Tuesday, September 23, 2014

National Drive Electric Week a Smashing Success!

Back on October 16th 2011, I celebrated the first National Plug in Day at the only event being held within driving range of my MINI-E. That was held in New York City and was one of 29 events held nationally. Last year National Plug in Day was expanded to a weekend (even though we still called it "plug in day") because there was such interest we wanted to have more opportunities to hold events. There ended up being a little over 100 different events and it was indeed so successful, that for this year and moving forward it will be called National Drive Electric Week, and we'll dedicate an entire week to host events.

My MINI-E on display at the very first National Plug in Day back in 2011
This year there were an amazing 152 events taking place in 5 countries, 39 US states and 6 Canadian Provinces. There were 150 different cities in which owners of over 3,000 electric vehicles registered to display their cars and share their electric driving experience with the public. The Cupertino California event set a Guinness World Record with a parade of 507 electric vehicles!

I was the city captain and host of the Montclair, New Jersey event which I held in the parking lot of my restaurant. We had 32 electric vehicles show up and a lot of people stopped by to ask questions and check out the cars. We even had a couple owners allow some people to test drive their car and give the person a chance to experience electric drive first hand.
Mercedes Benz of North America brought a new B-Class Electric Drive for display
Mercedes Benz of North America brought one of their newly released B-Class Electric Drives and had a representative there to answer questions about the car. I noticed it got a fair amount of attention throughout the afternoon as most people didn't even know Mercedes was selling an electric car. However the real highlight of the day was when two BMW i8's pulled up. It was actually the first time in the US that two i8's were together in public other than the initial press drive event a few months ago. Not only did we have the cars, but driving them were the two of the top BMW i executives in North America! Jacob Harb, head of EV Operations and Strategy for BMW North America pulled up in the white i8 and Jose Guerrero, Chief Product Manager for the i3 & i8 arrived in the Ionic Silver one. They both talked to the crowd, answered questions and Jose opened up a couple cases of BMW i pens and key chains and handed them out. It was a great showing by BMW and was really appreciated by everyone.
Why settle for one i8 when you can have two?  :)
The i8 is an awesome vehicle, but I'm perfectly content with my i3. I do however, want the Frozen Blue seat belts from the i8 for my i3. They would go perfectly with my Tera World interior so if anyone at BMW was wondering what to send me for Christmas... just sayin' : )

Of course I had to get some seat time in the i8. I actually got to drive an i8 last month but the i8s at the event were not available to test drive. I want these Frozen Blue seat belts transplanted into my i3!
It's really great to see how far electric vehicles have come in the past five years. Back in 2011 when I attended the first National Plug in Day I couldn't have imagined that in three short years we would be where we are now. In 2011 the electric cars we had on display were a Tesla Roadster, a Nissan Leaf, a Chevy Volt and my MINI-E which wasn't even available to the general public. At my event this year we had: a Tesla Roadster, Tesla Model Ss, Nissan LEAFs, Chevy Volts, a Honda Fit EV, BMW i3s, BMW i8s, a Mercedes B-Class ED, a smart electric drive, a Ford Focus EV and a Toyota RAV4 EV. There is still a long way to go for mass electric vehicle adoption but we are well on the way. Manufacturers are bringing cars to market and EV charging infrastructure is improving. Infrastructure deployment may not be going as fast as many electric vehicle supporters would like, but it is indeed happening.
The owner of this Honda fit offered test drives for those interested. Much appreciated!
2015 promises to be even better with more electric choices coming to market. Volkswagen will release an electric version of their popular Golf, Audi will introduce the A3 e-tron and Mitsubishi will bring their extremely popular Outlander plug in hybrid to the US in the spring. The Outlander PHEV has been a smashing success in Europe and Mitsubishi can't even make them fast enough. In some markets it has even eclipsed the Nissan LEAF to become the top selling plug in vehicle. Yes, the electric revolution is indeed underway. I want to thank everybody who attended this year's event and hope to see you all again next year!

1 comment:

  1. An embarrassment of riches in i8s at your event. I'm jealous. There was just one in the one I attended in Huntington Beach, CA.