National Drive Electric Week

By Allen Penticoff

IMG_1554Once again National Drive Electric week is here. Join Mr. Green Car and other electric car owners at the Unitarian Universalist Church lower parking lot on Thursday from 3-7 p.m. The church address is 4848 Turner Street, northeast of the intersection of State St. & Alpine Rd.

Last year was our first Rockford area celebration, we had a number of electric cars, plug-in hybrids, an electric bicycle and a fast electric motorcycle – ridden by a little ol’ lady no less. Stop by and talk to owners about their experiences with electric vehicles.

There are events like this all over the country and the world this week – most are far grander than the Rockford area event from the accounts I get from Plug-In America’s event captain list-serve. Everyone is very enthusiastic.

There are now a dozen electric cars on the market. Many used EVs are available at bargain prices. The auto manufacturing business is not making these cars as a fluke – they see the writing on the wall and that writing says that sustainably produced electric energy is to be our future. Driving around in dinosaur powered vehicles will be unfathomable in the not too distant future – actually most of us won’t be driving at all – the vehicle will do all the driving and we won’t have to own it.

In the meanwhile, us “early adopters” love driving around in our very practical electric cars. Few worry about running out of battery power as the range available to most is well within their everyday needs without recharging at a destination (Rockford is still woefully lacking charging points). Driving an EV means clean, quiet, fast transportation that costs far less to operate than a conventional car with gasoline power.

Tesla and Chevrolet will soon have two groundbreaking EV automobiles on the market – the Tesla Model 3 and the Chevrolet Bolt. Both will be priced at about $35,000 before tax credits and both will have 200 miles of all-electric range – with no backup engine. My wife and I are moving out of Rockford to a nice quiet house on the Sugar River near Brodhead, Wisconsin. She will be commuting to work for a few years yet and it is our plan to replace her 2013 Chevy Volt with a new Chevy Bolt when it becomes available. With the Bolt’s 200 mile range, she should be easily be able to make a pollution-free round trip to work of about 110 miles and do some errands. Presently the Volt would only be able to do the first 40 miles on electricity alone – with the possibility that some days she can recharge at work and get 40 miles on the way home. But with the Bolt – no problem with having an all electric daily commute. Why the Bolt and not the Tesla? Simply – there are two Chevrolet dealerships within a few miles of our new home. Have a problem? Easy to resolve. Is the Tesla Model 3 better? Perhaps, but I’ve yet to see one, I have sat in a Bolt and know it will do what we need it to do. Besides, I’m sort of a “Chevy guy.”

Anyway. Come join the EV crowd at our event on Thursday. I hope we can even make some test drives available. National Drive Electric Week Rockford is sponsored by: Plug-In American, Sierra Club, Electric Auto Association, Nissan – Leaf, and the Green Sanctuary Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Church.

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