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Visitors to the Cool Davis Festival in 2011 could get a close look at a Nissan Leaf engine. Richard McAdam/Courtesy photo


Electric, plug-in cars light up the Cool Davis Festival

By From page A16 | October 04, 2013

Learn more

What: Cool Davis Festival, featuring interactive exhibits, entertainment and information on how to reduce your carbon footprint; it’s striving to be a zero-waste event

When: 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12

Where: Central Park, Fourth and C streets

Getting there: Ride your bike, walk or take the bus; Unitrans is offering free rides all day

Info: www.cooldavis.org

By Peter Kerr

Are you seeing TV ads for the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt? Or hearing about them on the radio when commuting? Can the marketing campaigns be believed?

Perhaps you’re thinking about alternative cars but you can’t make a decision. Meanwhile, unstable gas prices and troubling environmental news are enough to inspire a search for transportation alternatives. How difficult is it to go from gas to electric vehicles?

Come find out at the fourth annual Cool Davis Festival on Saturday morning, Oct. 12, in Central Park. Local EV experts will be there in person to answer questions. The grassy area north of the carousel will showcase the full array of electric cars, including the latest EVs on the market.

The electric vehicles display is divided into two sections: Owners of electric vehicles will bring their cars and discuss what it is like owning and driving their vehicles. They are a great source of honest and reliable information for anyone curious about these cars and considering a change. These are real drivers and owners, not sales people.

The other part is the display of local dealers. Here, you can get the newest pricing and availability, as well as schedule a test drive later. While test drives will not be available at the event, an abundance of “open door” cars will give visitors an inside view.

The full range of display vehicles at the festival will include the new Tesla S electric sedan, Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi iMiEV, Ford Focus, C-Max Energi and Fusion Hybrid, Chevy Volt and Spark, and Honda Fit. As a special highlight, the festival is also expecting a custom converted Karmann Ghia EV.

One advantage of electric vehicles is limiting (or entirely avoiding) the need to stop at gas stations for refueling. But what does this mean, exactly? Visitors can explore the home and workplace charging display and learn how easy it is to charge an EV at home or throughout the Davis and Sacramento region with more than 200 public charging stations available. There will also be information on how workplaces can provide EV charging stations.

Electric vehicles charged at home offer a considerable savings in fuel cost, and these costs can be reduced further thanks to special incentives provided by local utilities. Festival visitors can learn how to save money with PG&E and SMUD’s special EV rates that can help drivers pay the lowest price for EV fuel with automatic late-night charging at home.

Additional incentives for the purchase or lease of zero-emission and plug-in electric vehicles are provided by state and federal programs. The California Air Resources Board will have a display to help explain these benefits and other advantages of increasing the efficiency of the transportation fleet in California.

Incentives for purchasing and installing photovoltaic solar panels are also available. Many EV drivers have found that it makes good economic sense to invest in solar to power their cars (and the rest of their home). Representatives from The Solar Connection will be on hand to show how cheap it is to charge an EV from sunlight — free fuel for life!

Lynne Nittler

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