Drive Electric Alabama, a statewide EV education and awareness campaign administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA), is hosting five showcase events throughout the state this month where anyone interested can have their questions about EVs answered and take a look at a range of different makes and models of EVs.
“These EV showcases provide a great opportunity for Alabamians interested in EVs to kick the tires, see firsthand the technology featured in these vehicles, and ask EV owners about their experiences with this new generation of vehicles,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. “It’s amazing how far automobiles have come in my lifetime, and it’s significant that, as one of the nation’s top auto manufacturers, many of these advancements are being made right here in Alabama. Most folks on the road have probably noticed that EVs are quickly emerging as a major player in the auto industry, and these events allow Alabamians to learn more about EVs.”
Each of the five EVents will feature real-life EV owners showcasing their car and engaging in 1-on-1 conversations with anyone who wants to know more.
Here’s a look at the five EVents sponsored by local Drive Electric Alabama chapters, with two on April 15 and three more on April 22.
— Wiregrass Drive Electric Alabama Earth Day EVent
When: Saturday, April 15, 8 a.m.-noon
Where: Johnny Henderson Park in Enterprise in conjunction with the Weevil City Cruisers’ 26th Annual Car Show
— Montgomery Area Drive Electric Alabama Earth Day EVent
When: Saturday, April 15, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Where: Central Alabama Electric Cooperative, 103 Samuel Hunt Drive, Prattville
— Birmingham Area Drive Electric Alabama Earth Day EVent
When: Saturday, April 22, 8 a.m.-noon
Where: The Market at Pepper Place, in parking lot near Bettola Restaurant and Jeni’s Ice Cream
— North Alabama Drive Electric Alabama Earth Day EVent
When: Saturday, April 22, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Where: Little River Canyon Center, 4322 Little River Canyon Rim Parkway, Fort Payne
— Bay Area Drive Electric Alabama Earth Day EVent
When: Saturday, April 22, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Where: Mobile Japanese Gardens, 700 Forest Hill Drive, Mobile
“Electric vehicles are in the news all the time, and it can sometimes be confusing to separate myth from reality,” said Michael Staley, President of the Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition. “That’s why most Alabamians trust EV owners for honest and candid information. These are people who are using EVs to commute to work every day, get their kids to practice and maybe even take it on a family vacation.
“That’s precisely why these EVents are so powerful. It gives people the chance to learn more in a low-pressure environment.”
Virtually every major automobile manufacturer has committed to building EVs, including Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai, right here in Alabama.
ADECA has awarded grants totaling $4.1 million in 2021 and another $2.45 million in 2022 to build EV charging stations throughout the state. Applications for this year’s program just opened, with a May 22 application deadline.
On the federal level, applications can now be submitted for a new grant program, which funds EV charging and alternative-fueling infrastructure. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s new Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) Discretionary Grant Program will provide $2.5 billion over five years, with this round of funding accounting for $700 million for projects that will be “publicly accessible.” Applications are due by May 30, 2023.
“Anyone who is considering an EV for their next car purchase, or just wants to learn more about EVs in general, should attend one of the EVents this month,” Staley said.
All five EVents in Alabama are part of the national Drive Electric Earth Day program, which is designed to share information about electric vehicles to alert potential EV owners about the vehicles cost, range, performance and other factors unique to EVs.