On the road: Electric drive week expands to Victoria, Australia | The Driven
The 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric. Credit: Bridie Schmidt
The 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric. Credit: Bridie Schmidt

September 14 sees the start of the 9th ‘National Drive Electric Week’ in the US, and this year will also see  the first EV Week in Australia, kicking off with ‘Electrikhana’ this Saturday in Victoria.

Begun in 2011, it is a joint venture between the US Electric Auto Association (The EAA is the oldest and largest EV non-profit whose members educate and advocate for rapid electric vehicle adoption in chapters across the U.S. and Canada), Plug In America (another large US non-profit, supporter-driven EV advocacy group) and the Sierra Club (a US environmental organisation with over 3.5 million members) and is well supported by major EV manufacturers and EV product suppliers.

With the 2019 event it has expanded beyond its US and Canada beginnings to spawn an expanding international following.

This year, there are well over 300 registered Drive Electric Week events across the United States, Canada, Belgium, Mexico, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand.

Through test drives, parades, news conferences, and the announcements of new EV policies and programs, Drive Electric Week events demonstrate how EVs are more fun to drive, provide clean air for communities, reduce greenhouse gases, produce jobs, and save consumers money compared to conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.

Drive Electric Week in all its locations is about connecting curious members of the general public with the ‘lived experience’ of EV ownership. To quote the words of the main three groups in the US that created it:

Joel Levin, executive director of Plug In America describes National Drive Electric Week as the opportunity to show “… just how great electric vehicles are by giving visitors the opportunity to talk to real-life EV drivers in their community and find out why most will never go back to a gas car!”

Hieu Le (campaign representative with the Sierra Club’s ‘Clean Transportation for All’ group) says “We desperately need a clean transportation revolution, and there’s nothing more powerful than hearing the experiences of electric vehicle drivers first-hand to help demystify the technology, accelerate mass adoption, and combat climate change.”

Raejean Fellows, President of the Electric Auto Association makes the point that “National Drive Electric Week is that special time when consumers are given the opportunity to get the inside scoop on charging, incentives and how the cars perform directly from the owners who drive electric.  For free. With no pressure to buy”.

Here in Australia, the Australian Electric Vehicle Association (AEVA) has jumped on board this year to create ‘EV Week’, to coincide with the internationalising of National Drive Electric Week.

In Victoria, EV Week kicks off on Saturday 14th with ‘Electrikhana’.  Run at the METEC driver training centre in Melbourne’s outer eastern suburb of Kilsyth, it provides a safe space to test drive EVs and electric bicycles on closed loops of the METEC driver training track. Also at Electrikhana will be displays from EV service providers, plus public information talks on EV issues.

EV Week then continues into Sunday 15th with ‘EV Ambassadors’ provided by the AEVA to many of the Renew Sustainable Houses throughout Australia.

These EV Ambassadors are all EV owners and drivers and will be there to share their EV experiences and answer any questions you may have about EVs and their possibilities.

Sunday 15th also sees the kick-off of the first ‘EV Long Weekend Drive’. This event is designed to showcase what a current day EV can do to provide easy transport for those long weekends away that Australians love.

The EV Long Weekend Tour this year will involve a Hyundai Kona taking on the challenge to circumnavigate Victoria over 7 days. It will finish on Saturday 21st with an EV Drive Day and Parade from Ballarat (via Geelong) to finish at the ECOSS Sun Festival situated in Victoria’s Yarra Valley. (Just to the east of Melbourne).

Route of Victorian ‘EV Long Weekend Tour’.
Route of Victorian ‘EV Long Weekend Tour’.

So for those readers in Victoria through the next week (or for those in other states on Sunday 15th through Sustainable House Day) – EV Week is a great opportunity to get involved in doing more research into EVs without pressure and get your EV questions answered by people who have first-hand experience of EVs.

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