Thursday, October 3, 2013

Sierra Club Helps Organize Successful National Plug In Day Events Across Florida

For the second year in a row, Sierra Club helped organize National Plug In Day events around Florida.  The events, which took place September 28-29, are part of a coast-to-coast national celebration involving 98 cities across the U.S. and organized nationally by the Sierra Club, Plug In America, and the Electric Auto Association. Together these events aim to draw global attention to the environmental and economic benefits of zero emission plug in electric vehicles.

Nigel Mould talks to attendees about his Tesla Roadster at the
Sarasota event (Herald-Tribune staff photo, Gallery)
National Plug In Day is just one way that Sierra Club Florida is educating the public about the environmental benefits of electric vehicles.  These events are a way to introduce the EVs to hundreds of people in just a few short hours.  In Sarasota, the event was hosted by Mote Marine Laboratories and organized in partnership with Sierra Club and the City of Sarasota and Sarasota County.  Attendees had the chance to get behind the wheel of a wide range of electric vehicles, as well as talk directly with dozens of electric vehicle owners.  The consensus seems to be that once people are able to get up close and personal with EVs, they’ll be more likely to purchase a vehicle of their own.  Sarasota event organizers estimated that 550 people attended that event.

The events also aim to highlight the critical connection between renewable energy sources and electric vehicles. Electric vehicles are cleanest cars on the road but they have the ability to be 100% zero emission when solar energy is added to the equation. At the Temple Terrace event, solar panels were on display next to the cars and charging stations to clearly illustrate that powering your car using solar energy is not as far-fetched as it may seem.  You can power your car from 100% solar power by installing just 150-300 square feet of solar panels on your home or office building. So, what are we waiting for? It’s time to ditch our dirty internal combustion engines and drive electric! Orlando’s event incorporated similar renewable energy features, a ride-and-drive opportunity and ended with an EV procession through the streets of downtown Orlando.  Sierra Club Central Florida group volunteer Mary-Slater Linn played a key role in organizing Sierra Club’s participation in Orlando’s event for the second year in a row.

Temple Terrace event organizer Tom Krumreich accepts the
City of Temple Terrace National Plug In Day Proclamation from
Mayor Frank Chillura (photo credit: Bessie Skoures, Gallery)
Temple Terrace event organizer and Sierra Club volunteer leader Thomas Krumreich says: “"I became involved in National Plug In Day because I believe that we need to do everything we can to encourage people to live sustainable and one of the best ways to do that is to drive an electric vehicle. ” This is Tom’s second year organizing National Plug In Day and he set a goal to make the event bigger and better than last year.  He recruited more vendors, more cars, more partners, and more media attention to make this year’s event an outstanding success.  Sierra Club’s Florida Healthy Air Campaign is thankful for Tom’s dedication and his passion for advocating for clean cars and we are not the only one taking notice of Tom’s great work. After watching him in action this year, the Sun Coast Electric Vehicle Association offered Tom the position of Vice President, which he gladly accepted.  Congratulations to Tom Krumreich for a job well done!

From cradle-to-grave, electric vehicles are the cleanest cars on the road, even when taking into consideration the electricity used to fuel them. According to a range of studies, driving an electric vehicle emits 35-65% less carbon dioxide than the emissions from a conventional gasoline-powered car1. Electricity is the only transportation fuel that will only get cleaner over time.  As we retire more coal-fired power plants and bring cleaner sources of power online, we’ll see emissions from electric vehicles drop even further.

Here are a few more reasons to get amped up about electric vehicles, according to the National Plug In Day Website:
  • Fueling your car with electricity is about five times cheaper than fueling with gasoline. It is also much more convenient to plug in at home than to stop by a gas station.
  •  EVs help reduce pollution from conventional vehicles. The U.S. transportation sector is responsible for nearly a third of our nation's carbon pollution, and the cars and light trucks on the road today account for about 20 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions.
  •  EVs that rely fully on electricity have no tail-pipe emissions and, even taking into account the emissions from the electricity produced to charge EVs, these vehicles emit significantly less carbon dioxide on average than conventional vehicles.