EV owners. The event is designed to showcase the fun, cost-savings and clean-air benefits of plug-in vehicles. Plug In America, the Sierra Club and the Electric Auto Association team up with local groups to organize events, which typically feature all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric cars from every automaker on the market.

The Jeffersontown event that Kent will visit—one of two that mark Kentucky's first Drive Electric Week participation—will take place during the city's Gaslight Festival, which typically draws 200,000 attendees.

Kent is working with Kampgrounds of America, the world's largest network of family-friendly campgrounds with 485 North America locations and a sponsor of his trip, to demonstrate what's possible and educate campground owners about plug-in vehicle charging. He hopes to plant as many trees as possible in campgrounds.

One tree sequesters about one ton of carbon dioxide (C02) in its first 40 years1, so planting 48 trees will remove about 48 tons of C02 over 40 years. Using the average C02 emissions for the U.S. grid2, generating the electricity needed to drive a Nissan LEAF 26,000 miles would account for about 4.8 tons of C02 emitted3. So, the trees that Kent plants will remove about 10 times as much C02 as will be produced to generate the electricity he will be using for the trip—thus making it net carbon negative.

"Almost all electric vehicle charging occurs at home or at work," said Plug In America's chief science officer Tom Saxton. "Public charging stations are only needed when driving beyond the single-charge range of a vehicle, which Brian will be doing in an extreme way for a great cause. We hope that his trip raises awareness of the need for more public charging, in cities and rural areas alike, as well as all the benefits of electric cars."

National Drive Electric Week will take place Sept. 12-20, 2015. To organize or attend an event, visit https://driveelectricweek.org/events.php.

Nissan and its all-electric LEAF have served as the event's exclusive automotive sponsor since 2013. ClipperCreek is also a national sponsor and PlugShare is media sponsor.

1. https://www.americanforests.org/discover-forests/tree-facts/
2. http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=34918
3. http://oaspub.epa.gov/powpro/ept_pack.charts

About Plug In America: Plug In America, a San Francisco-based national nonprofit organization, works to accelerate the shift to plug-in vehicles powered by clean, affordable, domestic electricity to reduce our nation's dependence on petroleum and improve the global environment. The organization conceived National Drive Electric Week and has advanced workplace charging by pioneering regular ride-and-drive events at such leading corporations as Google, Mattel and Paramount Pictures. It developed the world's largest, most dedicated network of plug-in vehicle owners and drivers, many of whom have driven EVs for well over a decade. We drive electric. You can, too. www.pluginamerica.org.

About the Sierra Club: The Sierra Club is the nation's oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization with more than 2.4 million members and supporters and chapters in all 50 states. The Sierra Club's national electric vehicles initiative advocates for a switch to EVs as one important way to reduce emissions and cut oil consumption. Sierra Club is proud to have been one of the three national groups organizing National Drive Electric Week since its inception in 2011. www.sierraclub.org/EVGuide.

About the Electric Auto Association: The Electric Auto Association, formed in 1967, is a nonprofit educational organization with 75 chapters worldwide that promotes the advancement and widespread adoption of electric vehicles. www.electricauto.org.

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