EV Ride-and-Drive Best Practices

April Bolduc, S Curve Strategies

S Curve Strategies has been hosting electric vehicle (EV) ride-and-drives for the past six years, two of which were named by Plug In America as the largest in the world.  We teamed up with this nonprofit focused on growing EV adoption worldwide, as well as with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Services and Reach Strategies, to host a webinar on how to generate the maximum impact when creating an EV ride-and-drive event.  It turned out to be one of Plug In America's most well-attended webinars.  

The key to EV ride-and-drives is knowing they should be part of a larger overarching strategy to grow adoption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a particular region.  Local and state policy goals often drive the need for transportation electrification, so every component as to how the region will increase clean cars on its freeways and neighborhood roads should be considered.  This includes home, workplace and public charging, fleet electrification, dealership training, electric rideshare and mass transit, autonomous vehicles, and utility rates. 

The best part about creating impactful EV ride-and-drives is that they are often the first time drivers experience what the hype is about.  There is no denying the rush of stepping on that pedal and feeling instant torque.  We hear drivers say time and time again that they've heard of the environmental benefits, but didn't realize how much fun they are to drive. 

Ride-and-Drive ROI

The first step in creating an impactful ride-and-drive is developing metrics that will demonstrate the event's return on investment (ROI).  These could include one or more of the following: 

  • Test drives taken

  • Number of driver surveys and satisfaction results

  • Sign-ups for EV programs, like utility EV rates

  • Traffic driven to website by marketing campaign

  • Number of dealerships participating

  • Number of EV models available to test drive

  • There were zero safety events

Before and after surveys are the often the best way to achieve strong ROI.  Ensure that all chosen metrics are specific and measurable.  Something that can be difficult to measure are broad goals like "increase EV adoption."

Top 3 Components

Over the years we've narrowed down three components that are part of the best EV ride-and-drives:

  1. EV Test Drives: Guests can easily choose the car they want to drive, have an EV expert to answer questions while they stand in line, and proceed safely along the designated route and back.

  2. EV Tailgate: Guests who drive an EV to the event should have designated parking and be encouraged to share their EV driving experience with other guests.

  3. EV Community: Guests can visit booths with charging vendors, hear EV 101 talks, learn about electric rates when charging at home, and maybe even try an electric bike for the first time.

Best locations

The best locations depend on your ROI metrics and your budget.  Public events require funding for marketing to drive guests to your event, and space large enough to keep the components at a safe distance from each other.  Private workplace ride-and-drives where the event is just for those employees and possibly their families can be marketed directly through the company's communication channels and therefore is much less expensive to market.  Strong ROI metrics can be achieved for both locations. 

Partners Help Get the Word Out

Community partner participation can add to the guest experience and leverage your marketing efforts.  Your local utility can provide experts on EV electricity rates and the costs to charge at home, EV rebate administrators can answer sign-up questions, fire rescue or police foundation can teach street safety to kids, local EV club can answer questions, dealership association can get the word out to dealerships, cleantech trade organizations can outreach to members.  In all cases, each organization listed can promote the event through their communications channels to stakeholders and members to leverage your marketing budget. 


2017 National Drive Electric Week: EV Day San Diego at San Diego Stadium 

2016 National Drive Electric Week: EV Day San Diego at San Diego Stadium


April Bolduc