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As an electric car enthusiast or recently-converted gearhead, you'll no doubt be aware of the huge variety of clubs out there for virtually any make and model or automotive scene you can think of.
For many people, a thriving scene and great social network might be the difference between choosing one model over another, and can certainly be useful once you've chosen your wheels of choice, providing all sorts of hints, tips and opportunities to share your passion with like-minded enthusiasts. Clubs go hand-in-hand with many vehicles, especially in the classic and specialist vehicle scenes.
Though many might not yet be considered classics, electric cars can certainly be considered specialist vehicles. They're still a fairly unique sight out on the roads, and with production figures for many vehicles currently in the hundreds rather than the thousands, EVs lend themselves well to intimate yet vibrant enthusiast groups. Will these car clubs be instrumental in helping new EV buyers take the plunge?The Club Scene
One such group is already quite popular - the Tesla Motors Club. With limited numbers of Roadsters out on the roads, it's an invaluable resource of information for owners all around the world, and the perfect place for Tesla enthusiasts to convene. Of course, clubs like the Tesla Motors Club can also be very useful for prospective owners, who might like to find out more on their potential purchase before writing the cheque. When the Model S is eventually released, the club will no doubt grow to accommodate the sedan's owners too.
Though no dedicated club yet exists for cars like the upcoming 2011 Nissan Leaf
and 2011 Chevrolet Volt
amongst others, it's only a matter of time before websites dedicated to these models spring up.
Both the Leaf and the Volt, as well as other upcoming models such as the 2012 Coda Sedan, 2012 Ford Focus EV
and 2012 Volkswagen Golf EV, are about to become part of a highly competitive marketplace and as a new technology, early adopters will make up the majority of initial sales.
As with any new technology, early adopters may well dictate the general trend towards a particular model as these first enthusiastic buyers discover the features and foibles behind each vehicle. The initial enthusiasts will be the ones who start the owners' clubs, and from that point onwards virtually anybody around the world will have access to every detail of every model. First impressions count for a lot, and putting partisan support to one side, it should quickly become apparent which models are the most popular, and even which club seems to offer the best support and social elements.Show-Offs
Car shows are a big part of motoring culture too, and we're already seeing shows and events dedicated to electric and alternative-fuel vehicles. Hawaii has just hosted its first annual electric car rally on the island of Oahu, with Wheegos, electric motorcycles and scooters and the obligatory Tesla Roadster all making appearances.
Although only a small event, it's proof that an enthusiastic scene is waiting out there for EV buyers. There was similar enthusiasm around the recent 2010 Brighton to London Bridgestone Eco Rally in the U.K
, with many electric vehicles taking part and spectators braving the cold to witness the future of transportation silently whizzing past.
We're often being told that any publicity is good publicity, but shows like these can only do the image of electric cars good, and the more the public experience electric vehicles, they more likely they are to develop an interest in them, join clubs and hopefully, buy the cars themselves.
What do you think? AllCarsElectric would like to hear your thoughts on the EV club and show scene, and whether the opportunity to chat with current and future owners would influence your decision to buy an electric car? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!
[Tesla Motors Club
, Aloha Update