Plug In America |

It Takes A Driver To Make A Driver

Chad's picture

What a wonderful celebration we are seeing across the country for this second National Plug In Day. We would like to send a hearty thank you from Plug In America to the many thousands of people participating in National Plug In Day events in over 60 cities across the country. And to our partners, the Sierra Club and the Electric Auto Association.

Plug In America’s mission is to speed the switch from petroleum to electricity for transportation. Since the cars arrived in real quantities a year or so ago, we have honed our focus: we want to get as many people as possible into the cars. We want to make sure every plug-in built gets a buyer right away. We are completely focused on building the market. We want to turn the tens of thousands of people currently driving the cars into a volunteer army of sales people.

Over 50,000 cars have now been sold. They have been driven over 200 million miles (by comparison – the moon is 238 million miles away). We are in the forefronts of an auto revolution. We cannot, and must not, go back.

The best plug in salespeople in the world are the drivers experiencing the simple fact that plug-ins are better. Anybody searching online can read about the societal benefits of plug-ins: cleaner air, an improved economy, and improved energy security (why buy oil from people who don’t like us?). But actual drivers know the many personal benefits that arrive with the car. Plug-ins are cheaper over time than a gas car of similar size and performance. They are great to drive; an electric powertrain is a premium powertrain, the best way to improve a car. And they are a lot more convenient to own and operate. Owners don’t sit around waiting for a charge; they either buy a plug-in hybrid that can use a gas-powered generator to extend range, or have secondary gas car in the family. Important for some of us - we have traded anonymous gas station visits for the convenience and safety of fueling our cars at home or at work.

We believe that as this information becomes more widely known, everybody will want a plug-in. The problem now is that most Americans have not even seen a plug-in vehicle, and their perceptions are backwards. They think they are terribly expensive, no fun to drive, and a terrible inconvenience. They won’t research them, or go to showrooms to ask questions. They just don’t even think about them. We have to go out of our way to reach people until there are enough vehicles on the road - a tipping point - where most people know somebody that owns one.

If somebody knowledgeable and objective - like an owner - can talk to somebody else for an hour, they can usually convince people of the benefits and get them to consider buying one. But how can you get somebody’s attention for that long on a subject they are not interested in?

Give them a ride. Plug-ins are new and high-tech enough that people don’t turn down a ride. The ride instantly shows them that they were wrong about the quality of the vehicles. It raises their interest level enough that they are willing to talk to somebody about costs and how to handle range issues. At that point they really want to hear from an owner.

That’s where Plug In America comes in. We have a huge supporter list that is chock full of owners. We organize events like National Plug In Day to get owners and their cars out where they can give rides and talk to potential buyers. While National Plug In Day is one big day a year, we are also working on many other initiatives. A key opportunity moving forward is an online community called DrivingElectric.org that helps connect potential buyers with owners of specific vehicles in their area.  We need these efforts year-round!

It takes a driver to make a driver - that’s our mantra and mission for the coming years. The donate buttons on this site can help you directly support our efforts. Following us on Facebook and registering at DrivingElectric.org can also keep you involved. And if you are a company who also wants to build this market, join us by participating in our Plug In Pioneers program.

We must do this! Most importantly, National Plug In Day shows us we can! Thank you!

Comments

Tom K's picture

It takes a driver

Great idea, I can see how this will grow exponentially as more EV and PHEV cars and trucks (and drivers) become available to the public. It is amazing how many people I speak to have no idea these cars are available or how they work. While one supporter/driver can make a difference, it will take a large scale educational campaign to get this message out. PSA’s may help but my money will be on Ford, Honda, Chevy, etc. who have the monetary interest to build large scale support. A lot of new mass produced EV's & PHEV's will be out in 2013 and 2014 and I hope a lot of advertising will go with them.
KevinG's picture

Great Post

Great post, Chad! I agree. One question/concern-the DriveElectric.org link and url goes to Shockwave motors.. ? Thanks!
Chad's picture

Sorry, that was a bad link.

I fixed it; thanks for pointing it out.