National Plug-In Day, Oct 2011Enlarge Photo
As an example of how far the reach of electric vehicles has grown, you need to look little further than the growth of National Drive Electric Week.
Now in its fourth year, Drive Electric Week began life as National Plug In Day. This year, 115 cities in 35 states and countries abroad will showcase electric vehicles, drawing four times the crowds it did in 2011.
In the U.S. in particular, the impact of electric vehicles can't be understated.
Plug In America's vehicle counter is now just shy of quarter of a million vehicles in the U.S. alone--a number increasing with ever-greater pace as plug-in vehicles on the market continue to set individual sales records.
Those numbers are still small compared to overall vehicle sales, but plug-in cars have become a common sight in some parts of the country.
Events like those held by the cities celebrating Drive Electric Week can only expand the accessibility of plug-in cars.
Jointly organized by Sierra Club, Plug In America, and the Electric Auto Association, the event aims to "showcase the fun, convenience, clean-air benefits and cost-savings of electric vehicles".
Importantly, there's an emphasis on the "butts in seats" approach to introducing electric vehicles. Putting people behind the wheel to experience the technology for themselves is generally considered the most effective method of promoting the genre.
Other activities will give the individual cities a festival atmosphere, with food, family activities and music available to tempt people in for a look.
A few individual events will definitely be worth a visit for those in the area--Cupertino aims to break the Guinness World Record for the number of EVs assembled, Poolsville in Maryland will have a marching band and expected crowds of 10,000 and Houston will hold an event at a solar-powered IKEA store.
They'll be celebrating in Italy too, where electric attendees expected include a converted DeLorean DMC-12, 1919 Ford Model T and several Europe-only electric vehicles.
Plug In America President Richard Kelley explains the benefits of electric vehicles by saying, "Plug-ins offer the industry’s most efficient technology, freedom from gas stations, costly car repairs and reliance on foreign oil, and the option to drive on renewable energy.
"National Drive Electric Week offers everyone the chance to learn this first hand."
To find a Drive Electric Week event near you, head over to the Drive Electric Week website.