National Drive Electric Week
White River Junction, VT
Sep 14, 2019
|Day:||Saturday, September 14, 2019 NOTE: this event has already happened, find current-year events on the Attend page.|
|Location:||White River Junction, VT
Our 5th Upper Valley Electric Vehicle Expo had a slow start under overcast skies and a few light rain showers, but after an hour people started to visit and the Expo ended up as probably the largest NDEW event in New England again. There is a huge interest in EVs in our region, and this event helps to fill a strong need for more information.
Many EV owners (53 car owners signed up, plus several drop ins) made up the largest part of the event, and additional outreach was provided by presentations from state agencies, equipment and solar vendor displays, and ebike and car dealer demos. (Our event is a stand alone EV event that isn't connected to another existing event.)
The presentations included an overall view of EVs by Dave Roberts of Drive Electric Vermont, followed by a summary of New Hampshire and Federal programs by Tim White of New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. Then Jenn Cortez of our Green Mountain Power utility explained their programs and incentives. After a short break for sponsor introductions, we finished up the afternoon with an electric bike workshop based on a presentation from Vermont bike advocacy group Local Motion, with hands on demos outside at the bike tents.
A special announcement was made about the upcoming Upper Valley electric bus pilot. Advance Transit has been awarded a $3 million federal grant for 3 to 4 Gillig electric buses and charging equipment, and this was announced in statements from the 3 program partners AT, VEIC and GMP. This pilot is important because it will be in a colder and more rural part of New England.
We have been both delighted to see several other NDEW events show up in our region this year, and also wondering how they would impact attendance at our event and our planning. Because our organizing committee is made up of members of town energy committees and the Sierra Club Upper Valley Group, we are accustomed to having a table with sign in sheets, and here are the results:
-Of the 351 people that registered on our NDEW website, 178 signed in at the event (51%)
-We had a second sign in sheet for walk ins, with an additional 249 attendees
-We estimate that between 50 to 100 people also attended that did not sign in (families, or walking in from overflow parking)
Using an estimate of 75 people who didn't sign in, this is a total of 502 attendees. This is slightly smaller than our 2017 event of about 500 to 550 attendees. This could be from either other events or the weather. All I can say is that King Arthur Flour donated 400 boxes of Double Chocolate Cookie mix to hand out at our event, and they are gone.
One of the new EV events this year was the “BiState Connector” a few miles away and a week later. This was aimed at business vehicles and fleet owners, and is part of a Federal program administered by both Vermont and New Hampshire Clean Cities Coalitions. We tried to facilitate each other's events during our planning. While the Connector did include non electric “clean fuel” vehicles, we shared many of the same vendors. They expected 100 to 150 attendees.
Our Upper Valley solar electric companies have done a super job of making available solar packages designed for charging EVs, and along with a Sierra Club Clean Transportation information table, filled up our inside display area (except for one solar vendor who had a tracker mounted on a trailer and was baking more cookies outside). Besides the food truck, we also baked several hundred cookies ahead of time to hand out, along with coffee and juice.
A big surprise was the electric bike area, which had around 10 to 20 people asking questions the whole time. A local ebike dealer gave test rides, along with a travel company specializing in eBike tours. The Community Ebike Tent had a dozen DIY bikes in commuter, mountain, folding, trike, recumbent, and cargo frame styles, using both bottom bracket and hub motors, as well as a special guest Twike two person enclosed bike. Several non profit organizations in our area (including two at the event) have been trying to put together a program for converting regular bikes to electric drive for low income commuters who don't travel far enough to justify owning a car. The bike owner conversations were definitely more engaged and wide ranging than the conversations in the EV car area.
There are dozens of people and organizations to thank for pulling together an event this large and well rounded, and the NDEW website was also a big plus in our logistics planning. We will be holding our 6th UV EV Expo next year, and because our Upper Valley region is composed of two states, we will be rotating again to our New London, NH location. Hope to see you there!
photo by: Karl Kemnitzer, UV EV Expo committee
There were spots for only 20 EVs at a time and we tried to schedule and rotate the cars. This worked out well as many owners wanted to spend time at the rest of the event. We also had a ride coordinator helping to arrange small groups for test rides.
The event is pending. Please visit the Attend page to find other National Drive Electric Week events.