Thursday, September 10, 2015

National Drive Electric Week in LA

By Maria Ramos

The world is facing a major problem in the coming years. For so long we have been dependent on oil and fossil fuels that our planet is now in peril. Not only are we beginning to run low on the petroleum and oil that has kept our society running, but the pollution caused by our overuse of fossil fuels is slowly killing our planet. While many people understand the importance electric vehicles play in reducing our carbon footprint, there are still plenty of folks who haven't even considered making the switch yet. It is for these folks that the 2015 National Drive Electric Week is happening.

First held in 2011, the originally dubbed National Plug-In Day was so popular that it quickly expanded to fill an entire week's worth of fun and excitement. From September 12-20, more than 160 events are scheduled to take place all across America (and a few in Canada and Hong Kong) that will highlight the benefits of driving electric. These events are organized by local groups and individuals that are passionate about our planet and how switching to electric can help.

In Los Angeles, EV enthusiasts can catch a variety of electrifying events. On September 13, a free event is being held at Exposition Park. From 11 am to 3 pm, you can head out and test drive some of the newest plug-in vehicles from top manufacturers like BMW, Audi, and Kia. There will also be a variety of speakers including politicians, actors, and activists, giveaways, and the debut of the Chevy Bolt Concept Car. There are events also being held in Torrance, Diamond Bar, Long Beach, and Woodland Hills, where actor Ed Begley, Jr. will be a guest speaker. Other events being held all over the country include live music, more speakers, and a lot of demonstrations and test drives.

To show that even one person can make a difference, Brian Kent began what he is calling the Negative Carbon US Road Trip. This road trip started on August 24, in Albion, NY. From there, Brian will be driving to all 48 contiguous states in his Nissan Leaf and planting a tree in each one. By his estimations, these trees will trap more than 10 times the amount of CO2 Brian's Leaf will produce on this country-wide adventure.

While these events have a lot of fun activities planned for the whole family, there is definitely an underlying message to be heard. To help bring light to this message, the National Drive Electric Week events will showcase many of the benefits of driving an electric vehicle has over their gas-guzzling counterparts. Of course, there are the obvious advantages of lowering emissions and reducing pollution, but there are actually a number of other advantages that may not get as much ink.

Everyone likes to save a penny or two and buying an electric vehicle can actually save you a whole lot of pennies. Sure, you will be hitting the pump a lot less, and with the rising cost of gas these days, that is quite a savings in itself. But there are also federal tax credits and state incentives available for qualifying vehicles.

Another big thing happening is the national 'smart grid.' This new proposal would essentially link power grids from all over the country and allow stored, renewable energy from one place to power homes in another rather than everyone relying on traditional energy providers. For example, an excess of hydropower from the northwest can help homes as far away as South Dakota.

Driving EV’s just makes more sense. It is cheaper in the long-run and a great solution for our environmental hardships. As renewable energy becomes more widespread in America, the benefits of driving electric will actually rise even more. Remember to show your love for electric vehicles at Exposition park on September 13.