We celebrated National Plug In Day (#NPID2013 for people on the twitterverse). You may be asking, what’s National Plug In Day (NPID)? Why didn’t I get work off or at least see the post office close? Well, it’s not a national holiday – it’s a gathering of people really interested in electric vehicles (EV) and an overall celebration of the EV industry. There were 98 events nationwide! If you missed it, keep reading!
It’s okay you didn’t go because you can live vicariously through me! The NPID website says, “National Plug In Day is a nationwide celebration to heighten awareness of today’s widespread availability of plug-in vehicles and highlight the benefits of all-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric cars, trucks, motorcycles, and more.” The third annual celebration boasted events everywhere from Hawaii to New Amsterdam, even Old Amsterdam. The celebration crossed several borders into Canada, Mexico and Holland. If you missed NPID this weekend, don’t worry! New Hampshire and Mexico apparently don’t observe our Gregorian calendar and will hold events October 5th & 6th.
What happens at the NPID events are truly up to the organizers. Some have EV parades – with a 100 mile limit, of course ;). Others have panel discussions and guest speakers. All bring together EV enthusiasts with automakers who are offering EV test drives. My father and I attended a great event in Long Beach, CA that had test driving galore! Every major EV carmaker was represented, and we were lucky enough to see some rare EV’s as well. We also got to see the Chevy Spark EV, BMW ActiveE, Tesla Roadster, Nissan Nismo, new and old Rav4′s, several Smarts, and more, not to mention the electric motorcycles and bikes. As a sustainability geek, I was hoping to see some commercial EVs (link), like FedEx’s delivery trucks or the Port of Long Beach electric trucks, but none were on display. Maybe next year I’ll get my wish.
I was only able to drive two cars but managed to almost run several people over. #SilentEVs Bravo to the automakers for bringing in four of each car! Alas, the lines for test drives were still long for each car. I got to drive the Nissan Leaf & Fiat 500e. The Leaf was really great, drives just like a regular car. It had a back-up camera, far more space than expected, and an incredibly peaceful ride. The ride was smooth and enjoyable #TORQUE! The Fiat 500e was unremarkable, but certainly was a fun, small, Italian car. So much fun in fact, that I was able to drain 4% of the battery during our test drive.
The highlight for me was the electric bikes. Honestly, unless I close a big deal #CallMe, I won’t be buying an electric car (any new car, for that matter) in the near future. I’m also fortunate to have a commute under 10 miles. We wear suits in the office, so traditional biking to work is um…a little too sweaty for comfort. That’s why I enjoyed Pedego’s bikes so much! The 32 volt bikes have a 20 mile range at 20 MPH. I took one for a spin on a neighboring bike path and thoroughly enjoyed myself. You could probably get the 48 volt to do a wheelie, if you were more adventurous – it had some serious power!
A fun side note: The EV charging stations were naturally in high demand. The PA system was constantly updating what percentage charge cars were at, and asking “if they could make it home, to please make it available for someone else.” An unfortunate reminder of range limitations, and a pleasant reminder at how we’re all working together for a better future.