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Los Angeles Residents Celebrate National Drive Electric Week at Downtown LA and Watts Events

Los Angeles – Approximately 1,000 Angelenos got a close-up look at next-generation electric vehicle (EV) models and test drove the latest EVs on the market at the seventh annual Los Angeles National Drive Electric Week (NDEW) event today at Los Angeles State Historic Park and the second annual Watts Ride & Drive event in South LA. Representatives from NDEW L.A. lead sponsor Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) along with county, city officials and EV advocate organizations hosted the ride-and-drive events to promote awareness of the accessibility and many benefits of plug-in hybrid-electric cars, trucks, motorcycles, bikes and more. LA residents learned about how EVs can help the environment, lower fuel costs, reduce dependence on petroleum and helping integrate renewable energy into the grid. As a key NDEW event on the West Coast, the festivities demonstrated Los Angeles’ commitment to increase EV use in the city, as outlined in Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Sustainable City pLAn.

“Angelenos place a high value on environmental stewardship, and the enthusiasm for zero emission vehicles reflects our commitment to making L.A.’s air cleaner and transportation more sustainable,” said Lauren Faber O’Connor, Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Los Angeles. “We are the city with America’s largest municipal fleet of pure electric vehicles, most publicly available charging stations, and the first city to roll out an EV car share program designed for disadvantaged communities. National Drive Electric Week is an incredible opportunity to not just envision the future but demonstrate that the future is here.”

The event showcased a wide variety of EV vehicles made available to the public from many different manufacturers. NDEW LA served to demonstrate the affordability and availability of EVs to all residents. Los Angeles has the largest number of EV’s on the road and/or sales.

“Los Angeles’ National Drive Electric Week event served as a signature activity in this year’s nationwide celebration of the availability and benefits of electric cars,” said Plug In America’s Joel Levin. “In the past year, EV sales have risen 37 percent. When a car is easier to maintain, cheaper to fuel and great to drive, no matter what the brand, consumers will respond to the innovation we’re seeing in the EV market.”

LA’s NDEW event took place concurrently with the Watts Electric Car Drive & Ride in South LA. This event was designed to bring EVs to all Los Angeles communities and advocate for more EV charging infrastructure.

“The Watts Electric Car Drive & Ride, focuses on helping the community get into EVs, which are a natural fit for low-income drivers, because they’re cheaper to run, require less maintenance, and in many cases they’re cheaper to buy thanks to generous rebates,” said Kent Minault, Event Captain for the Watts event. “We’re also urging our utility and state agencies to bring our green infrastructure up to the level enjoyed in more prosperous areas.”

LADWP provides rebates of up to $500 to residential customers and $4,000 to commercial customers through its “Charge Up LA!” program. From May 2011 through June 2017, the Department paid over $3.6 million in EV charger rebates for 2,945 chargers under the program.

As EV adoption increases, it is important for local utilities to grow the necessary infrastructure to support EV technology.

“LA’s National Drive Electric event is the perfect opportunity to help expand awareness of electric vehicles and how they will play a vital role in helping integrate renewable energy into the power grid,” said Marvin Moon, LADWP Director of Power Engineering. “Our goal is to build confidence among EV drivers so they can travel farther without fear of running out of power through our EV charger rebate programs and public charger initiatives.”

LADWP has helped install over 319 publicly accessible chargers at various locations throughout the city to support EV infrastructure. Locations include areas at LA Department of Transportation, LAPD and LA Public Library facilities as well as LAX. These increases will dramatically shift public perception on the viability of EVs and the city’s support for charging infrastructure.

The event also informed LA residents about other county/city initiatives to increase zero emission vehicles in the Southern California region to help create a cleaner environment and spur green job growth.

“As a Los Angeles County Supervisor and a Board member of both the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and the South Coast Air Quality Management District, I’m committed to bringing cleaner power and greener transportation to our region,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “As one example, I’m proud that the Metro Board has adopted a policy to convert Metro’s entire fleet of 2,200 buses to zero-emission vehicles by 2030. This demonstrates leadership on combating climate change, and creates the opportunity to establish career paths in clean energy technologies that enhance mobility and sustain a healthier environment.”

 

LA NDEWS Event highlights included:

  • Test drives or rides in a wide array of vehicles, including the BMW i3, BMW X5 xDrive40e iPerformance and BMW 530e xDrive iPerformance: Chevrolet Bolt and Chevrolet Volt; Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid; Ford 2017 Fusion Energi, Ford 2017 CMAX Energi and Ford 2017 Focus Electric; Volkswagen 2017 e-Golf; Bluecar Phase 3 model (from BlueLA); and Tesla Model S and Model X (ride-alongs)
  • One of the first public appearances of the next-generation Nissan LEAF, 10 days after its global reveal
  • Displays of Audi’s 2017 A3 e-tron and BMW’s i8
  • An EV Tailgate Community featuring dozens of EV owners
  • Information on BlueLA, an all-electric car sharing servicecoming to Los Angeles. Users will have access to a network of shared EVs at self-service locations throughout central L.A.
  • The latest on charging station options, EV federal and state incentives and solar power from more than a dozen exhibitors

 

For more information on LADWP’s “Charge Up LA!” program, please visit: www.ladwp.com/EV

NDEW National presenters: Plug In America, Sierra Club and Electric Auto Association.

Additional Los Angeles event sponsors: Southern California Edison, Greenlots, Audi, Center for Sustainable Energy, Southern California Ford Dealers, Chrysler, BMWi, Chevrolet and Volkswagen.

Local supporters: The Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, BlueLA and Los Angeles Department of Transportation.

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