Case Study: Electric Vehicle Outreach Through Community—Events in Fridley, Minnesota

October 11, 2019 | | Education

During the 2040 comprehensive planning process, the City of Fridley began exploring ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. At first, the city focused on promoting non-motorized transportation and public transportation. As electric vehicle (EV) ownership became more feasible and practical in Fridley, the city realized that EV adoption in both the municipal and residential fleets is essential for reducing transportation-based emissions.

To encourage EV adoption in the community, Fridley joined Cities Charging Ahead! (led by the Great Plains Institute and Clean Energy Resource Teams) and Xcel Energy’s Partners in Energy. The city also began working with local EV owner groups to include EV awareness messaging in many city events. It’s had EV owners at the last two annual environmental fun fairs, featured EVs in parades and other auto show events, and is planning to host a ride and drive in 2019. Having EV owners present at these events provided the City of Fridley with an opportunity to share the benefits of EVs in a peer-to-peer setting and enables attendees to see EVs in their community.

Often when conducting EV education, we find that the biggest barrier to someone making the choice to “go electric” when purchasing a new vehicle is simply a lack of information and awareness about EVs. Ride and drive events are the best way to overcome this lack of knowledge. A test drive quickly dispels any myths about performance or range and allows attendees to see just how fun and high-performance EVs are. While a ride and drive is preferable for raising EV awareness and visibility, events of that magnitude often require significant planning and coordination.

Including a few EV owners to show their vehicles and answer questions at city events is the next best thing. Fridley has permeated the city’s sustainability culture and messaging with an approachable take on EV awareness by following this strategy. Furthermore, the City of Fridley makes events more personal by inviting EV owners from within the city to participate in events. Attendees can ask their neighbors or community members about EVs in a pressure-free, peer-to-peer setting and learn from others who are driving and operating an EV in their community.

To read more about lessons learned, surprises along the way, and advice for other cities, read the full case study here.

If you are interested in planning a ride and drive event for your community, Drive Electric Minnesota provides a free, comprehensive event planning toolkit. Go to this webpage, fill out a short form, and the kit will be delivered to your inbox.

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