I was wondering what we should do recently on a Saturday when my husband mentioned that it was “National Plug-In Day” for Electric Vehicles (EVs), and that there were celebrations in San Jose and San Francisco.
He was thinking that we should go and see what all of the new electric cars looked like. So we decided to head to the San Jose celebration.
The event was held in the parking lot of the San Jose Mercury News—and probably did not hold all of the excitement of the event of the San Francisco event—which likely drew a larger crowd. Still, this was a pretty powerful thing for our son to see.
At the gathering were more than 10 people who had driven to the event in their new Nissan LEAF electric cars, two or three folks who had driven there in more venerable Toyota Rav4 electric cars, two or three who had driven their high- speed Tesla Roadsters, and even one person who had driven a small, three-wheeled electric powered kit car—none of them having used gasoline to get there.
For our son (who has recently started counting exhaust pipes) to see which cars are cleaner than others, this was really something. Our family has recently become Nissan Leaf fans as we learn about the improved economy of 99 miles per gallon equivalent—and options to have silver stickers allowing single drivers to use the HOV lane!
The event offered other points of interest:
One interesting thing to see was the electric kit car. This was a 1993 City Com made by City EL. The owner popped the fiberglass top so that our son could see the internals of the car up-close. We got to learn about how much better the kit car runs with new generation lithium ion batteries instead of the older lead acid (normal car) batteries.
Another fun thing was the license plates these folks have chosen. It's pretty clear from these that they are very passionate about becoming roles models for moving away from a dependence upon oil.
Here were some of our favorites: "BBYE OIL", "CHRG ME", and "SUN ENRG."
Last fun thing: There are lots of these electric cars on the way. They range from the "plug-in" hybrids (which can run on gasoline after the batteries are empty) to the 100 percent EVs, which are battery-only. Our son had a good time looking at all of them. He is excited about the idea of using "no gas!"
- The event was grass-roots organized: Free for all to attend, and you can check out Plug In's calendar for upcoming events
- Electric Auto Association web page
- NY Times article on Nissan and Bay Area Leaf owners meet-ups
- Wikipedia article about the single person City EL
- Telsa EV website
- Nissan LEAF website
- Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid website
- Ford Focus EV website
- Toyota Rav 4 website
- Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid website
- Mitsubishi "MiEV" website
Editor's Note: For those wanting to learn a bit more, Plug In America will have a booth at the Green Festival at the Concourse Exhibition Center in San Francisco, Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 12-13. The festival will also have a Ford Fusion hybrid available for test drive. Tickets online are $10 for an all-access pass until Friday. Free admission to youth, students, bicyclists (on bike) and Global Exchange and union members.
Those with more cash to spend can consider "Party With the Plug Ins," a gala on Sunday, Nov. 13, at The Winery SF, Treasure Island. The event includes test drives, EV demonstrations, open wine and beer bar, silent auction and raffle. General admission tickets are $120.