Thanks to a seven-state project led by the American Lung Association, Midwest consumers have a chance to test drive electric vehicles during National Drive Electric Week, Sept. 14-22, and throughout September.
The program, called Midwest EVOLVE, emphasizes the clean-air benefits, cost savings, and fun of plug-in electric cars. The vehicles are being showcased in seven Midwestern states: Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota.
More than two dozen events are being held in states that are part of Midwest EVOLVE – which stands for Electric Vehicle Opportunities: Learning, eVents, Experience – a partnership between the American Lung Association and Clean Cities coalitions in the Midwest.
At Midwest EVOLVE events, consumers, government officials, fleets, and dealer personnel have an opportunity to learn about the advantages of electric vehicles and the ease of charging them at home, at work, or at public charging stations.
“At Midwest EVOLVE events, we get butts in seats, so drivers can experience EVs,” said Lisa Thurstin, coordinator of Twin Cities Clean Cities, which oversees Midwest EVOLVE. “That’s the first step for many people to consider driving electric, taking a test drive. Once you do that, you realize they can be a great fit for your daily driving needs.
“EVs have outstanding performance and require less maintenance,” Thurstin said. “They also are better for the environment, clean-air, and lung health, and that’s what’s driving this for us, to help make the air we breathe cleaner and to help make this a better world.”
During the month of September, events being held in the Midwest include:
• Arlington Heights, Chicago, Naperville, and Wood Dale (fleet event), Illinois
• La Crosse, Milwaukee, and Madison, Wisconsin
• Bemidji, Bloomington, Duluth, Elk River, Rochester, Saint Paul (consumer event), Saint Paul (fleet event), and Wadena, Minnesota
• Fargo, North Dakota
• Portage and South Bend, Indiana
• Albany, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Perrysburg, and Zanesville, Ohio
• Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, and Kentwood, Michigan
Midwest EVOLVE has 60 partners, including Argonne National Laboratory, PlugInConnect, automakers, utilities, state agencies, municipalities, dealerships, and dealer associations.
Over the past three years, 175,000 people have participated in Midwest EVOLVE. The project and its partners have held or participated in more than 250 events across the Midwest, and more than 7,000 people have taken a test drive of plug-in electric vehicles at Midwest EVOLVE events. Twenty percent of consumers who attend an EVOLVE event purchase a plug-in electric or hybrid-electric vehicle within six months.
Overall, more than 300 National Drive Electric Week (NDEW) events are taking place this year throughout the U.S. Plug In America, the Sierra Club and the Electric Auto Association team up with local groups to organize events. You can check the NDEW website for details, and to find an event near you.