Test drive 16 electric vehicles at Puget Sound Energy events

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Plus, a statewide tax credit begins Thursday on EV purchases

Updated 3:58 pm PDT, Tuesday, July 30, 2019

King County is making it a little easier to find the electric vehicle that’s right for you starting this week.

A Ride and Drive event on Friday, Aug. 2 at Southcenter Mall will give attendees a chance to drive one (or several) of 16 electric vehicles to help them choose one they like.

Then, if they decide to buy a vehicle, a new state tax credit that kicks in Thursday, Aug. 1 will offer up to $2,500 credit toward a new electric vehicle, or up to $1,600 for a used EV.

“Transportation is one of Washington state’s largest sources of carbon emissions,” Heather Mulligan, Puget Sound Energy’s manager of energy renewable programs, told SeattlePI. “Electric vehicles can go a long way in addressing that and being a big part of our clean energy future.”

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The event on Friday near Southcenter Mall‘s movie theater from 1-6 p.m. will feature 16 vehicles, including makes like Tesla and Jaguar alongside cars like the BMW i3 and Volkswagen E-Golf. Driving tests will be performed on a first come, first served basis. Depending on availability, test drives of multiple vehicles may be possible for visitors. It’s free to attend and no reservation is required.

Another event is also scheduled on Sept. 14 at the Capital Mall in Olympia.

A 2011 Nissan Leaf, the first mass-market electric vehicle to hit the streets, is also on the roster of vehicles to be at the events. It has 150,000 miles on it and helps demonstrate how far electric vehicles have come.

“One of the biggest advancements has been around the range of electric vehicles,” Mulligan said. “Older models didn’t go as far. Today, it’s really not uncommon to see EVs with ranges anywhere from 150 to over 200 miles.”

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Infrastructure in cities has also improved. It’s much easier to find charging stations than it was years ago, and some charging stations allow drivers to charge in as little as 15-30 minutes.

“You see more charging stations at workplaces, multi-family complexes and more public charging stations,” Mulligan said.

The initiative beginning Aug. 1 is one way the state is trying to reach its goal of 50,000 EVs on the road by 2020.