Events at O’Bleness Hospital and Ohio Pawpaw Festival to highlight electric driving

In the world of electric vehicle (EV) advocacy, organizers know that the best way to excite people about the advent of electric transportation is to get potential drivers behind the wheel. Two events in Athens County, Ohio, will highlight the benefits of EVs as part of National Drive Electric Week (NDEW), September 8-16, 2018, a nationwide celebration to heighten awareness of today and tomorrow’s widespread availability of plug-in vehicles – from cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles and more. 

As noted by NDEW organizers and EV advocates worldwide, EVs are touted as fun, practical, less expensive and, if some cases, more convenient to fuel than gasoline vehicles, also referred to as internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. Research continues to show that EVs are better for the environment, promote local jobs, and reduce our nationwide dependence on foreign oil. EV events in Athens County:

  • Community EV Ride & Drive – Wednesday, September 12, 2018 from 11am–2 pm – O’Bleness Hospital, 55 Hospital Dr, Athens, OH 45701 – The local “EV Cruisers” electric car club members will provide their personal EVs, offering test drives and resources about EV ownership. 
  • EV Showcase at the Ohio Pawpaw Festival – Saturday, September 15, 2018 from 10 am–5pm – Lake Snowden, 5900 US-50, Albany, OH 45710 – Attendees (must purchase entrance ticket) will explore, feel, and experience the latest and greatest EVs on display in the UpGrade Energy Village at the Ohio Pawpaw Festival. The UpGrade Energy Village aims to help attendees access resources and make considerations about energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean transportation. 

Organizers of National Drive Electric Week events in Athens County, Ohio include: UpGrade Ohio, OhioHealth/O’Bleness Hospital, and EV Cruisers electric car club members and advocates.

National Drive Electric Week events in Athens County, Ohio, are supported by the Midwest Electric Vehicle Opportunities: Learning, eVents, Experience (EVOLVE) project, a partnership between the American Lung Association and eight Midwestern Clean Cities coalitions in seven states. The purpose of the project is to educate consumers, as well as public and private fleets, about the performance and environmental advantages of electric vehicles. 

The Institute of Local Self-Reliance reports that electric vehicles can crucially expand the opportunity and capacity for local energy production and resiliency. For example, communities can creatively deploy more distributed renewable energy resources, such as public solar installations, utilizing that power during the workday or at home to power vehicles. This strategy can circulate more dollars spent on electric utility bills locally that would otherwise be spent on gasoline and other fuels at fueling stations owned by large, corporate fossil fuel companies.  

Electric distribution utilities, such as AEP Ohio, which serves the greater Athens County area, could finance private chargers, invest in public charging networks based on future revenue from sales of electricity, and implement inclusive, tariff-based on-bill financing for distributed energy resources including electric vehicles, battery back-up storage, on-site renewable energy generation, and energy-smart appliances. 

Communities could institute Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing and grant programs for electric vehicle charging hardware and lead by example by electrifying fleet vehicles and providing public access to fleet charging stations. Adoption of EVs in rural and urban communities alike, including electrified car-sharing and transit systems, will provide widespread health and environmental benefits.

As a large, new source of electricity demand, electric vehicles can cut transportation-related pollution and give grid managers unprecedented ability to make the electricity system more efficient. EVs bring a host of challenges and barriers in being integrated in today’s current electric system, but careful planning and awareness-building efforts can ensure EVs are an important resource of tomorrow’s electric grid.