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Free Electric Car Event Offers Drivers a Look at the Next Wave

Electric cars have long been regarded as the future, and many say the future has arrived. Drivers can form their own opinions at the free National Drive Electric Week Event Saturday at Whole Foods Market (702 Cross Hill Road in Columbia).

Billed as part car show, part science fair, part tailgate party, the third annual event offers a chance to test drive electric vehicles, take a test ride with volunteer drivers, learn about local nonprofits, gather information about electric vehicles, local charging stations and the science behind electric vehicles.

Organizer Alan Buck said he expects this third annual Drive Electric event to be the biggest yet, and to have the most vehicles available to look at and test drive. “All the dealers keep coming out with new cars, so we keep adding to the list,” he said. He also explained why he and others see electric vehicles as a very important innovation.

“Having transportation that’s gasoline fuel in 20 years from now is just not feasible,” he said. “Just the pollution side of it as well, and… it’s a much better driving and ownership experience than a gasoline car, you just don’t want to go back.”

Buck, who drives a Tesla electric car, said his vehicle is “not just an electric car, it’s a really good car that happens to be electric. When you ride in it…and you see some of the things that they do, it is just very well thought out. and it’s just a generation ahead of what else is out there, in my opinion.”

Those who attend Saturday’s event can talk not only to dealers about electric vehicles, but also to those who already own one. “They can talk to owners who actually have the car and have lived with it,” Buck said. “Some of the owners will give rides in their cars, dealers will allow their cars to be driven, if possible. So it’s really just a chance with no pressure, it’s not a hassle, like going to a car lot, and you can see them all in one place.”

Buck said many drivers will be surprised to learn electric vehicles have economic advantages as well as environmental ones. In addition to savings on the cost of gas, “There’s really no maintenance to it… There’s no oil changes, there’s no radiator flushing, there’s none of that stuff.”

The event will also include free information on how electric vehicles work, how often they need to be charged, and where charging stations are available locally and across the country.

Lunch will also be available for purchase, offered by Whole Foods through their Giving Grill, with all proceeds going to local nonprofits. More information on the National Drive Electric Week Event is available here.

Pictured: The Tesla will be among the vehicles on display Saturday (photo by Allen Wallace).

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