ENCINITAS — With the popularity and increasing affordability of electric cars coupled with the rising gas prices, alternative transportation isn’t just a passing fad. In fact, getting around on scooters, bicycles and an increase in walking along with using electric automobiles is being celebrated by the Downtown Encinitas MainStreet Association’s first “E-Mobility” event.
As part of the Cottonwood Creek Environmental Film Series, the merchant group will host a free screening of “Wherever You Want to Go” at Pacific Station’s underground parking structure with locally owned Stellar Solar providing the power for the movie screen.
“We love to be a part of these events and get to interact with the community,” said marketing director David Boylan.
The documentary, a first release for BMW Documentaries, and the preceding alternative transportation showcase will set the stage for a brief panel discussion about technology, culture, community and the relationship to the future of mobility.
“We clearly can’t sustain our infrastructure to accommodate all of the cars we’ve got on the road now and will have in the very near future,” said John Duffy, a Leucadian who regularly bikes to work. “I think it goes beyond electric cars and into how we’ve created communities that are so sprawled out without public transportation that you almost have to have a car to get anywhere,” he said. “But if you’ve got to get a car and you don’t drive much then electric is a better option.”
The alternative transportation showcase will feature the new Nissan Leaf, Toyota RAV-4EV and hopefully a few more specialty cars that run entirely on electricity.
“If I could get any sports car it would be a Tesla,” said Jeremy Bennett, 16. His preference for an all-electric high performance vehicle surprised his father Benjamin.
“It just goes to show you that kids today are so much more conscientious about the environment than we were,” he said smiling proudly at his son. “I would have said a Ferrari, but then again that does burn a lot of gas.”
Art Larson of SDG&E said the utility company has worked towards ensuring the existence of charging structures to accommodate the increasing demand for electric car.
“We’ve been closely monitoring the popularity of these vehicles in our service areas and will continue to do so,” Larson said. “We don’t anticipate there will be an issue or a need to build new power plants,” he said. With economic incentives to charge cars at night, Larson said it is the equivalent of three to four cents a mile.
Carris Rhodes, program assistant at the association, said the alternative vehicle and electric car participants are very enthusiastic about their modes of transportation.
“People definitely build a lifestyle around what they drive,” said John Jacoby, an urban planner from Seattle, WA. He likens the gradual switch from more traditional automobiles on the road to more bikes and other forms of transportation as a shift in style. “It’s hip to ride your bike, people don’t look at you like you’re a hippie if you drive an electric car anymore, something has changed in our collective consciousness about the way we get around,” he said. “Ultimately, I think it’s a good shift.”
The car show will take place underground in the garage below Pacific Station beginning at 5:50 p.m. The film will start at 7:45 p.m. The evening will conclude with a panel discussion from 8:30 to 9 p.m.
Submissions for electric vehicles to participate in the showcase will be considered until May 23. For more information, visit encinitas101.com or call (760) 943-1950.