Among the organic zucchini and goats’ milk soap, visitors to the Pearl Farmers Market were treated with an electric car show and test drives at the third annual Drive Electric Day – San Antonio on Saturday, September 16, 2017.
Drive Electric Day – San Antonio is a free, annual event hosted by the Alamo Area Council of Governments and the Alamo Area Clean Cities Coalition to provide information on Electric Vehicles (EVs) in a fun, engaging and no-pressure environment. Drive Electric Day was one of over 200 National Drive Electric Week events across the United States intended to highlight the benefits of all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
Drive Electric Day – San Antonio featured over a dozen electric cars in a variety of makes and models, including a BMW i3, Chevy Bolt, Chevy Volt, Fiat 500e, Kia Soul EV, Nissan LEAF, Tesla Model S and a Tesla Model X, alongside their proud owners. Each owner shared their unique experience with researching, purchasing and maintaining their EV.
Chris Langston attended the event and rode in a Tesla Model S and BMW i3 Rex. Chris explained, “The best part of the event was being able to interact with local EV owners. Being able to talk, question, and ride along with an EV owner far exceeds anything you can get from talking with a car salesman. You know you are getting straightforward answers and not a sales pitch.”
Drive Electric Day gave 25 test drives and ride alongs to attendees. “Ride and Drive” events are crucial to the awareness and adoption of electric vehicles because they break down misconceptions and provide users hands-on experience with emerging technologies. A case study from the Department of Energy found that 68% of test drivers were more likely to purchase an EV after test driving one, and 8% bought or leased an electric car within two or three months.
In addition to the electric car displays and test drives, Drive Electric Day featured booths from the Alamo Area Clean Cities Coalition, the Alamo Area Council of Government’s Commute Solutions program, the City of San Antonio’s Office of Sustainability and CPS Energy. The Clean Cities booth provided information on different EV makes and models, federal and state rebates, and the advantages of driving electric.
Attendees also learned about the prevalence of EV charging stations in the region, including those operated privately by commercial and residential owners and those owned by CPS Energy. Ryan Mackenzie, a local EV owner, noted: “Showing different vehicle types, price ranges and having CPS there to explain where they can charge publicly helps give the public a well-rounded idea of what driving an electric vehicle is like.”
Electric cars and low emission vehicles are a crucial component of San Antonio’s transition to sustainable energy and improved air quality. Compared to gasoline-powered vehicles, there is an estimated 50-55% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions over the life cycle of electric vehicles. San Antonio cannot reach a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 without embracing electric vehicles.
Drive Electric Day – San Antonio is hosted by the Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG) and the Alamo Area Clean Cities Coalition (AACCC). The AACCC is a Department of Energy program that advances the region’s economic development, energy security, and environmental and public health by promoting policies and practices that reduce petroleum consumption in transportation.
National Drive Electric Week is organized by Plug In America, the Sierra Club, and the Electric Auto Association. The Nissan LEAF® is the exclusive national automotive sponsor.