Mary Palmer Rosenau showed off her Volkswagen ID.4 SUV at Saturday’s Drive Electric Alabama electric vehicle (EV) showcase at The Market at Pepper Place.
It’s the third time Rosenau has participated in a recent Drive Electric Alabama EV showcase, having also been part of one in Auburn on Sept. 22 and in Mobile three days later, before arriving in Birmingham on Saturday. At all three events, which were part of the National Drive Electric Week (NDEW) initiative, Rosenau talked one-on-one with people seeking information about EVs.
“People think driving electric is going to be this giant to-do and this giant change in their lives and, really and truly, it’s not,” she said.
Drive Electric Alabama sponsored four EV showcases in the last eight days to commemorate NDEW, including events in Birmingham and Huntsville on Saturday.
“Just the ride in general is so smooth and quiet, and it’s very fun to have that burst of power that you get with an EV,” she said. “You don’t get that engine hum so much, but you do get an instant burst of power. That makes it a very fun driving experience. It’s very comfy on long road trips.”
Testimonials from Rosenau and other EV owners help people separate fact from fiction, and the showcases also allow people to see the variety of EVs, from small hatchbacks to full-sized pick-up trucks, on the market.
“A majority of Alabamians have never sat inside an EV, much less driven one,” said Michael Staley, president of the Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition, which helped plan the four EV showcases. “It’s always refreshing to talk to EV owners, because they’re clearly the best source of information about EVs and how they help save money and provide the same functionality as gas-powered vehicles.
“More and more motorists are going electric,” he continued, “and it’s critical for Alabamians to have clear and accurate information about these all-electric cars and trucks. That’s why these EV showcases are so important. The one-on-one conversations help dispel myths and promote healthy dialogue.”
Americans are embracing EVs more than ever, with nearly 300,000 all-electric vehicles sold in the U.S. in the second quarter of 2023. Not only is that a record, but it represents a 48.4 percent increase when compared to the second quarter of 2022.
Alabama’s NDEW EVents continue strong momentum for EVs. In August, the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) announced its third round of state grants to fund construction of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, totaling $1.2 million. That’s in addition to previous rounds of grant funding totaling $4.1 million in 2021 and another $2.45 million in 2022 to construct EV charging stations within Alabama’s borders.
Blake Hardwich, executive director of the Energy Institute of Alabama, pointed out that private companies are also stepping forward to help make at-home charging cheaper and more convenient. According to Hardwich, Alabama Power, like other utilities, offers an overnight charging discount for EV owners. This allows consumers with an EV to save on electricity costs from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. The company also offers a $500 rebate for EV owners who install a Level 2 charger at their home.
“It’s been great to have these EVents in cities across our state for consumers to learn firsthand whether driving electric makes sense to them,” Hardwich said. “EV owners consistently report savings on fuel and maintenance costs, and the state is making positive strides in adding more public charging stations. Add in the programs being offered our state’s utility companies, and it’s easy to see why more and more Alabamians are considering going electric.”