Unitil Corporation, (Unitil.com), a provider of natural gas and electricity to customers in New England, is partnering with Clean Energy NH to host its first electric vehicle Ride and Drive event next month.
The event will be held on Saturday, June 4, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Unitil’s electric operations facility, 30 Energy Way in Exeter, N.H. A rain date is set for June 5.
The Ride and Drive, which is free and open to the public, is designed to help educate consumers about the latest innovations in electric vehicles by bringing together a wide array of makes and models in one place.
Electric vehicles from local dealerships will be available for a test drive of approximately 10 minutes along a predetermined route. Vehicles that are personally owned will also be on display for participants to check out and climb inside for a closer look. While those vehicles can’t be taken for a spin, the owners will be on hand to answer questions and share personal stories about their experiences driving electric vehicles. Some will also offer rides to those interested.
“We’re excited to be able to provide a venue to bring such an event to the Seacoast. This will be a unique opportunity for EV enthusiasts, those who have a real interest in the future of electric vehicles, and others who are curious to learn more about them,” said Alec O’Meara, media relations manager at Unitil.
Demand for electric vehicles continues to grow. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that sales of all-electric vehicles jumped by 85% from 2020 to 2021. Sales of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, which use both gasoline and electricity, skyrocketed by 138% over the previous year. According to the agency's Alternative Fuels Data Center, there were 2,690 all-electric vehicles registered in New Hampshire in 2021, 21,010 in Massachusetts, and 1,920 in Maine. The center reports just over 1 million electric vehicles registered nationwide.
Unitil is pleased to be working with Clean Energy NH, which is the managing organization of Drive Electric NH - a coalition of public and private stakeholders that uses education and outreach to raise awareness of the benefits of electric vehicles and the need for supporting charging infrastructure in New Hampshire.
“I think it is very important to show people that these vehicles are real, and there is a huge group of people supporting EVs in New Hampshire. Our goal is to get as much support for the transition to EVs as we can for when we try to pass good EV legislation in Concord,” said Clean Energy NH program coordinator Joshua Singer, adding that the organization’s policy committee will be working toward a consensus with other committees on what appropriate policies may look like in New Hampshire.
Drive Electric NH was launched about four years ago to organize electric vehicle events like the upcoming Ride and Drive.
Photo caption: An electric vehicle charges up at an EV charging station outside Unitil's electric operations facility in Exeter, N.H., which will host a Ride & Drive event in June.