Until recently, most of the electric vehicles in the United States were sedans, compact cars, and super-compact cars. But no more. There are more than 1 million electric vehicles (EVs) on the road in the United States and 2019 is the “year of the electric SUV.”
If you haven’t driven an electric car yet, what are you waiting for? This auto trend is more than just a quirky tech trend for tree-huggers or gear head collectors. It isn’t going the way of the 8-track player or the cult-followed DeLorean (which ended up being powered by green energy). You don’t have to buy or even rent to get an EV to get a taste of the future. Here are a few ways that everyday Americans can sample an EV before making a commitment.
Take a Test Drive
If you live anywhere near a dealership selling electric cars, just call and take a test drive. You can even schedule one in advance via Tesla’s website. While this is the traditional option, some people might not be comfortable going to a dealership in general, let alone when they just want to test drive an electric car. For those of you, we offer a few more routes you can take to get a taste of the future.
Join the Club
Several car sharing networks offer electric models as a part of their vehicle networks. There are several to choose from, both in car and rideshare startup central, as well as other cities across the country. Some networks are all-electric, while others offer gas-powered, hybrid, and all-electric models. Here are some of the major car sharing networks where you can try out an EV:
WaiveCar: An LA car sharing program with all-electric Hyundai Ionics. The first two hours of each rental are free.
BlueLA and BlueIndy: All-electric car sharing programs in Los Angeles and Indianapolis offering Bolloré Bluecar 3-door hatchback, specifically designed for car sharing by Pininfarina.
ReachNow: Drivers in Portland can drive an electric BMW i3 through this car sharing program.
Gig Car Share: While the Bay Area started out with Toyota Prius c hybrid models, Sacramento operates an all-electric car sharing program funded with VW’s Electrify America settlement and sponsored by AAA.
Maven Car Sharing and Maven Gig: This General Motors car sharing service offers access to a variety of GM models, including the all-electric Bolt. It is available in about a dozen US cities.
Attend an Event
National Drive Electric Week is September 14-22, 2019, with more than 80 events across the United States. These events are somewhat like a niche car show where owners and community members sign up to show off their car and be a part of the event. This is a great chance to get to know the different electric models up-close, learn more about the community of drivers, and ask questions about their personal experiences. Opportunities to go for a drive will depend on the event, but at driveelectricweek.org, you can easily see what types of vehicles have registered to be shown at the event. Additionally, there are other Drive Electric events throughout the year featuring community ride and test drive amenities with EV ambassadors.
Lucky Oregonians can visit the Forth Mobility Electric Vehicle Showcase in downtown Portland and schedule a test drive with a non-salesman on a variety of electric models. You can even use the Forth DriveFinder quiz to see which electric car is right for you. Similar events around the continent include community outreach programs with ride and drive events.
Take a Turo
Another way to try out the EV life is with peer-to-peer car sharing networks like Turo and Getaround. These peer-to-peer car sharing networks offer EV (and regular V) owners the opportunity to rent out their car to make some extra dough. You can use this service on vacation or just around town. Users can filter options to show either hybrid or electric vehicles and then choose which option to try out.
Whichever you choose, it’s about time that you tried an electric vehicle. EVs are only going to get bigger from here, both in size and in popularity. Strike while the iron is hot and use one of these strategies to see how the other half lives.