This fall, Sierra Club members and volunteers from around the country joined partner organizations in producing hundreds of events to celebrate the 13th National Drive Electric Week (NDEW), an annual celebration of electric vehicles and their role in moving us toward a cleaner, healthier transportation system.
But this year’s NDEW felt in some ways even more significant than previous years – both because of the progress we’re making and because of the fight still ahead of us.
First, the good news. Today, more Americans than ever are buying electric vehicles. A lot more. In the latest U.S. sales data, EVs made up more than ten percent of new car sales for the third consecutive month, more than double the total EV sales from just two years ago. Generous federal, state, and local incentives, hard fought for by advocates, are putting more EVs within financial reach for many. And with nearly four-in-ten Americans currently saying they’ll consider an EV for their next vehicle purchase, the prospects for continued growth are strong.
But while Americans are clear about wanting more clean transportation choices, special interests that have made billions on health- and climate-threatening polluting vehicles are fighting to slow down progress. Big Oil and large automakers are lobbying to weaken proposed EPA rules that would speed up the transition to clean cars and trucks. And automakers continue falling behind commitments to make EVs affordable to American consumers, even as consumers demand them.
This is why NDEW is so important – it’s part of how we communicate our collective vision for a better transportation future. That’s a vision where clean cars and trucks are affordable and accessible, it’s easier and safer to ride an e-bike, and schools and transit systems provide reliable bus service powered by clean, zero-emission buses. The hundreds of NDEW events across the country are part of how we demonstrate how much demand there is for a better transportation future than the fossil fuel status quo.
And what a demonstration! This year, we held more than 200 events, powered by nearly 20,000 volunteer hours and counting at least 300,000 people in attendance. There were at least 2,500 EV test drives and more than 100 elected and government officials in attendance.
Here are just a few of the highlights from around the country this year:
In Washington DC, our DC chapter hosted an event with hundreds of attendees, 30 EVs, a cargo e-bike, and WMATA’s first ever electric bus! Sierra Club has been pushing Metro to speed up electric bus procurement, so our event was a chance to show the agency how much support there is in the community.
In nearby Virginia, Fairfax City Mayor Catherine Read joined over a hundred participants to check out 27 EVs and three different electric transit buses.
In Nebraska, despite severe thunderstorms and a Husker football home game, more than 50 folks turned out to hear expert presentations on EVs and EV charging. Electric vehicles aren’t just for folks on the coasts!
Ultimately, that’s why NDEW is such a powerful story: It’s an opportunity to connect with our neighbors and communities around a shared vision.
So National Drive Electric Week once again meant a lot. Sierra Club couldn’t do all this alone; we were proud to once again partner with Plug-In America, EVHybridNoire, Drive Electric USA, and the Electric Vehicle Association on these exciting local events. Here’s to another successful NDEW in 2024!