Another successful week of National Drive Electric Week (NDEW) events in Minnesota was wrapped up on September 17. As a partnership of Minnesota electric vehicle (EV) champions, Drive Electric MN served as a communications hub for NDEW 2017 and helped to coordinate the efforts of several of our partners. As a special bonus this year, Twin Cities-based Chinook Book donated over 300 copies of the 2016-17 Chinook Book to distribute at NDEW events.
The events included several fun and engaging ways for people to experience EVs and learn about their benefits. Some highlights of the events are below.
Ramsey Happy Days, September 9
As part of Ramsey Happy Days, our partner Connexus Energy sponsored an EV auto show. Throughout the day, curious folks chatted with Connexus representatives and EV owners who stood proudly by their cars. While conversations ranged from price, to fuel savings, to renewable energy programs, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, the hit of the day was when one owner showed off as he walked down the street playing with his phone, his driverless Tesla following slowly behind him.
St. Paul Energy Fair, September 9 and 10
The Energy Fair featured over 80 exhibitors related to renewable energy and sustainability, which the public could attend for free. EVs were featured in a prominent way through a static display of 26 EVs on both September 9 and 10, a Ride and Drive with various models, and several workshops on EVs. Additionally, a 100% electric New Flyer bus offered free rides to transport people from downtown St. Paul to the fair’s location at Harriet Island.
Elk River EV Charging Station Grand Opening, September 13
Elk River Municipal Utilities (ERMU) unveiled its first EV charging station, located in the downtown parking lot off Main Street, with a ribbon cutting performed by Mayor and ERMU Commissioner John Dietz. Others participating in the ceremony included ERMU General Manager Troy Adams, Representative Nick Zerwas, ERMU’s Tom Sagstetter, and ERMU Commissioner Al Nadeau. Several Tesla Model X’s and S’s were on display as well as a Nissan Leaf, BMW i3, and Chevy Volt. Finally, attendees had an opportunity to test drive EVs provided by Cornerstone Automotive.
EV Display at Eagan Hy-Vee, September 16
To further demonstrate its commitment to providing customers with access to cleaner fuel and other opportunities to be more environmentally friendly with regard to their transportation, Eagan Hy-Vee and Drive Electric MN worked together to stage a display of EVs in front of the store. Displays included 2017 models of the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Bolt EV, Chevy Volt, and Tesla Model X. Over 200 people saw the EV display, and many stopped to pick up resources at the Drive Electric MN table and chat with the EV owners. Additionally, two lucky attendees won a $25 Hy-Vee gift card, donated by Eagan Hy-Vee.
Hy-Vee currently has EV charging stations at 44 of its stores, consisting of Tesla Superchargers, DC Fast Chargers, and Level II chargers. All of the DCFC and Level II chargers are on the ChargePoint network. So far, the only Minnesota Hy-Vee store with Tesla stations is in Oakdale.
Want to learn about EV’s? Check out the Drive Electric MN website and sign-up for our newsletter to find out about upcoming events.
GPI facilitates Drive Electric Minnesota, a partnership of local and state government, utilities, private business and nonprofit entities working in collaboration to bring electric vehicles and plug-in charging infrastructure to the state. In addition, GPI recently partnered with several clean energy advocate organizations (Clean Fuels Ohio, Ecology Center, Environmental Law & Policy Center, Fresh Energy, the Sierra Club, and the Natural Resources Defense Council) to form a campaign called Charge Up Midwest dedicated to increasing EV deployment in the Midwest.