This week, I took my next-door neighbor and my exterminator for a ride in my new Nissan LEAF. Neither had ever been in an electric vehicle before and both were plenty impressed with the comfort, quiet and power of the ride. My neighbor only drives Volvos, but was very interested to learn that Volvo is working on an EV. My exterminator grumbled about how he spends up to $30 daily on gasoline to get around Los Angeles to various job sites and was dazzled at the prospect of never visiting a gas station again.
Plug In America puts on dozens of ride and drive events each year, in addition to National Drive Electric Week every September. We’ve learned that directly experiencing the cars is the best way to turn people into new EV drivers. Data from our events suggest that 12% or more of people who test drive an EV will eventually buy one. And the strongest influence in a person’s decision to buy an EV is a friend or family member who already drives one.
Few people buy an EV in isolation. EV sales tend to go in clusters. I buy a car today. My neighbor sees me charging or asks me questions about it, and then buys one a few months later. Six months after that, his cousin buys one. The clusters keep growing and eventually, it all goes viral. The excitement that EV drivers feel about their cars and their desire to share it with friends and family is one of the most powerful tools that we have.
So take your friends and family for a ride in your car. This month, see if you can’take three people for a ride who have never been in an EV before. For them, you are the most powerful and influential voice for the electric car. Then send us an email and let us know how it went. Send photos, videos or a short note. We want to hear your story.