Oldsmar leads the charge with Drive Electric event

Drive Electric Tampa Bay 2015-12

Oldsmar’s 2015 Drive Electric Tampa Bay event.

While its true that water and electricity normally don’t mix, an exception was made on Saturday in downtown Oldsmar.

Despite getting off to a wet start under ominous skies, the weather eventually broke, and steady crowds turned out for the city’s second annual Drive Electric Tampa Bay event.

Auto makers from Tesla to Toyota, BMW to Cadillac had electric and hybrid vehicles on display at the Oldsmar Public Library, and many people brought their own daily drivers to showcase along St. Petersburg Drive for the event that is one of only a handful of its kind in the greater Tampa Bay area.

Estevan Baza and Linda Foley Norris. Credit: Linda Foley Norris.

Estevan Baza and Linda Foley Norris. Credit: Linda Foley Norris.

“I’m happy that despite the weather, everyone still came out to support this event,” Oldsmar’s Sustainability Coordinator Estevan Baza told Oldsmar Connect. “A lot of people appreciate it, from the dealers and EV (electric vehicle) owners to the people who don’t know about EVs and want to learn more.”

“I’m proud that Oldsmar is on the cutting edge of EV technology,” Council member and EV owner Linda Foley Norris added, noting the variety of sustainability and green projects in town. “For us to promote electric and hybrid vehicles is a big part of our new Oldsmar!”

The growing popularity of electric vehicles was apparent based on the turnout for the Drive Electric event.

While some patrons showed up in order to learn more about EVs specifically and sustainability in general, many in attendance were current EV owners who came to check out different models for comparisons to their own.

Chevy Volt owner Johnathan Gould drove down from Brooksville just to check out Cadillac’s entry in the electric-hybrid category, the ridiculously sleek ELR.

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The Cadillac ELR.

“I wanted to check out the Caddy,” Gould said. “I own a Volt and know all about EVs, and the only thing between me and a Tesla is the ELR.”

Indeed, one of the organizers said a big reason people come to these type of events is to get familiar with the ever-expanding electric vehicle offerings.

“We have more than a dozen EVs people can drive in the Tampa Bay area right now,” Helda Rodriguez, president of the Oldsmar based NovaCharge said. “There’s something for everyone.”

“People are drawn to them because the vehicles cost very little to drive,” she added, noting that EVs typically cost about a quarter less to operate per year than a combustion-engine vehicle. “So getting the word out at events like this is very important. We have to change the way people buy cars.”

Tesla owner Dan Lyskawa of Valrico.

Tesla owner Dan Lyskawa of Valrico.

Speaking to a number of EV owners at the event, the word is already getting out, and they’re the ones leading the charge, so to speak.

Valrico resident Dan Lyskawa called his Tesla “the best car I’ve ever driven” and said cars like his and other EVs are going to change the face of the American roadway.

“It’s a peaceful, aggressive and athletic car, but at the same time, it’s silent,” he said of his 2015 Model S. “It’s a very unique combination and makes for a different mode of travel. It’s a game changer.”

Fellow EV owner Gould agreed.

“I told my friends, don’t ever drive electric unless you intend on buying one, because once you drive one, you’ll never want to drive your old car again,” he said.

“It’s not just an evolution, it’s a revolution.”

Check out this Photo Gallery from Oldsmar’s 2015 Drive Electric Tampa Bay event:

One Response
  1. Steve Furniss 3 years ago

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