Riverside resident Diana Howlett climbed into a Nissan Leaf and awaited the noise from the engine. She heard nothing like the usual roar that comes with turning the ignition. “It’s really smooth and quiet,” she said of her first experience driving an electric car. “I turned it on, and I didn’t even know it was turned on.”
She and husband Kyle Howlett came with friends to Riverside Electric Vehicle Day on Sunday. The event, which took place at UC Riverside’s Center of Environmental Research & Technology on Columbia Avenue, was co-hosted by the center, the Charge Ahead California campaign, and CALPIRG UCR student chapter. It featured several speakers, an array of electric cars from Fiats to BMWs to Smart cars the attendees could peruse and test drive, and information on rebates and financing options.
Riverside Councilman Mike Gardner said for more than seven years, his primary mode of transportation for getting to City Hall has been his Segway. Because of Southern California’s landscape, fine-particle air pollution from Los Angeles and Orange County is blown to the Inland Empire, making it tough to meet federal ozone standards, he said. Increasing the number of electric and other zero-emissions vehicles could provide much-needed relief, he said.
“That’s an immediate local benefit for us for our health,” Gardner said.
Events such as Riverside Electric Vehicle Day offer participants a chance to learn how beneficial these alternative modes of transportation are to the environment. Reducing pollution throughout Riverside will help us continue to be able to hold year-round outdoor activities and improve the quality of life of our city. Riverside Electric Vehicle Day exemplifies Seizing Our Destiny’s location of choice pillar by encouraging our residents to do their part in creating a healthy and livable city.
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