09.26.2018 - by John U'Ren
The importance of National Drive Electric Week

As this year’s National Drive Electric Week (NDEW) comes to a close, we look back on a monumental week where over 300 events across six countries and all 50 states showcased electric cars to the general public.  Taken together, this is the result of months of tireless preparation by not just Plug In America, Sierra Club, and the Electric Auto Association, but by hundreds of city captains and volunteers across the globe.

But why do it? Why do we do NDEW?

To understand why, we have to look to the origins.  National Drive Electric Week started back in 2011 as National Plug In Day, a single-day of events across the country.  NPID was about as grass-roots as it gets; EV early adopters and enthusiasts gathered together in clusters to present their vehicles to an American public that had largely never heard of an electric car, nor ever seen one in the flesh.  These early events were dominated by the then-new Chevrolet Volt and Nissan LEAF, as well as Tesla Roadsters and various electric conversions of formerly ICE-powered vehicles.  It was a bit of an eclectic showing, and while some in the general public were open and receptive to an electric car, many were not.  Still, the events were a concrete demonstration of the presence of electric cars and a platform for ardent supporters to advocate for widespread adoption of EVs.

Fast forward seven years, and this year’s NDEW was a massive marshaling of thousands of electric cars.

EVs lined up in Burlington, VT for NDEW. Photo Credit: Drive Electric Vermont

Hoods up in Charlotte, NC! Photo Credit: Jess Montgomery

This year’s NDEW drove home the point that EVs are rapidly becoming a mainstream alternative to gasoline-powered vehicles.  With almost a million electric cars and counting on America’s roads, EVs are increasingly seen as viable options for “our next car” across the country.  NDEW presents an opportunity for EV-curious individuals to talk directly to EV drivers and really learn what it’s like to own an EV on a daily basis.  Ride and drives at NDEW events allow the EV-curious to experience the thrill of driving electric. These interactions at NDEW events go a step further, and help answer the all-important question of “which EV is right for me?” EVs go from a “maybe” to a “definitely yes” at NDEW events, as the EV-curious are transformed into EV drivers, all within a non-sales environment.

National Drive Electric Week is a yearly reminder to the world that electric cars are here, they’re better, and their numbers are growing; but it’s a yearly reminder from the drivers. NDEW comes together because EV drivers are so passionate about their vehicles that they are willing to put in the overtime to make these events happen.  Even seven years on, NDEW is still grass-roots.  This is important.  We do NDEW because it is important that EV drivers rally together under the flag of Driving Electric.

And we love that “EV grin.”

3 comments on “The importance of National Drive Electric Week”
  1. Daniel Rieke says:

    EV driving has changed our way of thinking about transportation, and it’s a great way to go!

  2. Andre P Nasser says:

    I have an electric Nissan Leaf
    Actually this is my second electric cac
    I love it

  3. Sherry Boschert says:

    Many thanks go to former Plug In America board member Zan Dubin Scott, who hatched the idea and convinced the board of directors to go for it. She and avid EV driver Jeff U’Ren cofounded National Drive Electric Week:
    https://pluginamerica.org/team-member/zan-dubin-scott/

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