O, Watt A Wonderful Start to National Drive Electric Week!

Jennifer Rennicks, former Senior Director of Policy & Communications at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, co-authored this post.

Kate Tracy | September 16, 2019 | Clean Transportation, Electric Vehicles, North Carolina, Tennessee

This past Saturday, electric vehicle enthusiasts around the country gathered for the 9th annual National Drive Electric Week events, including multiple events here in the Southeast! The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) co-hosted events in Knoxville, Tennessee and Asheville, North Carolina with the aim of encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles by demonstrating the ease and benefits of driving electric!

All smiles before taking a test drive in a Tesla Model 3 in Knoxville!

Here at SACE, particularly through our work with our campaign to Electrify the South, we talk about the benefits of driving electric pretty frequently, but to hear firsthand why drivers like you want to see the rapid transition to electric transportation was inspiring! Drivers or interested drivers talked about realizing cost savings, their desires to embrace the latest technology, the importance of protecting the environment, and the necessity of decreasing our dependence on domestic and foreign fossil fuels. This last reasoning was the key motivator for retired Air Force Veteran and Knoxville Electric Vehicle Association member, Robert Finn to purchase his first Tesla, which made him the second Tesla owner in Knoxville.

Robert Finn, Air Force Veteran, and Knoxville’s second Tesla owner poses with his latest Tesla, White Lightning

Now the proud owner of Tesla Model 3, appropriately called “White Lightning,” Mr. Finn told us that he would never buy a “dirty, old fossil-fueled car again.” Mr. Finn lamented that the joy he felt driving his electric vehicle wasn’t just because he could go 0-60 in 2.4 seconds, but also because of the liberation he felt knowing that driving electric meant less demand on our energy grid and therefore, less demand to purchase oil from foreign countries. Eventually, he’d like to see all-electric vehicles powered by the sun. Us too, Mr. Finn, us, too.

Future EV owners pre-game for a UT-Knoxville home game by checking out a Tesla Model S!

In addition to meeting Mr. Finn, our Knoxville-based staff offered over 25  test drives in a Model 3 Tesla to provide a hands-on driving experience for car lovers of all ages. Attendees were clearly interested as we had an hour-long waitlist at times. It looks like we’ll need to offer more opportunities for test drives in the future.

Boasting more than 60 vehicles and drivers, Asheville’s event was expected to be the second largest in the region – second only to Atlanta – with hundreds of people walking through the event learning about EVs and taking test drives. Attendees were also encouraged to apply for a new EV-focused license plate that will help spread the word of EVs – literally – on the go! If you live in NC and you’re interested in getting an EV-supporting plate for your car, click here for more information and to download an application before February 8, 2020.

SACE’s former Senior Policy & Communications Director, Jennifer Rennicks, spoke with attendees about the benefits of EVs with her own Nissan Leaf as an example

SACE also co-hosted events last weekend in Tallahassee and West Palm Beach, Florida as part of our Driving on Sunshine EV Roadshow. We’re scheduled to co-host two more this weekend in Destin and Tampa  – stop by and take a spin with us! Stay tuned for a wrap-up blog next week on all of the Florida events! Don’t live in Destin or Tampa? Take a look at the many other electric vehicle events all across the country and find one near you!

Are you attending a National Drive Electric Week event this week or have you already? Tag us on social media @ElectrifyTheSouth using the #ElectrifyTheSouth! We love seeing new and old EV enthusiasts in the wild!

As we gear up for this weekends events, we’ll leave y’all with one final message:

Kate Tracy
This blog was written by a former staff member of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.
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