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.
SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA
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.
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.
NEW YORK CITY
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.
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.