The ABCs of National Drive Electric Week


The ABCs of National Drive Electric Week

There are indeed some essential things you should know about National Drive Electric Week (NDEW), but that’s not what this blog post is about. For today’s purposes, “The ABCs of NDEW” are referring to Anchorage, Bloomington, and Comox. These are just three of the 219 amazing events that were hosted in 206 cities and towns across the U.S. and in Canada and Mexico as part of NDEW 2023. 

EV-focused events occur in almost all 50 states of the U.S., so chances are there’s one near you (and if there’s not, maybe there should be – consider becoming an event organizer). While many events include an EV ride-and-drive opportunity, it’s not a requirement, and these three events show just how unique each event can be. NDEW events may look and feel different based on the community, event format, and size of the event, but their individual and collective impact is always consistently amazing. We wish we could highlight them all!

Anchorage, Alaska

  • Event lead – Chantelle Lewis-Boutte
  • # of EVs on display at the event – 20
  • # of event attendees – 70

Chugach Electric Association celebrated NDEW with a free educational presentation, “GO EV AK: Growing Ownership of Electric Vehicles,” hosted at the Anchorage Museum Auditorium.

Sean Skaling from Chugach Electric moderated the event and was joined by panelists Mark Henspeter from Chugach Electric, Michelle Wilber from the Alaska Center for Energy & Power, Josi Hartley from Alaska Energy Authority, and Tim Leach from Launch Alaska. In addition to answering audience questions, the group covered:

  • Public and home charging
  • Charging impacts on electric bills
  • Cost of ownership
  • Local and federal incentives
  • Cold weather impacts and driving experience
  • Future EV-related infrastructure plans in Alaska 

Each event guest received a rechargeable LED lightbulb, and battery-operated yard tools were given as prizes to two lucky attendees.

Photo Credit: Kate Ayers, Chugach Electric

Bloomington, Minnesota

  • Event lead – Lisa Thurstin
  • # of EVs on display at the event – 30
  • # of event attendees – 150
  • # of rides/drives given – 102

The Oak Grove Presbyterian EV Expo celebrated its fifth year of hosting a successful event. Over 20 Oak Grove volunteers helped plan and facilitate the event which offered a diverse, impressive, and inspirational array of EV-focused learning opportunities and activities to the community. 

Minnesota Clean Cities Coalition staff managed the EV test drive part of the event where guests were able to choose to drive or ride in a Polestar 2, Tesla Model Y, Subaru Solterra, Nissan Ariya, BMW iX, Kia Niro, or Kia EV6.

Twenty-two EV owners brought their vehicles and talked to visitors about their driving experiences. The Eastern Carver County School District (Chaska) showcased the Blue Bird electric school bus. Paula Thompson and Dan Trajano of MN350 talked about the climate, health, and learning benefits of transporting children to school via electric buses rather than diesel buses. To transition the conversation to action, attendees were encouraged to send postcards to their local representatives and school districts. Forty postcards were completed!

A local hardware store, Jerry’s Do It Best Hardware, demonstrated and invited locals to try out electric lawn tools. Don Pinkton and Daryl Thayer took apart a Tesla motor to show people the “guts” of EVs and how they work. Kylie Borchardt led children in building KidWind model wind turbines. 

Rep. Steve Elkins, District 50B member of the MN Legislative Climate Caucus, attended and learned about charging for multi-family dwellings, which he took back to his subcommittee.   

Six non-profits and two government agencies tabled at the event, including MN350, Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light, Interfaith Creation Care, Bush Lake Izaak Walton Chapter, EZ EV Go, and Oak Grove Presbyterian Green Committee, City of Bloomington, and Minnesota Department of Transportation. 

Photo Credit: Minnesota Clean Cities Coalition
EV owner, Alan Wernke, shares his EV experience with attendees, including Scott Randall (pictured).

Comox, British Colombia, Canada

  • Event lead – Randy Chatterjee
  • # of EVs on display at the event – 22
  • # of event attendees – 400
  • # of rides/drives given – 72

Event organizers offered a wonderful report capturing how it truly “takes a village” to put together any event, but especially one that reaches hundreds of people. We feel their words showcase the event best, so we’ll let them tell you how it went:

“A grand ol’ time was had by all. No rain! It might have been a bit chilly to wear our new CVEVA T-shirts on their own, but the sun came out for a good part of the day. Our estimates for attendance were around 400 – not a bad turnout for a gray day with a forecast of rain. We are appreciative that the Comox Record ran our press release in their edition just before the weekend. Local papers are the lifeblood of the community! 

We had a wide range of speakers on all EV (including e-bike) topics. Thanks to Roger Harper, Mike Keohane, John Fruhwirth, Eric Alexandre, Rob MacInnis, Dale Erhart, and Randy Chatterjee for sharing what they know.  

Volunteers and a few others shared an incredible food and drink bounty brought by Megan Ardyche. That kept us all warm.  

Special kudos to Ted Robb for being the very first volunteer on site, to Linda Cheu for her ever-present enthusiasm and smile, to Pat Carl for keeping us all on topic during our 6-month preparations for this event and for applying to Comox for the space and securing ‘the keys to the kingdom,’ and to the Town of Comox for sharing their kingdom.

The real draw was Amped Rides, Black’s Cycle, and Brian McLean Chevrolet offering test rides and drives. Thanks also to Michael Stanyer of Emotive for managing the test drives.

Finally, for those who shined up their cars and showed them off, this display was really what shows off the future of a greener planet.”

BONUS “C” Event – Cookeville, Tennessee 

  • Event lead – Maxavier Lamantia
  • # of EVs on display at the event – 10
  • # of event attendees – 30
  • # of rides/drives given – 4

This event at Tennesse Tech may seem to be small in size, but the potential for impact that even the smallest events has was evident. In addition to chatting up locals, event organizers and volunteers had the pleasure of being visited by a past test drive participant. The past participant came by to talk about their recent EV purchase. Maxavier sums it up perfectly by sharing, “We’re always happy to see our positive impact on our community!”

To learn the essentials about National Drive Electric Week, please visit

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