“Experience Electric” Aims to Spark Bay Area EV Adoption

Chuck Colgan's picture

CCSE and a consortium of clean transportation organizations launched a yearlong campaign to spur consumer interest in plug-in electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in the Bay Area during an event held Tuesday, May 13, in downtown San Francisco.

“Experience Electric – The Better Ride,” sponsored by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, will feature thousands of free electric vehicle (EV) test-drives at dozens of public venues and workplaces throughout the nine-county region. The first event is set for Saturday, May 17, at Marina Green on San Francisco Bay and will feature EVs from BMW, Fiat, Ford, General Motors, smart and Nissan.

According to campaign officials, accelerating EV use in the Bay Area is a key strategy for reducing emissions from gas-powered vehicles, improving air quality and achieving local and state targets for curbing greenhouse emissions.

“It’s one thing to say that drivers can fuel an EV for only about 20 percent of the cost of a gasoline-powered car, or that EVs can cut the typical driver’s operating and maintenance costs by $1,200 a year,” said Orinda City Councilmember and MTC Chair Amy Rein Worth. “But these are just numbers until people experience for themselves how much fun to drive these cars are. Add in other benefits like access to freeway carpool lanes, and when you put it all together, EVs really are the coolest option on the road today.”

Bay Area Loves EVs

The Bay Area accounts for about 20 percent of California’s population but 40 percent of the state’s EVs.

“There are more all-electric vehicles in the Bay Area than any other region in the state,” said Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, who also serves as an MTC commissioner and Air District director. “We want to build on this leadership and make the Bay Area the EV capital of the nation. The way to do it is to get drivers to actually experience an EV in a fun, zero-pressure setting.”

MTC, in partnership with the Air District, led the development of the Experience Electric strategy in collaboration with the Bay Area EV Strategic Council. MTC then selected the California Center for Sustainable Energy, Plug In America and Charge Across Town to conduct the media and consumer campaign, which aims to make extensive use of social media and word-of-mouth marketing well as traditional advertising and media relations.

Visit the Experience Electric website to learn more about future test-drive events and join in the online EV conversation at facebook.com/thebetterride.

Chuck Colgan