National Plug-In Day Draws Thousands Of Electric-Car Fans, Inquiries

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National Plug-In Day 2012: San Francisco, with 60 Nissan Leafs in front of the Golden Gate Bridge

National Plug-In Day 2012: San Francisco, with 60 Nissan Leafs in front of the Golden Gate Bridge

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In its second year, National Plug-In Day this past Sunday certainly avoided sophomore slump.

In 65 cities all over the U.S., tens of thousands of electric-car owners, potential buyers, and just curious onlookers pored over, rode in, and drove plug-in vehicles from more than a dozen makers.

Our favorite factoid: In Nashville, Tennessee, about 70 cars--almost all of them Leaf electric cars from nearby employer Nissan--were encouraged to honk every time they passed a gas station. No fewer than 10 different gas stations were passed by a parade of honking Leafs during the drive event.

Here's a brief rundown of just a few of the other major events across the country.

NEW YORK CITY

In Times Square, more than 5,000 people ogled Tesla and Fisker plug-in luxury cars, Nissan Leafs, several different businesses' electric delivery trucks, and a Chevrolet Volt in the livery of the New York City Parks Department.

"We had a terrific turn out from both domestic and international crowds," said Julie Migliacci of the New York City & Lower Hudson Valley Clean Communities.

"Most of them had never seen an electric vehicle before."

LOS ANGELES

Not only did 500 people visit the Plug-In Day event in Los Angeles, but organizers logged more than 300 test drives in just four hours.

National Plug-In Day 2012: 1915 Milburn Electric in Los Angeles [photo: Fernand Bos]

National Plug-In Day 2012: 1915 Milburn Electric in Los Angeles [photo: Fernand Bos]

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At least half the vehicles at the event were driven there on sunshine, having fueled up with solar power, including a Tesla Model S and three Roadsters.

A remarkable collection of electric cars, both new and old, included the Nissan Leaf, a Tesla Model S and several Roadsters, Chevrolet Volt, Coda, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Honda Fit EV, Ford Focus EV, BMW ActiveE, a Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, a 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV, a Volkswagen e-Golf, and a 2012 Fisker Karma.

There were also an old-model Toyota RAV4 EV, Ford Ranger EV, a 1915 Milburn electric car, and electric motorcycles from both Zero and Brammo.

Representative Janice Hahn [D-CA] drove her own white Nissan Leaf to the event.

National Plug-In Day 2012: Washingoton, D.C. [panorama by Joseph Lado]

National Plug-In Day 2012: Washingoton, D.C. [panorama by Joseph Lado]

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As part of the ceremonies, she awarded Congressional Recognition certificates to the event organizers--Plug In America, the Sierra Club, and the Electric Auto Association--and other plug-in proponent organizations.

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA

More than 4,000 people left contact information or collected literature on plug-in vehicles. Those displaying the most interest received free-drink cards for the Food Court at the outlet mall where Plug-In Day held its event.

Attendees were encouraged to visit all the different electric-car exhibits by getting stamps on their "passports," which entered them in a drawing for a free weekend rental at Enterprise.

National Plug-In Day 2012: San Francisco

National Plug-In Day 2012: San Francisco

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"We probably had 10 conversations an hour of extended duration that educated the uninformed," said George Parrott, Green Car Reports author and emeritus professor at California State University-Sacramento.

OTHER CITIES

More than 750 visitors attended the Plug-In Day event in Washington, D.C. San Antonio, Texas, logged 600 visitors, and Maui saw 500 over two days of events.

Denver also registered about 500 interested attendees; Annapolis, Maryland, logged 400...and that still leaves more than 50 cities.

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