Six Drive Electric Earth Day Events in Twelve Days
By Susan and Jack Goodwin
2023 Blount County Drive Electric Earth Day Celebration. ©2023 Robert J. Goodwin
Drive Electric Earth Day (DEED) is a nationwide collection of events in April helping to acquaint the public with information about electric vehicles (EVs). The amazing thing is that it’s a day that lasts all month. It’s a companion to the fall National Drive Electric Week (NDEW) EVent.
We were very lucky this year that there were a lot of events within a two hour drive of Knoxville. Most were hosted by or supported by Drive Electric Tennessee (DET) and its local chapters. We thought “Why not go to all of them?” But, between the calendar and the map, it was clear we could only get to six because several overlapped.
Here’s a retrospective trip around the region to those six, starting with Jefferson City, TN.
2023 Lakeway Area EV Ride & Drive
April 15, 2023
Jefferson City, TN
Appalachian Electric Cooperative (AEC) hosted the event at Carson Newman University with assistance from DET. DET recruited members from the Knoxville Electric Vehicle Association (KEVA) in Knoxville to bring vehicles and offer rides. A key highlight was learning about Rural Reimagined. DET brought a Ford F-150 Lightning and a Chevy Bolt EUV, both owned by Rural Reimagined.
Tennessee Tech (TTU) in Cookeville put the program together and manages it overall. Their website says “Rural Reimagined is dedicated to developing and supporting the success of rural areas throughout Tennessee in a way that can be replicated to help rural areas throughout the country and the world.” One thing RR has done is to buy EVs ranging from Chevy Bolts to F-150s, to Ford eTransit cargo vans. Those vehicles are made available for short-term loan for people and organizations to evaluate for themselves the feasibility of electric transportation in their lives and work.
The Rural Reimagined Ford F-150 Lightning at the 2023 Lakeway Area Ride & Drive. ©2023 Susan Goodwin
2023 Blount County Drive Electric Earth Day Celebration
April 19, 2023
Kia EV6 and Ford Mustang Mach-e at the 2023 Blount County Drive Electric Earth Day Celebration at Maryville College. ©2023 Robert J. Goodwin
This was the second year for KEVA to host the Blount County Drive Electric Earth Day Celebration at Maryville College in Maryville, TN. It was a perfect spring day. A dozen EVs and their owners were on hand (including the Rural Reimagined F-150 Lightning that was also at Jefferson City). Maryville College students, faculty, and staff stopped by on the way to and from lunch to learn about EVs, and especially about the affordability of used EVs.
Ford F-150 Lightning at the 2023 Blount County Drive Electric Earth Day Celebration at Maryville College. ©2023 Robert J. Goodwin
BEVs & Beverages at the Orange Hat
April 22, 2023
Tesla Model S Plaid at BEVs & Beverages at the Orange Hat. ©2023 Susan Goodwin
A few days later, the DEED party continued back in Knoxville on Earth Day. This time, KEVA hosted at the Orange Hat Brewing Company on Hardin Valley Road. The Orange Hat was celebrating its third anniversary on Earth Day, so it was a perfect match. For over-the-top EVs, there was a Tesla Model S Plaid demonstrating Tesla’s famous Emissions Testing Mode (aka car farts). Weston from TTU brought a Bolt, and DET again brought the F-150. We had a good mix of EVs, including a Bolt, a Bolt EUV, Ford Lightnings, Kia EV6s, Tesla S (Plaid), Y and 3 and a Zero motorcycle.
Rural Reimagined Chevrolet Bolt at BEVs & Beverages at the Orange Hat. ©2023 Susan Goodwin
Next Generation driver examines Next Generation Tesla Model S Plaid – BEVs & Beverages at the Orange Hat. ©2023 Robert J. Goodwin
Harper Auto Square’s Cars & Coffee
April 23, 2023
Three times a year, Harper Auto Square hosts Cars & Coffee at West Town Mall in Knoxville. And of course KEVA is there. There are thousands of cars and many thousands of people. KEVA member Robert Finn arrives at 3:30am to block off the section for EVs. This time we had 21 EVs, including three from Rural Reimagined. And who got the most attention? Rick and Nick. Beauty and the Beast! Rick brought his 2012 Fisker Karma, and Nick brought his racing Mazda RX8 conversion. The Fisker is a rare and beautiful car. The Mazda, well, not so much. But, Nick and his associates have converted it to a race car for the 24 Hours of Lemons. Competition race cars are limited to spending $500 on speed. Nick’s confident his Mazda can win.
Race-converted electric Mazda RX8 and Fisker Karma at 2023 DEED at Harper’s Cars & Coffee. ©2023 Susan Goodwin
Rural Reimagined Ford F-150 Lightning and Tesla Model X Plaid at 2023 DEED at Harper’s Cars & Coffee. ©2023 Susan Goodwin
DriveElectricTN Appalachian Highlands Earth Day
April 29, 2023
Logos. ©2023 Susan Goodwin
Rural Reimagined again. Those TTU guys must be following us around. This time with a different F-150. Really though, it’s great that they’re spreading the word about the program.
Caleb and Craig from Tennessee Tech at the Rural Reimagined booth at DirveElectricTN Appalachian Highlands Earth Day. ©2023 Susan Goodwin
DET Chapter Drive Electric Appalachian Highlands hosted this event across the border in Abingdon, VA, at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center. There was a great cross section of EV models including the BMW i4, the Subaru Solterra, the Hyundai Ioniq 5, the Kia Niro & EV6 and the Rivian R1T. Ride & Drives were available in the Solterra, several Teslas, and a Mach-e. With a great balance between owners and attendees, everyone had a chance to get their questions answered.
Asheville Drive Electric Earth Day 2023
April 30, 2023
Affordables at Drive Electric Earth Day 2023, Asheville, NC. ©2023 Robert J. Goodwin
Affordable Chevy Volt and Bolt at Drive Electric Earth Day 2023, Asheville, NC. ©2023 Robert J. Goodwin
The Blue Ridge EV Club hosted this event at the Asheville Outlet Mall. They organized the space very effectively – Ride & Drive in one area, Teslas together in a row, general EV displays in the center, and vendors along one end. But what we especially liked was a separate area down front for lower-priced EVs. It was a great way to let people know that price does not need to be a barrier.
So, the DEED is done.
But KEVA’s not done!
Chillin’ at the 2022 EVs in the Smokies. Photo courtesy of Tennessee Clean Fuels.
Coming up on July 8, 2023, KEVA will host its third annual EVs in the Smokies in Townsend, TN, the entrance to the Peaceful Side of the Smokies. It will be at a new location – the Peaceful Side Social from 10am to 4pm, and everyone is welcome. If you want to attend or show your EV, sign up now for EVs in the Smokies.
2022 Knoxville Drive Electric Festival at Pellissippi State Community College. Photo courtesy of Tennessee Clean Fuels.
And then September 23, 2023, KEVA will host our huge Knoxville Drive Electric Festival on the beautiful Hardin Valley campus of Pellissippi State Community College. It runs from 10am to 3pm. The 2022 Festival was one of the largest National Drive Electric Week events in North America, and plans are for 2023 to be even larger and better.
Details and signup now for the Knoxville Drive Electric Festival.
Come join in the fun.