C3 launches new initiative to promote electric vehicles

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The nonprofit Charlottesville Climate Collaborative (C3) has been helping local residents improve the energy efficiency of their homes and businesses, and now it's taking that message to the streets, literally.

C3 has partnered with Carter Myers Automotive for an initiative called Driving Climate Solutions. The goal is to give residents the chance to drive an electric vehicle (EV).

"People are a lot more likely to adopt purchasing an EV as their next car if they've been behind the wheel and they feel comfortable," said Susan Kruse, executive director of C3.

She says the Driving Climate Solutions initiative will offer various local people the opportunity to drive a 2019 Nissan Leaf for a day. She says that will help dispel some misconceptions about electric vehicles.

"It's a lot of fun. It's a very solid vehicle," Kruse said.

CBS19 had the chance to try it out with Carter Myers Automotive Vice President Peter Borches. The ride is silent and smooth, and the car has all the gadgets you'd expect in a luxury vehicle like heated seats and a back-up camera.

It also has something called regenerative braking.

"If you're not asking for acceleration, the car is decelerating a little bit but actually heating up the brakes and creating more energy for your ride," Borches said.

The 2019 Leaf has a 235-mile range on a single charge, and Borches says charging stations are popping up everywhere.

"It continues to become easier and locations more available," he said.

Borches hopes the C3 project will convince more people to consider an electric car for their next purchase.

"I've seen dozens and dozens of times, the first reaction people have is, ‘Wow, this is a real car, this has real potential for what I do in my daily life,’" Borches said.

The first opportunity to try out the Nissan Leaf and learn more about electric vehicles, in general, happens Sept. 15 at an Electrify Your Ride event at the Sprint Pavilion sponsored by C3 and another local nonprofit Generation 180. For more information on that event, click on the link in the Related Links box.

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