On National Plug-In Day, taking place Sunday, electric vehicle drivers, technology enthusiasts and local residents interested in going green and saving money are invited to attend a local gathering from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Goleta Farmers Market at Camino Real Marketplace.
The event is hosted by the Community Environmental Council and will celebrate the environmental benefits and cost-savings of electric cars and is one of almost 100 similar events across the country.
Eight models of customer-owned electric vehicles will be displayed, highlighting the many options drivers now have to trade burning gasoline for plugging in to clean, domestic electricity. Options range from affordable cars that achieve over 115 mpg equivalent and start under $19,000 (after state and federal incentives) like the Chevy Spark EV and Nissan LEAF, to the high performance, much talked about Tesla Model S (made in California).
Local car dealers will provide test drives for the Chevrolet Volt and Spark EV, the Nissan LEAF, the Ford Focus EV, the C-Max Energi, the Fusion Energi and the Toyota Plug-In Prius.
“Electric vehicles are increasingly affordable alternatives to gas cars,” said Michael Chiacos, energy and transportation manager at the Community Environmental Council. “In recent months, one in 35 cars purchased or leased in California plugs in and this plus the massive shift to renewable electricity is how we will break the bonds of fossil fuels that have held us for over a century.”
Additionally, local solar companies and the EV owners will explain how to “drive on sunshine” by adding solar panels to a home rooftop. One such owner includes Tim Foraker of Los Alamos, a financial professional at Edward Jones. Foraker attended a Solarize workshop put on by the Community Environmental Council and the Santa Ynez Valley Alliance in April, and after learning about the discounted pricing offered through the Solarize Program, he began mapping out his savings in both electrical and gasoline bills.
Here are his calculations:
» Annual savings in PG&E bills — $2,100
» Annual savings in gasoline bills — $2,500
» Total Annual Savings — $4,600
“Our incentive to go solar was purely a financial one," Foraker said. "I calculated that my investment in solar and switching to an EV would pay for itself in less than five years.”
He opted for a three-year lease on an all-electric Ford Fusion, which he helped pay for with the sale of his wife Joy’s Lexus LS 400, which had been costing $2,500 a year in gasoline alone.
Given the warranties and production guarantees of the panels, Foraker sees the decision to go solar as a “risk-free investment — and in this day and age there are no risk-free investments, particularly one with a 20 percent annual return!”
Since going solar, Foraker has been a great advocate for solar power and driving on sunshine, educating his friends and family and referring them to CEC’s Solarize programs. When asked how he feels about “driving on sunshinem” Foraker's inner financial professional shines through. “I am delighted with this investment!”
Treat yourself at CEC’s weekend event in recognition of National Plug-In Day. You can ask questions of Foraker and other local owners about home charging and daily life with an electric car.
CEC joined National Plug-In Day national organizers Plug In America, the Sierra Club and the Electric Auto Association to put on Sunday’s event.
Ride-and-drives and the EV showcase will occur from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Click here to learn more about the event and local electric vehicle efforts. Click here for more information about the Community Environmental Council.
— Candice Tang Nyholt is a publicist representing the Community Environmental Council.