Dear Plug-in electric vehicle supporter,
We held the presses for this month’s newsletter until after our San Francisco gala event. I’m happy to report that Plug In America’s fourth fundraiser and party this past Sunday was a roaring success. Alternating between Los Angeles and San Francisco for our annual gathering of the faithful, the party activities and venues just keep getting better.
This year, guests got to test drive EVs on gorgeous Treasure Island, site of the 1939-40 World’s Fair. There were half a dozen cars available, including a powerful BMW conversion and a meticulously crafted Volkswagen bug. The Tesla Roadster wowed ‘em with its acceleration, as always. And it was a treat to be able to drive a new Coda sedan, by all appearances production-ready. More adventurous guests took spins on motorcycles, the Pi bicycle, and a Trikke standup tricycle, all of them electric.
Test drives continued until well after sunset as the party shifted to the interior of Winery SF, located in a former naval hangar. There was music, local organic fare, barrel tastings, and a solar lounge where partygoers bid on silent auction items. One lucky bidder drove away with a brand new Zero Motorcycle. It was a great fundraising success for Plug In America, helping us continue our important work. Look for pictures on our blog and Facebook page and stay tuned for our next event. Rumor has it we’re heading to Seattle in the spring.
I especially enjoyed getting to meet new friends in the EV movement, as well as seeing many of our longtime supporters. The award for best effort driving electric to the party has to go to Stephen Johnsen who drove his Chevy S10 pickup all the way from Seattle pulling a homebuilt range-extending trailer filled with Lithium batteries. I’m not making this up! Thank you to our sponsors, staff and volunteers for putting on such an enjoyable event.
And thanks to all of you for your continued support for Plug In America.
First Ever National Plug-In Day A Big Hit
Who drives electric cars anyway? The answer became clearer on October 16th when thousands of Americans from coast to coast celebrated National Plug In Day, organized by Plug In America, the Sierra Club, the Electric Auto Association and many local groups to champion the benefits of the cleanest cars on the road.
Twenty-nine cities toasted the resurgence of electric cars with test-drives, tailpipe-free tailgate parties and the spectacle of plug-in cars gliding silently through the streets of Main Street, USA. Santa Monica's 188-count parade easily blasted the previous world record for most electric cars ever amassed for such a procession. Seattle hosted 78 EVs, while the city of Orange, California had a robust assemblage of 70 cars for 1,032,849 oil-free miles driven. (A full list of cities plus links to several Plug In Day podcasts is here and a Flickr photostream is here.)
In addition to plenty of legacies, the public got to interact with a whole lot of new Nissan Leafs and Chevy Volts, a Mitsubishi I, Tesla Roadsters, Fisker Karma, Plug-in Prius, Smart EDs, even a 33-passenger Electric Shuttle from Balqon.
Media who paid heed to the first-time celebration (in addition to widespread local coverage) included USA Today, the Huffington Post, AutoWeek, the New York Times and energyNOW! which is reportedly Bloomberg TV’s highest rated program. And the verdict is in: participants roundly called for a second National Plug In Day in 2012—which just might be an international observance. Until then, enjoy this look back as we thank all those who made the day such a success!
Santa Monica, CA--The Flagship Event
All parade vehicles were highway capable. Watch the press conference featuring Rep. Janice Hahn (D-San Pedro), actor/environmentalist Ed Begley Jr., and Chris Paine, director of the new “Revenge of the Electric Car.” L.A.’s South Coast Air Quality Management District measured pollution levels before and after the parade to conclude that, even accounting for variable factors such as weather, “roadside ultrafine particles were reduced by more than 50% during the parade, and black carbon levels were reduced by about 40%.”
San Francisco, CA
Organizers launched Adopt a Charger, a new nonprofit with a mission to install chargers across the country that are free for all to use. The first such charger was unveiled at Crissy Field, part of Golden Gate National Park.
The City of Orange, in Orange County, CA
Seventy cars turned up at the City of Orange Public Library. Orange County, perceived by so many as anything but progressive, has never seen an electrifying influx like this!
More than 75 vehicles, old and new, totaling more than 610,000 all-electric miles! (photo by Steven Lough)
The faces of National Plug In Day, doggies included.
Denver’s event garnered 300 attendees—including representatives from the Governor’s Energy Office—15 EVs, four charging stations and four of five Nissan Leafs that were, at the time, owned in all of Colorado.
No gas, no fumes in Tennessee, where the celebration took place in Kingsport and environs as well as in Knoxville.
New York City, NY
New York city rolled out the red carpet and a huge banner for an electric tailgate party with dozens of EVs on display.
One day after D.C.’s joyous celebration in front of the nation’s Capitol building, the Sierra Club hand-delivered on a flash drive the signatures of more than 52,000 people who signed a Sierra Club petition to President Obama applauding his stated goal of getting 1 million EVs on US roads by 2015.
Mister Friedland Goes to Washington (and Sacramento)
Plug In America’s Legislative Director, Jay Friedland, is remaining vigilant. The U.S. Congress continues to wrestle with the issues around plug-in vehicles and recently the House of Representatives voted to suspend funding for EV manufacturing incentives (aka ATVM). Along with many pro-EV legislators, we pushed back and happily can report that we were able to stop that effort in its tracks. But the issue is sure to keep coming back.
Another bill was just introduced in the House to eliminate all "green" tax incentives, specifically calling out the plug-in tax credits. So we’re keeping an eye on that one. And in California, we lost the battle on AB475 to save charger sharing, but we will keep working this issue in the next legislative session.
Finally, a number of EV-related tax credits are expiring at the end of 2011, so Plug In America is driving hard to extend them. It is a challenging time for budgets everywhere, but plug-in vehicles need all of our support, so stay tuned for more legislative Action Alerts over the next two months.
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