By Steve Schaefer
Two days ago, I received an email from Plug In America, inviting me to join in the First Annual Independence Day EV Count. Modeled after the Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count, it’s meant to be a non-scientific study of what’s going on around you.
I’ve hosted and attended the group’s Drive Electric Week events and they’re a great organization, so why not?
Today, July 4th, after lunch, I decided to join the EV count. I needed the exercise anyway, so I grabbed my trusty pad and a ballpoint pen and headed out into my Castro Valley, California neighborhood. It was clear and in the low 70’s–perfect.
The rules of the EV Count are simple:
- Walk or drive in your neighborhood and count all the cars you see
- Note the all-electric cars and plug-in hybrids
- Tally it up, fill out the online form, and send it in
The group doesn’t include regular plugless hybrids (their name is Plug In America, after all), but I noted them anyway, just to satisfy my own curiosity.
I walked a loop that I often take to add a couple thousand steps to my Fitbit. I started out well, as I could count my personal Chevrolet Bolt EV and the Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid I’m currently testing right away. However, as I walked and wrote, the bad news piled up.
When I returned home and tallied up the numbers, I had:
- 118 cars total
- 3 EVs (my Bolt and two Nissan LEAFs)
- 2 plug-in hybrids
- 7 regular hybrids
That’s pretty disappointing.
Perhaps Castro Valley is a little behind–I know I see more EVs in San Francisco, where I work. And it wasn’t a scientific study–just a small sample. But it means that I need to work harder to get the word out on the many benefits of EVs–and the necessity of stopping using fossil fuels now to help control the effects of the climate crisis.
In 2019, as the U.S. turns 243, we have a long way to go to significant EV adoption. At least in my neighborhood.