A few months ago, the average price for a gallon of gasoline in California exceeded $6. But users of electric vehicles hardly noticed.
“We’ve always said to people that gas is tied to global markets. Electricity is not. So there’s more fluctuation for pricing within gas,” says Sabrina Delk, the electric vehicle program specialist at Ecology Action.
The local nonprofit has organized electric vehicle outreach events for 13 years. On Sunday, Oct. 2, Ecology Action will host its seventh annual Electric Vehicle Ride and Drive event at the Salinas Amtrak station as part of National Drive Electric Week.
The event encourages people to test drive electric vehicles and talk with EV owners about the pros and cons. It also includes e-bike test rides and exhibitors from environmentally-focused organizations.
“We’re not salespeople. We’re just EV educators,” says Delk. Many of the volunteers and staff own electric vehicles and are there to talk about both the benefits and the challenges of ownership.
“The technology has greatly improved,” says Delk. “The average car can go like 230 miles on an electric charge now.”
And although gas stations still far outweigh electric charging stations, Delk says things are improving.
“Infrastructure is a high priority for not just local and state governments, but federally,” she says.
Last month, the California Air Resources Board approved the Advanced Clean Cars II proposal, which mandates that all new passenger vehicles sold in 2035 and after be zero emissions.
Ecology Action wants to help people of all income levels make that transition. Their website evsforeveryone.org connects interested buyers to advisors who are knowledgeable about grants and rebate programs.
At the Ride and Drive event, visitors can test drive several electric vehicle models, including the new Ford F-150 Lightning, the Volkswagen ID.4 and the Nissan Ariya.
Delk expects a large turnout for the event.
“Last year, we had 300 people that attended this event, and I’m thinking we’re going to have at least 500 people at this year’s event,” she says. “We’re getting so much more interest than ever, and I think it’s because there is an awakening about what’s happening in the environment and how greenhouse gas emissions are a culprit.”
The 7th annual Electric Vehicle Ride and Drive Event happens Sunday, Oct. 2, 11am-4pm at Salinas Amtrak Station, 11 Station Place, Salinas. evsforeveryone.org.