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Drive electric week coming to SLO next Saturday 

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‘Ride and Drive’ event at the Madonna Inn on Saturday, Oct. 2

–Local community members can enjoy several National Drive Electric Week events in San Luis Obispo starting next Saturday, including virtual events, a special Farmers’ Market showcase, and a “Ride and Drive” event at the Madonna Inn.

From Sept. 25 to Oct. 3, 2021, National Drive Electric Week raises awareness of the many benefits of all-electric and plug-in hybrid cars, trucks, bikes, and more.

The local events during National Drive Electric Week are presented by SLO Climate Coalition, Central Coast Clean Cities Coalition, SLO County Air Pollution Control District, and Community Environmental Council. These events include:

● an online panel of experts on Saturday, Sept. 25 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
● an Electric Vehicles (EV) 101 webinar on Tuesday, Sept. 28 from 7 to 8 p.m.
● an “Electrify Your Life” showcase on Morro Street at Downtown SLO Farmers Market on Thursday, Sept. 30 from 6 to 9 p.m.
● an EV “Ride and Drive” at the Madonna Inn on Saturday, Oct. 2 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“I leased my first EV in 2013, bought it at the end of the lease, and have been driving EVs ever since,” said Barry Rands, Green Transportation Specialist with the SLO Climate Coalition and coordinator of Drive Electric Week in SLO. “I first got into driving electric out of a desire to reduce carbon emissions, but I soon discovered that there are so many other great reasons to drive an EV. They are fun, inexpensive to operate, almost maintenance-free, and always ready to go when I am. I’m pleased to see that the EV trend is catching on and am eager to help others to start driving electric.”

Local event organizers are pleased to see the popularity of EVs increasing each year as they represent the future of clean, pollution-free driving. Organizers say public interest is growing across geography and income levels. In-person and online events will take place during that week across the nation.

The local in-person events will be staged outdoors with COVID safety measures implemented.

“Central Coast Community Energy is proud to continue incentivizing not just electric vehicles but EV charging stations too, for both homes and workplaces, as well as public access,” said Shelly Whitworth, Central Coast Community Energy Spokesperson. “Ultimately, we’re providing bigger rebates and more solutions to the barriers that slow EV adoption. We’re also addressing equity in electrification by targeting disadvantaged communities for charger opportunities and doubling our incentives for income-qualified customers. Locally, we’re improving Central Coast air quality and we’re also contributing to California’s goal for 5 million EVs on the road by 2030. We want our customers to know that EVs are more accessible than ever – for everyone.”

City Council Member Jan Marx shared her support for the event. “The City of San Luis Obispo is proud to join with the SLO Climate Coalition and its partners in promoting local National Drive Electric Week events in town,” Council Member Jan Marx said. “The city council will be issuing a formal proclamation at our September 21 meeting declaring September 25 to October 3 as Drive Electric Week in SLO. Events like these will help us achieve one of our Climate Action Plan goals: 40% of vehicle miles traveled in the city be by electric vehicles. I purchased an electric vehicle myself last year and love it! I hope the citizens of SLO take the opportunity to test drive an electric car or e-bike at the October 2 event at Madonna Inn. I’m sure they will want an EV, too!”

City of San Luis Obispo Sustainability Manager Chris Read appreciates the way driving electric complements other ways the city is reaching the community’s climate action goals. “The city’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2035 is one of the most ambitious in the nation,” Read said. “To achieve that goal, we are creating roadways and communities that allow folks to walk, bike, and bus around town. As we transition our bus fleet to all-electric vehicles, we know many people will still choose to drive their own vehicles, and all-electric vehicles are a great way to go. Paired with our increasingly clean electricity grid, electric vehicles are much cleaner than gas vehicles, have very low maintenance costs, and are fun to drive!”

SLO County APCD’s Planning Manager Andy Mutziger adds, “In partnership with the California Energy Commission, SLO Council of Governments, Central Coast Community Energy, and partners in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, we were please to recently bring $12M to the Central Coast with $2.3M for San Luis Obispo County to expand our EV charger network through the CALeVIP program. This grant program will install an estimated 34 DC fast chargers and 150 Level 2 chargers in SLO County to help meet the anticipated public and business EV charging needs by the year 2025.”

Local event sponsors include Citizens’ Climate Lobby, ECOSLO, Electrify America, Sierra Club Santa Lucia Chapter, Cal Poly, SLO Bicycle Club, City of San Luis Obispo, Central Coast Community Energy, Madonna Inn, and PG&E.

National sponsors are Nissan LEAF, Wells Fargo, Plug In America, Electric Auto Association, The Sierra Club, and EV Hybrid Noire.

For more detail and to register for these events, go to www.sloclimatecoalition.org/NDEW2021

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The news staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote or edited this story from local contributors and press releases. The news staff can be reached at info@pasoroblesdailynews.com.