Editor's note: Today's Street Smarts column is from Cheryl Schmitt, transportation coordinator for the City of Santa Cruz Public Works Department. Last year, she purchased a Th!nk City fully electric vehicle. In celebration of her one year anniversary with her first EV, Schmitt shares a few insights. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 420-5187. It’s been a little over a year since I bought my plug-in electric car. I haven’t purchased one dollar of gasoline for it, haven’t spent anything for oil changes or tune-ups and I re-charge the batteries for less than a dollar at home or for free in downtown Santa Cruz. Honestly, I almost feel guilty. Almost. But I am exonerated by using solar electricity, producing zero emissions and creating no noise as I quietly zip around town. Now, the zipping part. EVs can bring out very childish behavior. When I’m at a stop light with a big honking truck pulled up next to me I am so tempted to leave him in the dust when the light turns green. I saw him chuckling at my little toy car. Toy, huh? You just don’t know the power of torque! But my inner adult has overruled my inner teenager’s desire to show off. I do believe electric cars are going to make it this time around. They're cheap to drive, clean to drive and fun to drive. I even gave my gas car away. I really don’t need it. On those occasions when I go out of town beyond my 100 mile range, I borrow a gas car. But then, I am less car-centric than most folks. I was a bike person for many years. I love flexibility and freedom. We have really burdened ourselves with car culture – clogged roads, clogged air and clogged arteries sitting in traffic. The electric car is not a solo solution to that problem. I’m sitting in traffic now; before I whizzed by those cars on my bike and I’m not getting the exercise I used to get. There is no solo solution. No magic bullet. A little bit of help here and there adds up. We all do our part. Charged up at EVs Ecology Action is hosting public workshops around the Monterey Bay to teach the benefits and savings of owning electric vehicles. Called the “Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan Public Workshop,” the workshops invite electric vehicle owners, business owners, land owners or developers, government officials to weigh in on making sure the region is ready for plug-in electric vehicles. The workshops will be 6-7:30 p.m.: Aug. 19 at the Hollister Community Center’s San Benito Room, 300 West Street, Hollister; and Sept. 11 at the Casanova Oak Knoll Park Center, 735 Ramona Ave., Monterey. Meanwhile, a “Free Electric Vehicle Workshop” for the plug-in electric curious will be 6-7:30 p.m. Sept. 19 at the Ecology Action office, 877 Cedar St, Suite 240, Santa Cruz. For information, visit http://www.mbeva.org. To RSVP, email Emily at email@example.com.
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