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CEC is committed to creating a more resilient and just region in the face of climate change. Through our work with the Central Coast Climate Justice Network and elsewhere, our vision includes an end to racial injustices and their resulting environmental inequities.

With 18 models of electric vehicles (EVs) now on the market—from the affordable to the luxurious—attendees of CEC’s upcoming Green Car Show at the Goleta Lemon Festival will have plenty to talk about. Join us Sunday, September 21 between 10 am and 5 pm at Girsh Park to talk directly with local owners of various pure electric and plug-in hybrid cars.

The car show will feature a full array of vehicles – from the inexpensive and easy-to-park Fiat 500 electric to the luxury Tesla Model S sedan. Chat with current EV owners like Timothy Rodgers, whose extended family now owns five EVs.

This event is part of National Drive Electric Week, which will be celebrated in over 100 cities. Here are some of the trends we’re seeing this year:

  • The more affordable pure electric cars (Smart ED, Nissan LEAF, Fiat 500e, Ford Focus EV, Chevy Spark EV, Mitsubishi i , Honda Fit EV) are easiest to use in a multiple car household, as the range of 70 to 80 miles makes them more practical for commuting and driving around town. For longer drives and road trips, it is handy to have a second gas or hybrid car.
  • For one-car households, a plug-in hybrid that mainly uses electricity but can also use gasoline may be more convenient, though a pure EV would work if the driver rarely goes out of town.  Some companies also offer free rental of a gas car when leasing an EV. Plug-in hybrids like the Chevrolet Volt, Ford Fusion Energi or Cmax Energi, Toyota Plug In Prius, or Honda Accord Plug In allow the driver to commute or drive around town most days on the electric range of 13 to 38 miles, and also have a gas engine to get great hybrid MPG for longer trips.
  • For those looking for a luxury ride or longer range, the Tesla Model S or Roadster, BMW i3 or i8, Mercedes B Class EV, Cadillac ELR, Porsche Panamera Plug In, and Toyota RAV 4 EV all offer unique driving experiences.
  • Topping off at the many public charging stations that CEC has helped establish on the Central Coast allows plug-in hybrid drivers to stay in electric mode longer and allows pure EV drivers to take longer trips.
  • Recent price drops have made EVs well within the reach of many drivers considering a new car. With reporting the average price of a new car at $31,252, the Nissan LEAF and other EVs start at under $19,000 after incentives in California.  Alternatively, many EVs can be leased for around $200/month, with the $2,500 California rebate covering the down payment. With EPA ratings of over 100 mpg equivalent, many drivers will also see considerable savings in fuel – a $200/month gas bill might be replaced with only a $50 increase in an electric bill.

Also represented at the upcoming festival will be those who are “driving on sunshine” by installing solar on their home and charging up their EV at night for the equivalent of $1/gallon gasoline, while their solar generates valuable peak power worth three to four times more. Local drivers like Jeff Phillips are saving over $200 a month with EV and solar, and feel great about ditching oil. Rick Kelly commutes from Santa Ynez to UCSB on sunshine and Kelly Ferguson carpools with co-workers to Santa Ynez in her electric car.

In addition to the financial savings, the environmental savings of “driving on sunshine” are huge. Driving an electric mile on California’s clean electric grid emits 75 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than a gasoline car, and zero tailpipe pollutants in urban areas where they are most dangerous to human health.  Going solar enables true zero-emission driving.  Lifecycle studies of cars show that as much as 90 percent of the environmental impact comes from driving, and only 10 percent from manufacturing. So while EVs do take an additional amount of energy and resources to manufacture, a lifetime of zero-emission driving vastly outweighs the impact from manufacturing.

If you’ve been thinking about an EV for your next car purchase, or simply want to learn more, stop by CEC’s Green Car Show at the Goleta Lemon Festival at Girsh Park and talk to many of your neighbors who already are “driving the future.”

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