More than 90,000 people showed up at 152 events across 39 US states for National Drive Electric Week, which ran from September 15-21, according to Plug In America, one of the organizing groups. That's quite a jump from the 35,000 attendees last year. In fact, there were more than 5,500 EV test drives and rides. In the Silicon Valley, more than 500 EVs took part in what was officially recognized as the largest ever electric vehicle parade in the world.
Plug In America, along with fellow organizers the Sierra Club and the Electric Auto Association, hope that all of these new "butts in seats" will put a charge into plug-in vehicle sales. The trend is certainly moving in the upward direction. Through August, Americans bought 43 percent more plug-in vehicles than they did a year before, though sales were up just 12 percent in August. The first-ever National Plug In Day took place three years ago with events in 29 cities. Check out Plug In America's press release below.
Free Events, Many Featuring Ride-n-Drives, Take Place in 150 U.S. Cities and Abroad
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Sept. 24, 2014-Attendance at National Drive Electric Week 2014 more than doubled that of last year's celebration with over 90,000 people participating in 152 events in 150 cities in 39 U.S. states from Hawaii to Vermont as well as cities in Italy, Canada, and The Netherlands.
In 2013, roughly 35,000 people attended events in 98 cities. "National Drive Electric Week organizers worked with local partners to expand our reach this year. Some organizers were able to stage their events at existing festivals and the like in order to attract passersby," said Tom Saxton, Plug In America chief science officer. "This contributed to attendance growing by an astonishing 150 percent. At the same time, the number of EV owners registered to share their driving experience with the public grew 148 percent to over 7,000, so clearly overall adoption of plug-in vehicles and the desire to communicate the passion is exploding, as well."
Drive Electric Week events, most staged by volunteers, collectively offered more than 5,500 EV test-drives or rides, a total also doubling last year's number. Every plug-in vehicle on the road as well as several one-of-a-kind conversions was represented. Highlights included a Silicon Valley EV parade of battery electric vehicles that set a new world record: 507 vehicles in motion. A GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® judge delivered the news to a cheering crowd of thousands at Cupertino's event.
For the second consecutive year, California Gov. Jerry Brown marked National Drive Electric Week by signing six bills to encourage consumers to purchase EVs. Plug In America, national organizer of the event with the Sierra Club and the Electric Auto Association, worked to advance the bills supporting carpool-lane access for plug-in vehicles and access to charging stations at apartments and work places.
Mayors across the country issued proclamations naming Sept. 15-21, 2014 National Drive Electric Week in their cities. Other participants and sponsors included utilities, environmental nonprofits, municipal and state energy agencies, automakers, auto dealerships, solar and EV-charging equipment companies, air-quality management districts and academic institutions.
Elementary and university students alike participated in a new National Drive Electric Week initiative called Ambassador Schools. The pilot program seeks to raise awareness of EVs among youth with school lectures and other activities.
Plug-in vehicle sales typically rise after National Drive Electric Week and this year seemed to be following suit. "I already know of three people who have leased or purchased EVs," said Woodland Hills, Calif. event organizer Eric Doroski. "I know of a couple who immediately went to a Fiat dealership and leased two 500e EVs. Similarly, a Ford dealership salesman staffing his own booth tried out a Pedego electric bike and promptly ordered one."
National Drive Electric Week (previously National Plug In Day) launched in 2011 in 29 cities.
National sponsors include the Nissan LEAF, PlugShare and the Dent Agency.
PHOTOS: Click here for photos from events across the country. Click here for photos, and here for a video of the Cupertino record-breaking EV parade.
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 (formerly National Plug In Day) 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 our addiction to oil. 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.