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Revving up electric-car interest 

Most drivers haven't been behind the wheel of an electric car or plug-in hybrid, and the vehicles' most ardent supporters say that's an obstacle to getting more of them on the road.

Participants in the initiative known as the Rochester Electric Vehicle Accelerator see a way to address that issue. Over the next year, they want to hold at least 20 events where people can test-drive various plug-in hybrids and EV's sold by local dealers without going to the dealerships. And electrified vehicle owners are on hand to share their experience.

The goal is to get 1,000 potential car-buyers to try out the rides, says Ben Prochazka, vice president of the Electrification Coalition, the electric vehicle industry group heading up the effort. The City of Rochester and the Greater Rochester Area Clean Cities Coalition are also among the Accelerator partners.

click to enlarge The Rochester Electric Vehicle Accelerator wants to increase the number electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, such as this Chevrolet Volt hooked up to an at-home charger, that are on Rochester’s roads. - FILE PHOTO
  • FILE PHOTO
  • The Rochester Electric Vehicle Accelerator wants to increase the number electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, such as this Chevrolet Volt hooked up to an at-home charger, that are on Rochester’s roads.

The Accelerator's chief mission is to increase the number of people in Greater Rochester buying and driving EV's or plug-in hybrids. Right now, electrified vehicles make up .4 percent of the local auto market, but the accelerator aims to boost that to 1 percent over the next year, Prochazka says.

Test-drive events are just part of the strategy. The Accelerator is building marketing and outreach campaigns, as well as a website, to inform consumers about electric vehicles and things such as charging-station locations. The Accelerator has a goal of getting five organizations, such as companies or governments, to transition to electrified vehicle fleets. And it wants to get five new workplaces to offer charging stations to their employees.

"We want to move the market faster than it would otherwise move on its own," Prochazka says.


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