SAINT PAUL, Minn., Jan. 31, 2019 – More than 90,000 people have participated in the American Lung Association’s Midwest EVOLVE project, a seven-state program launched two years ago to promote the performance and clean-air advantages of electric vehicles.
Midwest EVOLVE and its partners have held or participated in more than 190 events across the Midwest with just over 4,500 test drives completed over the past two years. The project is a collaborative effort between the American Lung Association and Clean Cities coalitions in seven Midwestern states. Dozens of electric vehicle events are planned for this year.
“Consumers have so many preconceptions about electric vehicles,” said Lisa Thurstin, coordinator of the Twin Cities Clean Cities Coalition, which oversees Midwest EVOLVE. “This is especially true in the Midwest, where EVs aren’t as heavily promoted as they are in other parts of the U.S.
“At Midwest EVOLVE events, we get people behind the wheel for test drives,” Thurstin said. “That usually changes people’s perceptions. They realize that electric vehicles have outstanding performance and are better for the environment, clean-air, and lung health.”
According to Thurstin, Midwest EVOLVE’s data shows that more than 20 percent of consumers who attend an electric vehicle ride and drive hosted by one of the projects’ partners purchases a plug-in electric or hybrid-electric vehicle within six months.
As a part of the program, electric vehicles are showcased at community events, auto shows, workplace-charging seminars, and ride-and-drives in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The events help to educate consumers about finding a vehicle that fits their needs and provide information about the ease of charging vehicles at home, at work, or at public charging stations.
“So far, thousands of people have received a chance to take test-drives of EVs at our Midwest EVOLVE events,” said Thurstin, who assembled the team of Clean Cities coalitions that have been partnering on the EVOLVE project for more than two years.
“We have many more events planned for 2019, including test-drives at upcoming auto shows,” Thurstin added. “The recent debuts of several vehicles with outstanding performance also makes this a compelling time to drive electric, so make sure to visit our website for details about events we’re hosting this year.”
Midwest EVOLVE, which stands for Electric Vehicle Opportunities: Learning, eVents, Experience, has more than 60 partners, including Argonne National Laboratory, PlugInConnect, automakers, utilities, state agencies, municipalities, dealerships, and dealer associations.
Clean Cities coalitions working together on the program include: Chicago Area Clean Cities, Greater Lansing Area Clean Cities, North Dakota Clean Cities, Twin Cities Clean Cities, South Shore Clean Cities, and Wisconsin Clean Cities.
The Midwest EVOLVE project is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), under Award Number DE-EE0007743.