IVINS — Roughly four years after the first electric vehicle was delivered to the area, Southern Utah is getting plugged in to “National Drive Electric Week,” an event focused on sharing the benefits of driving electric cars.
The first Southern Utah “EV’ent” will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Kayenta Coyote Gulch Art Village located at 875 Coyote Gulch Court in Ivins.
Sponsored by the Sierra Club, Plug In America and the Electric Auto Association, “National Drive Electric Week” takes place every fall in cities throughout the nation.
The first celebration was held Oct. 16, 2011, and was called “National Plug In Day.”
Awareness of the celebration spread — doubling in size from 29 cities in 2011 to 65 cities in 2012 . In 2014 the name was changed to “National Drive Electric Week” in order to offer a broader range of dates to accommodate more celebrations and to emphasize the concept of driving electric, according to the national event’s history webpage.
Saturday marks the first time Southern Utah has hosted a drive electric event, though celebrations have typically been held in nearby Las Vegas and Salt Lake City.
The Southern Utah “EV’ent” will feature owners of different models of electric cars, information booths, ride and drive opportunities and more; all in an effort to share the passion of going gas free.
For Mark Larsen, city captain of the Southern Utah event, it is a passion that has lasted for decades, he said.
In fact, Larsen bought the first all-electric vehicle ever shipped to Southern Utah. A white Nissan Leaf which he still drives.
Larsen is a semi-retired Spanish professor, a lover of the environment and a passionate electric vehicle owner and aficionado. He has done extensive research into the history of the electric car from General Motors’ EV1 to Tesla’s Model S and beyond. Larsen is well-versed on the subject.
More than the history, Larsen has compiled vast amounts of documentation touting the benefits of going electric. His website is full of charts that measure the amount of money saved in gas as well as the amount of impact electric cars have on the environment in comparison to gas-fueled vehicles.
“When you add it all up,” Larsen said, “electric vehicles are the cleanest choice on the market.”
In 2012 St. George News sent a reporter to meet Larsen, learn more about the car and give his opinion of the Leaf.
An excerpt from the 2012 report said:
I must admit that my opinion of the electric car has changed. I do not see myself attending any drum circles to save the spotted-wound-fin-tortoise any time soon but I definitely would drive … scratch that … I would own an electric car.
For those who are curious about electric vehicles, Saturday’s event will provide the perfect opportunity to meet other electric vehicle owners, see different models of electric vehicles and maybe even have the opportunity to drive one.
There will be representatives from dealerships that carry electric vehicles attending the event to answer questions, Larsen said, but there will be no direct sales.
The event is free to attend and guests are welcome to show up at any time. Registration is encouraged, but not required.
“I think everybody at this point has now heard of Tesla and they are curious to know more about these,” Larsen said of electric vehicles. “I think they’re curious. I don’t know that they are convinced to make the switch yet but they might be once they come out.”
Larsen, however, is convinced. He will never go back to a gas vehicle, he said.
- What: National Drive Electric Week EV’ent
- When: Saturday, Sept. 10, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Where: Kayenta Coyote Gulch Art Village, 875 Coyote Gulch Court, Ivins
- Resources: Website | Register
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