Real life experiences with EVs are spreading

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Over the weekend I showed off my 2000 Ford Ranger all-electric pick-up truck in an “EV Expo” in Sebastopol, an exhibit of about twenty-five electric vehicles along with their owners. The EVs ran the gamut, all the way from a funky 1925 converted pick-up truck to a $100K Tesla Roadster. And yes – many practical options like the Nissan Leaf and Toyota Rav4 for the average driver.

The idea of an Expo is to make these vehicles available for inspection at a community event without sales pressure and with the owners there to describe their experience in buying, owning, driving, charging, and maintaining the vehicles. It worked. I could see people’s attitudes changing as they were able to touch the vehicles and hear stories.

It turns out that even where several similar EVs were lined up, the stories from their owners varied markedly. Prices, range, and charging times vary, largely dependent on the exact type of vehicle and the driving habits of the owners. Having these real life stories is essential for people to understand and trust EV technology. What all of the owners had in common was that they very much enjoy owning and driving their EVs.

Sonoma Clean Power was on the scene to make the connection between electric vehicles and the emerging opportunity to plug into cleaner power. With Sonoma Clean Power set to launch in May of 2014, EV owners in its service territory will be able to plug into power that is 60% cleaner than the existing power supply, and many people will find it easier to go solar. Integrating these two emerging transformative realities may be the key to rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector – 40% of the total carbon emissions pie in California.

   – Woody Hastings

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