Drive Electric Week event organizers reminisce


Drive Electric Week event organizers reminisce

They say real friends stick together through thick and thin. So what do we call volunteers who have stuck with EVs for more than a decade? I like to call them CHAMPIONS. As we head into another National Drive Electric Week (NDEW), I hope all of our volunteers feel like champions.

Thank you for helping us create the world’s two largest, annual EV celebrations: National Drive Electric Week and Drive Electric Earth Day. Thanks to local volunteers, we’ve provided thousands of EV test drives since 2011, held events in all 50 states, and created a global community with events reaching 8 countries.

Here’s to the volunteers who carried us into a future of clean transportation, in their own words.

Photo credit: Nicole Trusty, Photographer

Dr. Shelley Francis, Co-Founder & Director

What is your favorite moment from an EV event?

“One of my favorite NDEW stories was from our event, Drive the Future Atlanta, where we had hundreds of diverse, new and used EV drivers and enthusiasts display their vehicles. I remember this one family had a young son who was around six years old. He was really intrigued by the vehicles, particularly a Tesla Roadster and a Nissan LEAF that were parked next to each other. Watching him engage with the vehicles and ask the owners questions reminded me that he was among the next generation of EV drivers and showed the importance of facilitating these types of events so that we are engaging diverse communities and audiences.”

What advice would you give to new city captains?

“Engage with and socialize your event with community partners and remember to have fun! Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the mechanics and logistics of planning an event that we don’t take the time to enjoy it.”

Susan Wang
Pro Bono Advisor

How was your first experience organizing an EV event?

“Happy50Plus was pleasantly surprised that we had close to 200 people turn out for our Chinese language EV event! Our members are mostly Chinese speaking older adults. We had not anticipated this high level of interest. Their questions indicated many are seriously considering an EV in the near future.”


“Happy50Plus (樂活50加) 的中文電動車活動有近 200 人參加! 我們的成員大多是講中文的中老年人。 我們很高興有如此高的興趣。 從他們問演講嘉賓的問題,我們發現許多人正認真考慮將來想買電動汽車。”

Photo credit: Mike Miranda

Mike Miranda, Secretary
Electrathon Mexico

What is your favorite moment from an EV event?

“At the 2019 NDEW-Mexico City event, we took advantage of the ELECTRATON eKarts race to have the electric cars on display for the first time in the Mexican capital city. In addition to brand new EVs, converted ones also arrived and all of them made a parade through the race track before starting the college race competition.

At the end of the competition, while the judges were counting, we took the EVs out onto the track and invited the spectators to take a ride and everyone was fascinated to get on and feel the acceleration of the electrics (myself included). Long story short, it took us a while to give the results because even the judges and track officials were also dragged by curiosity to take a few laps around the circuit. Happily, this time no one minded the delay and, on the contrary, we all had a smile for an experience we will never forget. This is how Mexico City received the NDEW in 2019: With a big smile that only the ride satisfaction of an EV can provide!”

What advice would you give to new city captains?

“Don’t be afraid to be a host and start an NDEW event in your city. There are so many more people out there likely to help you than you think. EVs are not only the new way to ride, it’s the ultimate way to do it: innovative, fun, eco-friendly, and a whole new experience everyone’s trying to get to know.”

¿Cuál es tu momento favorito de un evento de vehículos eléctricos?

“En el NDEW-CDMX de 2019 aprovechamos la carrera de eKarts de ELECTRATON para tener una exhibición estática de los autos eléctricos que nos acompañaban por primera vez en la capital. Además de eléctricos de origen, llegaron eléctricos convertidos y todos hicieron un desfile antes de iniciar la competencia de autos de las escuderías universitarias.

Asi es que al final de la competencia mientras los jueces hacían el conteo, en esta ocasión sacamos los EV’s a la pista e invitamos a los espectadores a dar una vuelta y todos estuvieron fascinados de subirse y sentir la aceleración de los eléctricos (me incluyo). Para no hacer el cuento más largo, de todos modos nos tardamos en dar los resultados porque incluso los jueces y oficiales de pista también nos formamos para dar unas vueltas al circuito… solo que en esta ocasión nadie nos reclamó el retraso y al contrario todos tuvimos una sonrisa por una experiencia que jamás olvidaremos.  Así fue como recibió la CDMX al NDEW en 2019: Con una gran sonrisa que solo la satisfacción de paseo que un EV puede dar!”

¿Qué consejo le daría a los nuevos organizadores de eventos? 

“No tengas miedo de ser anfitrión e iniciar un evento de NDEW en tu ciudad, hay muchas más personas de lo que piensas, que estarán dispuestas a ayudarte!. Los vehículos eléctricos no solo son la nueva forma de conducir, sino la mejor manera de hacerlo, son: innovadores, divertidos, amigables con el medio ambiente y una experiencia completamente nueva que todos están buscando tener.”

Photo credit: Glenn Marcucio

Michael Kamm
Capital District EV Drivers

What is your favorite moment from an EV event?

“My favorite moment was during my 2017 NDEW event in front of City Hall in Schenectady. Months of planning meetings with the City Controller came together. It was the cumulative energy of having over 90 EVs attend, streets closed for us all around City Hall, the mayor and members of Congress speaking, seven dealer cars provided test drives, and the cherry on top was the electric Proterra Bus that came in from Springfield, MA to provide free shuttle service to the event for show-goers. I was even granted permission to go up on the roof of City Hall to take photos of the event. I always say that it was an NDEW event that will never be topped in our area and I still believe that today.”

What advice would you give to new city captains?

“My advice to future city captains would be to follow your heart and enthusiasm in planning your event. Don’t be too influenced by what others tell you to do. You do your best work when you follow your inspiration.”

Photo credit: Bearded Mug Media (Bryan McCarthy)

Chris Neff

What is your favorite moment from an EV event?

“I have to say my favorite moment was the first time the 1917 Detroit Electric Model 68 showed up to my first NDEW event in Morristown NJ – this was 2015. I was speaking with the mayor explaining to him the importance of the town installing chargers since more and more commuters coming to Morristown are getting EVs. While talking, he was impressed by all the EVs showing up to the event, and I explained they are here to show you how cool these cars are and that they support towns that support EVs like Morristown does. We had over 70 EVs.

But the real kicker was when the 1917 Detroit Electric showed up. I was standing on the street corner with the mayor and said, “Oh look, here comes our show special.” This is a really big car and it is tall. You could see it blocks away as it made its way down main street silently. The mayor’s jaw hit the ground when it pulled into the NDEW parking area. I explained to him that EVs had been around over 100 years ago and that at one point there were more EVs than gas cars. They are catching on again so the towns that support them will receive support from EV drivers, we are a loyal bunch.

They installed chargers a couple years later.”

What advice would you give to new city captains?

“This is supposed to be a fun event – make it fun. Also, most important, make sure the public can see your event and attend it – don’t pick an area people have to drive to. That is how you influence the adoption of EVs, making it open to all and accessible. Since my lot had no curb in the way, parents with baby strollers came right in – so many of them! Those are legitimate shoppers for EVs – that is what we want.”

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