September 8-15 is National Drive Electric Week – Test an electric vehicle at America’s Car Museum

By Morf Morford
Tacoma Daily Index

In case you were wondering, electric cars are mainstream now. Virtually every auto company currently has a production electric model on the market. Even more are in the planning stages.

Some are hybrids – running on a combination of standard gasoline and electricity – while some are absolutely fossil-fuel free.

For five years now, the town of Steilacoom has hosted National Drive Electric Week (NDEW). The 2018  event on September 8 featured 123 vehicles, 32 different vehicle models.

Some names were familiar, like Ford, Chevrolet and Chrysler, some were names you would expect to see at an electric vehicle event – like Tesla – but what struck me was the broad representation of auto makers from Honda and Toyota to Kia and BMW among many others. (1*)

The prospect of owning an electric car can be daunting. Where does one get a reliable source of electricity? How much does it cost? And how often does one need to charge the car?

One electric car owner told me that when he travels, and stays at a hotel, he finds one that has a charging system. Most do now, and most are free.

You can see a map of current and proposed charging charging stations here – https://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Funding/Partners/EVIB.htm.

WSDOT will install a total of 15 new charging locations near highway exits about 40 miles apart along I-5, I-90, and I-82/US-395/I-182.

To get a sense of what it is like to own and operate an electric car, I recommend this blog (https://daveinolywa.blogspot.com/2018/09/august-2018-drive-report-what-long-hot.html). The author has been an electric car owner since 2007. 

Besides cars, there were also motorcycles and bicycles. And a new Pierce County Transit all-electric bus. (2*)

It looks like electric cars are here. This Tesla and all-electric bus just might be the future of transportation. Photo: Morf Morford

It looks like electric cars are here. This Tesla and all-electric bus just might be the future of transportation. Photo: Morf Morford

The cars on display went far beyond your mother’s Prius. You could see vans, trucks and cars that defied your expectations in terms of speed, power (as in towing capacity) and endurance (as in “range anxiety”).

One model of the Tesla on display was a pretty much standard sized car, but it held three rows of seats. It could easily hold six people – or in another configuration (with three seats in the middle row) seven people – and it had a good sized trunk.

LeMay – America’s Car Museum in Tacoma will  set up a fast-charging system for Washington’s almost 28,000 electric vehicle owners.

With historic vehicles dating back to early electric powered cars, LeMay – America’s Car Museum is bringing in a new generation of electric vehicles as it unveils the newest fast-charging station at the museum’s entrance. A 1911 Baker Electric vehicle that could travel 100 miles on one charge will also be on display.

September 8-15 is National Drive Electric Week, and LeMay-America’s Car Museum (ACM) wants to help you experience it first hand.

The museum, with Puget Sound Energy and Tacoma Power, will offer the chance to test drive electric cars and bikes on display outside the museum at 2702 E. D St. in Tacoma. Dealers will be at the event to answer questions about buying or leasing an electric vehicle.

The event will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. September 15.

The test drives are free, but you must be at least 21 and have a current driver’s license and insurance card. Participants also receive car museum discount coupons on request.

If you miss these events, on the local front, you can contact the Pierce County Electric Vehicle Information Exchange (they have a Facebook page) for further information and upcoming events.

 

(1*)    You can see a full list of 2018 participants here – https://driveelectricweek.org/event.php?eventid=1202. I did not see a Mercedes there, but they have entered the market with a model to challenge Tesla – https://uk-mobile-reuters-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/uk.mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUKKCN1LJ17D.

(2*)    Pierce Transit will have three all-electric buses which will begin their routes in mid-October. These buses will have zero emissions, replace aging diesel buses, meet “Buy America” standards, have thirty percent fewer parts and far lower maintenance costs.