Drive Electric? Why not?

September 12-20 is 2015 National Drive Electric Week.

National Drive Electric Week

It’s also Drive Electric Week in Kalamazoo!

Ben Brown and St. Greggory.

Ben Brown and Gregg – click to enlarge

Ben Brown, student, teacher, singer, musician, says drive electric

Ben Brown – student, teacher, singer, musician.

Sierra Club is one of the national co-sponsors of Drive Electric Week.

The Southwest Michigan Group has scheduled several events to help convince our neighbors that the choice to drive electric is a smart one – for you and for the environment.

SWMG member Ben Brown owns a three-year-old Mitsubishi i-MiEV. He’s named it Gregg, short for Grey Egg. He often refers to Gregg as Saint Gregory, in honor of Pope Gregory’s emphasis on alms for the poor and his leadership in developing the idea of budgeting and his belief that wise use of resources can create bounty and address true needs.

St. Gregory also happens to be the patron saint of students, teachers, singers, and musicians. Since Ben and Gregg became friends about six months ago, Gregg has inspired Ben to learn all he can about the electric car, teach others, and sing its praises. In return, with his back seat folded down, Gregg carries Ben and his harp to practices and performances.

About his decision to drive electric, Ben says:

I had been working on making an electric car happen in my life since personally experiencing the EV-1. I made a commitment over a year ago to do oil-free transportation and stop waiting for perfection to happen. I didn’t have the funds or time yet to have my own personal vehicle, so I car-shared an electric car. Having real-world experience with that electric car dissolved any reasons I had for not making my own happen. I found an electric car within my simple income and here I am.

Ben has been busy setting up SWMG’s involvement in Kalamazoo Drive Electric Week. We have our own page on the National Drive Electric Website, and Ben keeps it updated as he develops the week’s events.

Here’s what Ben has planned for us so far:

Two screenings, with Q&A sessions afterward, of the movie “Who Killed the Electric Car?”

“Who Killed the Electric Car” won the 2006 Mountain Film Special Jury Prize, the Canberra International Film Festival Audience Award, the Environmental Media Award for Best Documentary of 2006, Writers Guild of America Best Documentary Award, and the 2007 Broadcast Film Critics Association award for Best Documentary Feature. The movie explains how a formidable team of opponents hindered electric car technology in the mid-90s. It stars Martin Sheen, Tom Hanks, and Mel Gibson.

  • The Kalamazoo Public Library is generously supporting National Drive Electric Week in Kalamazoo with a screening of “Who Killed the Electric Car” at 7:00 PM Wednesday, September 9, in the Van Deusen Room of the Kalamazoo Public Library, 315 Rose Street.
  • Kalamazoo College is serving as Kalamazoo Ambassador for National Drive Electric Week with a showing of “Who Killed the Electric Car” at 11:30 AM Tuesday, September 15, at Recital Hall, Light Fine Arts Building, 1200 Academy Street.

People’s Food Co-op 100-mile Market has generously agreed to host the Kalamazoo Ride & Drive Electric Vehicle Demonstration.

Huge fuel savings when you drive electric.Wednesday, September 16, at 3:30 PM, be at the People’s Food Co-op 100-Mile Market, 507 Harrison Street, to get yourself educated. As Ben says, “Electric cars are: available, affordable, sensible… and freaking fun!!!” He and other electric car owners will convince you to drive electric.

  • Get the real scoop:  Talk to Kalamazoo area owners about their actual electric vehicle experience.
  • Sign up at the 100 Mile Market to ride and/or drive electric cars during the event and get your ‘EV Grin On!’
  • Renewable energy charging demonstrations, displays and vendors.
  • See local electric vehicle models and speak with area dealers.
  • Be present at the first area awards recognizing local leaders in sustainable electric transportation.
  • Plus: Prizes, Gifts and more…

Driving around in a machine powered by an internal combustion engine is so twentieth century. Why not drive electric?

BMW i3

BMW i3 – click to enlarge

Wouldn’t it be nice to plug your car in at night, unplug it in the morning, and never visit a gas station?

Would it be okay with you if you could stop trying to time your fill-ups to fit the almost daily gasoline price changes?

What would it be like if you never needed to replace your muffler or your catalytic converter because you don’t even have an exhaust system?

Would it be okay with you if you never needed an oil change? Or new spark plugs? Or transmission fluid?

But electric cars are so expensive! Who can afford to drive electric?

Tesla S

Tesla S – click to enlarge

All cars are expensive. If you want an Escalade-style electric car, it’ll  have an Escalade-style price tag. If something more like a Camry is fine with you, you can get an electric car with a Camry-like price tag. Either way, you’ll save big on fuel and maintenance.

And you don’t have to get a new one. A five-year-old electric is comparably priced to a similar five-year-old gas burner.

But electric cars are so slow!

No, electric golf carts are slow. Just as with gas burners, it depends on the model. Some can go 155 mph! Most have quicker 0-60 acceleration than comparable gas burners. As with a gas burner, there’s more than enough passing power whenever you want it.

But they don’t go very far. And it’s not like you can just pull into a gas station for a fill-up and get back on the road.

It's convenient to drive electric.

Kalamazoo area charging stations – click to enlarge

At the low-range end, an electric car can go about 50-70 miles on a charge – more than most people drive in a day. Some can go more than 250 miles between charge-ups.

And yes, you can pull into a charging station and get back on the road. They’re all over the place these days. Some people even have their own chargers and they share with their neighbors. You could plug into a grocery store’s or a restaurant’s charger and go have lunch or do your shopping. Businesses are starting to get smart about that these days. At some charging stations, you can take your battery from almost dead to fully charged in about 15 minutes.

The key is knowing where the chargers are, whether they’re fast or slow, and timing your errands so you’ve got something to do if charging is going to take a while. It’s not all that difficult.

But here’s another important point, not even mentioned above: When you drive electric, you create ZERO TAILPIPE EMISSIONS!

Please join us for our Drive Electric Week festivities.

Learn how easy, fun, and affordable it is to drive electric – and it’s environmentally smart!