On June 15, 2019, the Palmetto Clean Fuels Coalition (PCF) joined several hundred vehicle enthusiasts from across the state of South Carolina for the Cruisin’ Downtown Car and Bike Show in downtown Florence. PCF is an initiative of the Office of Regulatory Staff- Energy Office working to increase the use of alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies. PCF is part of the national Department of Energy Clean Cities Program and is one of nearly 100 designated coalitions in the United States.
The yearly event is held in downtown Florence, SC and hosts a variety of vehicles on display. Although most years the event has been primarily geared toward gasoline “muscle cars,” this year electric vehicles (EVs) made their debut. PCF arrived with several EV drivers and advocates from the Carolinas as part of the National Drive Electric Week program, which helps to promote EVs in the public sphere. Although the official National Drive Electric Week is September 14-22, 2019, other showcase events like the one in Florence happen throughout the year. EVs from brands such as Tesla, Mitsubishi, Solectria, Nissan, Chevrolet, and Hyundai were on display to show off all the different shapes, sizes, and styles of battery- and hybrid-electric cars. PCF staff were also available to answer questions and provided attendees with information on alternative fuel vehicles, energy efficiency, and residential solar photovoltaics.
While many of the attendees focused only on the car’s engine (or lack thereof), there were some interested citizens asking for clarification on EV-related issues. Many were surprised at the capabilities, price, and range of the EVs on display. Some of them even remarked that they were considering purchasing an EV for their next vehicle.
Overall, the event helped increase EVs’ exposure to the public. For those that were in attendance to check out the classic and sports cars, it helped to gain an appreciation and awareness of the benefits of gasoline alternatives. For the EV owners, they were able to showcase their vehicles, helping to dispel myths, inform the community, and show attendees the possibilities that come with driving electric.