2014 Fiat 500eEnlarge Photo
If it's worth saying once, it's worth saying a thousand times:
The best way of getting people interested in electric cars is to let people drive them.
That's exactly what Electric Car Guest Drive, a California-based initiative, is doing--giving people interested in electric cars the opportunity to get behind the wheel and experience electric vehicles for themselves.
Set up by a club called EV Quorum, the idea is to give people an experience of electric cars they may not be able to get at a dealership.
As electric vehicle sales are still relatively low, many dealership sales staff have only limited knowledge of the electrically-powered products they sell.
It's easier, and quicker, to sell regular combustion vehicles to customers. Most people are already very familiar with them, dealers will usually have plenty of examples in stock, and the staff themselves need no re-education on the vehicles.
This can be an off-putting experience for buyers, particularly for those unsure on whether to take the plunge into driving EVs. A potentially interested party might go in hoping to learn about electric cars, and come out with another conventional vehicle.
Electric Car Guest Drive provides an alternative environment.
Electric Car Guest Drive events in CaliforniaEnlarge Photo
As those running the club are all owners, there's a real choice of cars for people to try out, too--from the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive and Fiat 500E, through mainstream EVs like the Leaf and Volt, to the Tesla Model S.
An electric car for nearly every budget, in other words--and all conveniently in the same location, rather than spread among half a dozen dealerships.
And even better, there's no pressure to buy--neither electric, nor the regular gasoline-powered vehicle a salesman might foist on you.
Events will be hosted throughout May in twelve Californian cities, from San Diego to Santa Rosa. For exact dates and locations, head over to the electriccarguestdrive.com website.
Not much good if you live further east, but hopefully events like the Electric Car Guest Drive will spur similar meetings in other states.