An event to raise awareness of electric bikes and vehicles is set for Sept. 30 in Rogers. Springdale-based nonprofit Northwest Arkansas Council will again host the second annual Drive Electric NWA at Pinnacle Hills Promenade.
The free event takes place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and includes six new sponsors and more than a dozen returning sponsors. The event will have a giveaway, children’s activities, food vendors and a DJ.
According to a news release, Drive Electric NWA will address all aspects of transportation that are powered by an electric battery. People who work for manufacturers, car dealerships, bike shops, car-charging companies and electric utilities will be at the event, taking questions on how Northwest Arkansas can prepare for an electric-powered future.
“Attendees can learn from people who own and sell electric cars and e-bikes,” said Rob Smith of the Northwest Arkansas Council, the event’s lead organizer. “They can explore how to embrace transportation powered by plugging in instead of fueling up.”
According to records from Benton and Washington counties, about 2,100 residents drive all-electric vehicles, and thousands of others drive plug-in hybrids that use electricity and gasoline.
Scott Hardin, spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, recently said 4,584 all-electric and 34,332 hybrid vehicles are registered in Arkansas, up 53% from the 2,997 all-electric vehicles and up 25% from the 27,441 hybrids registered at the end of May 2022. Pulaski County has the most electric vehicles registered in the state, while Benton and Washington counties have the second and third most, respectively. Still, the number of electric vehicles and hybrids is slightly more than 1% of the roughly 2.8 million vehicles registered in the state.
Wards Intelligence data shows electric and hybrid vehicles comprised 16% of U.S. light-duty vehicle sales in the second quarter of 2023. The decline in the models of non-hybrid internal combustion vehicles and the rise in the models of electric vehicles were attributed to the sales increase.
In 2021, the number of U.S. registered light-duty electric vehicles rose to 2.13 million, up from less than 100,000 in 2012, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The count includes battery-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles that are currently registered on-road vehicles.
“Electric vehicles have arrived, and Arkansas’ new car and truck dealers are at the forefront, leading the charge to prepare everyone for this automotive technological revolution,” said Greg Kirkpatrick, president of the Arkansas Automobile Dealers Association, a sponsor of Drive Electric NWA. “They understand their essential role in alleviating concerns among Arkansans, from range anxiety to navigating new vehicle features and ensuring easy access to warranty, recall and general repair services.”
Attendees who are at least 18 can register to win a $2,500 credit toward the purchase of electric cars, e-bikes or other items related to electric transportation from the event sponsors.
New sponsors include ACDI Energy Services, a division of ACDI focused on electric vehicle charging; Envirotech, an Arkansas-based provider of heavy-duty electric vehicles; Pedego Fayetteville, an e-bike retailer; Phat Tire, an area bike sales and repair shop; Seal Solar, a solar energy company; and Tesla, which operates a Tesla Service Center in Tulsa.
Some of the returning sponsors include Arkansas Clean Cities, Canoo, Carroll Electric, Evolve Auto, Flux Car Charging, Francis Energy, Lewis Automotive Group, Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission, Nunnally Chevrolet, Ozarks Electric, PeopleForBikes, Southwestern Electric Power Co., and the Tesla Owners Club of Arkansas.