In 2019, electric vehicles (EVs) were just over 2% of the automobile sales market in the United States. Projections are that number will double by 2022 and continue to rise, crossing the 1 million mark in 2024 and the 3 million mark in 2028. Of the 35 major automobile brands sold in the U.S., 14 currently do not offer an EV for sale and 12 more offer only one model, although several have plans to launch new EVs in the next 1-2 years. The Ohio market share of EVs doubled between 2017 and 2018, and in 2019 the state had approximately 12,800 registered EVs, served by 432 charging stations with 996 outlets.
Green Energy Ohio played an active role in educating Ohioans about the electric vehicle movement eight years ago. In June 2012, Green Energy Ohio (GEO) and Clean Fuels Ohio (CFO) collaborated on a “Tour de Sol”, an electric vehicle road rally, visiting green businesses and renewable energy charging stations, spreading the word that Ohioans wanted EVs and wanted to be able to charge them using renewable energy. The week-long event was designed to promote a broader understanding of the practical and policy considerations associated with electric vehicle use, and to focus on developing infrastructure powered by renewable energy. The logistical challenge of this long-distance tour was to drive an EV as much as possible using electricity generated from renewable energy.
The Tour featured expert speakers, workshop presentations, educational materials, exhibits, and EV “ride and drives” at five locations in Columbus, Cincinnati, Toledo, Warren and Cleveland. The workshops included 39 expert presentations and were attended by over 250 people. The Ride and Drive events showcased 23 vehicles at seven stops, and attracted approximately 90 drivers and passengers. Tour events were free and open to the public, local media outlets, community and business leaders, and elected officials interested in learning more about the technology.
At the time of the Tour, the availability of EVs to retail customers in Ohio was still limited. In preparing for the Tour, GEO contacted 63 auto dealers in the five cities, with one dealer in each of the cities eventually participating.
We have come a long way in terms of variety and availability of electric and hybrid vehicles, but we still have more to do, especially with regard to infrastructure and incentives. Given our current isolation, heading out on the open road to recreate the Tour de Sol sounds like a great idea!