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Santa Barbara Plug-In Day to Celebrate Benefits of Driving Electric

Sunday's event will feature an EV parade, free ride-and-drives and a ribbon-cutting ceremony for new charging stations

By Michael Chiacos for the Community Environmental Council |

Electric vehicle drivers, enthusiasts and local residents interested in new technology will attend Santa Barbara Plug-In Day from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday to celebrate the clean-air benefits and cost savings of electric cars as part of the second annual National Plug-In Day.

The event, hosted by the Community Environmental Council and the City of Santa Barbara — will take place at the Santa Barbara Harbor parking lot, near Los Banos Pool.

Thirty electric vehicles will participate in an EV parade up State Street and will be showcased in a tailgate party, where local EV owners can mingle and attendees can ask questions about the network of public charging stations, the range of the vehicles and other details about the technology.

Local car dealers will provide test drives for the Chevrolet Volt, Nissan LEAF and Toyota Plug in Prius. There will also be a food truck, fun “electric avenue inspired music,” and informational displays.

“Electric vehicles are freeing Americans from the gas pump and volatile gas prices, and the word is getting out that they are more fun to drive,” said Michael Chiacos, transportation manager at the Community Environmental Council. “The Santa Barbara Plug-In Day event features cars that have driven tens of thousands of miles without any oil or gas, saving thousands of dollars, making driving more fun and slashing carbon pollution, air pollution and our dependence on oil.”

The City of Santa Barbara will celebrate the installation of eight public charging stations with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider; Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara; Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District executive officer Dave Van Mullem; and electric vehicle drivers and supporters.

Noting the prevalence of EV technology in the region, Schneider said that “as the birthplace of the modern environmental movement, it only makes sense that the City of Santa Barbara continue to embrace cutting-edge technology that reduces our dependence on fossil fuels. We’re delighted to partner with the automobile industry, who has identified Santa Barbara as one of the early adopters of electric vehicles, and we want to lead by example by demonstrating to our community and elsewhere that we support and encourage the growing electric vehicle movement.”

Santa Barbara’s event is one of more than 60 across the country, where electric vehicle owners and interested citizens from Maui to New York and San Antonio to Ann Arbor will participate in similar gatherings. The Community Environmental Council joined National Plug-In Day national organizers Plug In America, the Sierra Club and the Electric Auto Association to put on this year’s event.

Ride-and-drives and a tailgate party will begin at 11 a.m., a ribbon cutting ceremony at noon, and the EV parade will start at 1 p.m.

Click here for a complete list of Plug-In Day events and event details.

— Michael Chiacos is the transportation manager for the Community Environmental Council.

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