Free Electric Vehicle Test-Drives Return to Bay Area | News

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Free Electric Vehicle Test-Drives Return to Bay Area

“Experience Electric” at Treasure Island Flea October 24
"Experience Electric" Campaign Rolls Into San Jose
Noah Berger
Monday, October 19, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the Center for Sustainable Energy this month kick off a new series of public test-drive events through their “Experience Electric — #The Better Ride” campaign. The initiative is designed to spur electric vehicle adoption by offering thousands of free test drives at public venues around the Bay Area.

The first public Experience Electric test-drive event for this year will be on Saturday, Oct. 24, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Treasure Island Flea on Treasure Island in San Francisco. The next test-drive will be held Nov. 23 and Nov. 24 in conjunction with PG&E at the San Francisco Chronicle 58th Annual International Auto Show at the Moscone Center, 747 Howard Street in San Francisco.

The Experience Electric campaign features the latest electric vehicles (EVs) from a variety of manufacturers, including BMW, Ford, General Motors, Nissan and smart (subject to change). Licensed drivers can test vehicles free of charge in a festive setting with no sales pressure. The campaign’s goal is to accelerate EV adoption through purchase, leasing and car-sharing programs. In 2014, Experience Electric hosted more than 4,250 EV test drives at 21 community events around the Bay Area.

“As an EV driver myself, I believe giving people a chance to see for themselves just how quick, responsive and fun it is to drive an electric vehicle can lead to more people buying or leasing EVs,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor and MTC Chair Dave Cortese. “And boosting EV adoption is a great way to help the Bay Area improve air quality and meet its state targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Plus, you get unlimited access to freeway carpool lanes.”

“There already are more all-electric vehicles in the Bay Area than any other region in the state,” added Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, who also serves as an MTC Commissioner and Air District Director. “We want to build on this leadership and make the Bay Area the EV capital of the nation. The way to do it is to get drivers to actually experience an EV in a fun, no-pressure setting.”

Noting that MTC and the Air District aim to boost the number of EVs in the region to 100,000 or more, Bates said, “We’re confident consumers will go electric when they actually try the vehicles and hear from friends who have tried them. EVs offer a fabulously smooth ride and are wonderfully quiet – in addition to the terrific fuel savings and environmental benefits.”

In California, EVs are more than 75 percent cleaner than the average gasoline-powered vehicle, even after accounting for emissions from electrical power plants. For drivers who have solar-generated power at home or other “clean” power options, driving an EV can be nearly carbon-free.

MTC, in partnership with the Air District, led the development of the Experience Electric strategy. MTC then selected the Center for Sustainable Energy to conduct the campaign. For event details and to learn more about Experience Electric and future Bay Area ride-and-drive events, visit or

MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is the regional agency chartered with protecting air quality in the Bay Area. The Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE) is a national nonprofit organization that helps consumers, businesses, governments and others adopt energy efficiency, renewable energy and clean transportation.

John Goodwin, MTC: (415) 778-5262

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