National Plug-In Day: Roundup Report Of Electric-Car Events

National Plug-In Day, Oct 2011, New York City - photo by Michael Thwaite

National Plug-In Day, Oct 2011, New York City - photo by Michael Thwaite

Enlarge Photo

National Plug-In Day on Sunday, October 16, was a success by any measure.

Organized as a nationwide call to action in many U.S. cities by Plug-In America, the Sierra Club, and the Electric Auto Association, the event brought out plug-in car owners and advocates to show off their cars, motorcycles, and trucks in their own communities.


At its heart in Santa Monica, California, about 170 cars arrived at the event outside City Hall.

Speakers included Chris Paine, director of "Who Killed the Electric Car?" and "Revenge of the Electric Car"; actor and environmentalist Ed Begley, Jr.; Santa Monica City Councilman Terry O'Day; Iraq vet and electric-car owner Tim Goodrich; and many others, who spoke to the crowd amidst rounds of applause.

National Plug-In Day, Oct 2011, New York City - photo by Michael Thwaite

National Plug-In Day, Oct 2011, New York City - photo by Michael Thwaite

Enlarge Photo

After the press event, the cars set out on a parade through the city. "Cover your ears, the noise from these things is defining." added Ed. Begley Jr. as he drove past in his faithful 2002 Toyota RAV4 EV.


In New York City, more than a dozen all-electric and plug-in hybrids arrived at Pier 54 to meet a group of city vehicles already present.

Keith Kerman, the Assistant Commissioner of Citywide Operations for New York City Parks, spoke enthusiastically about the city fleet - "We have 252 plug in units, 315 hybrid gas & diesel vehicles and our nine Chevy Volts are about to be joined by another ten."

He went on to describe several awards that the department has received, including this month's entry into the "100 Best Fleets" as part of its NAFA membership.

National Plug-In Day, Oct 2011, New York City - photo by Michael Thwaite

National Plug-In Day, Oct 2011, New York City - photo by Michael Thwaite

Enlarge Photo

The event brought in hundreds of New Yorkers to look at the vehicles and to talk to owners. One passer-by summed it up: "I didn't realize that there were so many different options to choose from."

While we all talk about 2011 being the revenge of the electric car, I realized as I looked around how accurate that observation was. The cars included battery electrics like the 2011 Nissan Leaf, sports cars like the 2010 Tesla Roadster, long-range vehicles like the 2011 Chevy Volt & 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, and commercial vehicles from delivery vans to full-sized trucks.

Plug-In America described the event, held in 26 cities, as "History's Biggest Grass Roots EV Event." It's hard to believe they were wrong!

Michael Thwaite is an electric-vehicle advocate who lives in New Jersey and works in information technology. He also runs the Tesla Motors Club. When he was 12 years old, he hoped that when he grew up, we’d all be driving electric cars. More than 30 years later, they’re finally here.

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Comments (10)
  1. great publicity. what we need the most is simply to get more cars manufactured. this is by far our weakest link in the chain.

  2. The weakest link in the chain is that which causes EVs to cost
    tens of thousands more than equivalent gas powered cars, yet not provide the capability to even travel to the other side of town and return. As one analyst stated just last weak when asked why so few electric cars are being sold : "It's the battery, stupid!" Get an affordable battery in production and EVs will immediately make gas powered cars obsolete. You're fooling yourself if you think that will happen with today's battery technology.

  3. you dont understand life, yet.

    first, please dont exaggerate with tens of thousands.

    second, lets look at the facts. there are waiting lines for evs. so whatever the price is today, the demand is such that there are not enough evs to meet that demand.

    now, lets look at economics 101. when demand far exceeds supply, you can expect prices to remain high. this is true for every commodity sold.

    so let me repeat for you what the weakest link in the chain is - LACK OF SUPPLY.

    the price will "miraculously" come down as the supply goes up. you may call me a genius for what may seem to be a revelation to you. others would simply realize that i am simply stating the obvious.

    next time try bringing something to the table.

  4. The FACT is that current technology allows electric cars to meet the daily needs of 90% of Americans. People in the other 10% should not feel ashamed, it happens.
    I have a 70 mile daily commute. With a home-grown EV, it would be hard to do that. With a Nissan Leaf, it would be easy. It's a bit expensive, but it would run off my new solar panels, which will be giving me free electricity in a few years, and it would use 0 gallons of terror-funding oil.

    As America sees electric car on the roads (locally now),
    they will start to fund more R&D. How would you
    drive a car across county on electricity?

    Well, How does NYC run subways 24 x 7 in tunnels?
    Connect them to the grid. There are many ways
    to do this, and it will happen for cars.

  5. Electric cars on the road are great for publicity. I emailed my colleague about the Tesla S EVent, and he told me that he saw a Tesla on the road in NYC. At first he thought it was a Lotus, (which it sort of is:-) but then he saw the logo. Between seeing that and past sightings of the Rav4EV are getting his attention. Wait till he gets the EV Grin - he won't go back to his Muscle Car!

  6. Michael Thwaite's Tesla Motors Club is a closed minded
    website that does not tolerate any opinions that aren't positive for electric vehicles. No one advances the cause of electrics by manufacturing "facts." Those providing the slightest negative opinions are branded as "trolls." Free speech is not in Thwaite's lexicon. As a result, his website is perhaps the most boring location on the EV map.

  7. Sometimes you have to look in the mirror and say "Is it me? Am I the problem." Trust me, I have been there.

  8. If you used the same type of generalizations in your posts on TMC, you were probably eaten alive. Forum members there prefer facts over broad sweeping statements. (Really, EVERYONE with the SLIGHTEST negative opinion is branded as a troll?)
    Thanks for giving me a laugh over my morning coffee.

  9. Negative opinions are always welcomed if they have any basis in fact. They rarely do.

  10. I drive a 30 yr old antique EV. My experience, is 10 - 20 mi range and 10 - 20 mph. That is, with 10, 12v lead acids. they are supposed to last 5 yrs, My experience is about 8 mo. I need 144v, 200a, in lithium, with bms, that, should give my EV, 100 mi and at least 45mph. Do I really have to go to, the Chinese? The car is American Made. It used to Mean Somthing...

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