National Drive Electric Week solar panel parking lot with plug-in cars

National Drive Electric Week

Plug In America, the nation’s leading nonprofit grassroots advocate for electric vehicles, faced a challenge in working to accelerate awareness and adoption of EVs.

From a concept conceived with fellow EV advocate Jeff U’Ren, ZDS Communications launched a coast-to-coast event, National Drive Electric Week, through Plug In America, the nation’s leading grassroots electric-car advocacy organization. Plug In America quickly partnered with the Sierra Club’s national headquarters and the Electric Auto Assn. The two-part goal:
–To encourage EV supporters nationwide to stage test-drive events and related activities. Nothing “flips” drivers from gas to electric like experiencing the real thing.
–To garner media coverage of electric cars in major national and local outlets.

The first National Plug In Day took place in 29 cities, thanks to scores of volunteer-organized events from Maui to Times Square. By year five in 2015, we had renamed and expanded the celebration to National Drive Electric Week, which took place in 187 cities—some six times the original number—in 40 U.S. states and aborad. A total of 9,000 EV ride-and-drive were given, and every plug-in vehicle on the road was represented. Highlights have included a 2014 Silicon Valley EV parade of battery electric vehicles that set a new world record: 507 vehicles in motion. A GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® judge delivered the news to a cheering crowd of thousands at Cupertino’s event, organized by Electric Auto Association of Silicon Valley and SF BayLEAFs. VIDEO. In 2015, L.A.’s event hosted the world debut of the 2016 Nissan LEAF and the West Coast debut of the Chevy Bolt EV concept.

Media-wise, National Drive Electric Week has put electric cars in the headlines of Popular Science, USA Today, the New York Times and on The Weather Channel. “Sixty Minutes” showed up in 2013 and a crew from “Years of Living Dangerously” (David Gelber) filmed footage for a segment to air on National Geographic Channel.

In the event’s fifth iteration, our social media reach peaked at six million.

PHOTO: Aerial view shows EVs prior to peeling off in to parade that set a new world record: 507 vehicles in motion, as officially recognized by GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS®. Parade vehicles in motion can been seen on outer right edge of photo and along the top. Photo credit: Frank Mokaya/SF BayLEAFs.