North Carolina Drive Electric Week

National Drive Electric Week is a yearly event each October to celebrate all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Plug In America, Sierra Club, and the Electric Auto Association serve as the organizers for this national event and each year it includes hundreds of events in communities across the United States. Thousands of people come out for National Electric Drive Week each year in North Carolina, but this year, some organizations have had to get creative. Plug-in NC, for example, decided to do a 1,000-mile road trip throughout North Carolina and Virginia to show the capabilities of EVs and highlight the number of charging stations.

National Drive Week started in 2011, at a time when the first of the current generation EVs included the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt. Since then, it has grown to a full week of events aimed at educating consumers about all of the benefits of going electric. As with any new technology, people often have questions before they make the switch to driving electric, and National Drive Electric Week gives people the opportunity to discover electric vehicles and talk to EV drivers in person.

The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center has participated in National Drive Electric Week for many years and in 2019, the Center sponsored six events in Winston-Salem, Pittsboro and Raleigh, NC, including vehicle expos/tailgates, ride and drives and driver meet-ups.

Even though the pandemic has put in-person events on hold this year, Governor Cooper declared the week of September 24-October 4, North Carolina Drive Electric Week. In fact, on September 30th, the Center held a Sustainable Fleet Conference entitled “Electrification of Transportation and Climate Change Impact” where Governor Cooper discussed North Carolina’s focus and efforts toward electrification and reduction of transportation emissions. Rick Sapienza, Director of the Clean Transportation Program at the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center discusses the event’s importance.

“We participate in National Electric Drive Week every year. It is important for the simple reason that it helps people understand electric vehicles. In the past people have purchased electric vehicles following one of these events and that makes doing it every year worthwhile.”

Currently, there are approximately 20,000 electric vehicles registered in North Carolina and over 2,100 charging station outlets. And these numbers will only increase in the years ahead as price parity and additional vehicle options become available. The Center’s North Carolina Drive Week participation has included several webinars on electric vehicles that ran early this summer and continue into the fall. Links and topics are provided below and cover the range of electric vehicle issues.

July 29th  – Electrification of Regional Haul Trucking featuring North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE)

September 23rd – Best Practices & Lessons Learned in Charging Infrastructure Deployment

October 7thElectric Vehicle Options for Fleets

November 4thResiliency Considerations With Alternative Fuels & Transportation Technology

December 2nd Idle Reduction – An Easy Win