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‘Drive Electric’ events to showcase vehicles

Alabamians can see available electric vehicles and ask questions of EV owners at four showcases around the state starting Friday.

The National Drive Electric Week events are free and open to the public and organized by Drive Electric Alabama, an EV education and marketing program launched by the state in 2021.

“A large percentage of Alabamians have still never driven an EV,” Michael Staley, president of the Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition, said in a written statement. “The EV owners who participate in these showcases have made the transition to electric and use their vehicles to get their kids to school, or take them to soccer practice, or to make a quick run to the grocery store. Who else would you want to ask about EVs? These Alabamians are using them every day.”

The events are:

  • Friday, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center, 910 S. College St., Auburn;
  • Monday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Mardi Gras Park, 109 Government St., Mobile;
  • Sept. 30, 8 a.m. to noon, The Market at Pepper Place, 2930 Third Ave. S., Birmingham;
  • Sept. 30, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., MidCity District, 5909 University Drive, Huntsville.

Prices for electric vehicles start around $30,000 and go as high as $100,000, according to a recent U.S. News and World Report article.

The showcases will also include information about discounts and rebates offered to EV owners by Alabama Power.

Earlier this year, Alabama lawmakers and Gov. Kay Ivey allocated $2 million for the state’s Electric Vehicle Infrastructure and Planning Grant Program, which included $1.2 million for EV charging stations. That’s in addition to a combined about $6.5 million in grants for charging stations in 2022 and 2021.

Meanwhile, automakers in Alabama are investing in electric, including Mercedes-Benz’s all-electric luxury SUVs in Tuscaloosa and Hyundai’s planned EV battery plant in Montgomery. 

“Alabama is a totally different state today because of the investments made by companies like Mercedes-Benz when the company opened its first American assembly plant in Alabama in 1993,” Sen. Gerald Allen, R-Tuscaloosa, said in the statement. “Countless constituents of mine benefit from the jobs created by Mercedes’ presence in West Alabama, and as its fleet becomes increasingly electric, our economy will continue to grow as a result.

“As a member of the Alabama Senate, I have the privilege to work to support Mercedes-Benz’s presence in our state, as well as to work with our state’s utility companies to ensure that our power grid can support the increased adoption of electric vehicles and to make sure that EV drivers’ charging needs are met.”

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