Wednesday, October 2, 2013


TUCSON PLUGS IN 2013 was held at Bookman’s Sports Exchange, 3330 E. Speedway, Tucson, on Sunday, September 29, 9:00AM to 1:00PM.
This was southern Arizona's contribution to NATIONAL PLUG IN DAY (NPID) 2013, the 3rd annual electric vehicle (EV) awareness celebration sponsored by Plug In America, the Sierra Club and the Electric Auto Association. All involved and in attendance this year agreed that the event was a grand success.

98 cities and municipality across the United States, Mexico, Canada and The Netherlands hosted their own NPID events in late September and early October of 2013 (national organizers nominally chose September 29th as the “official” day for 2013, but left it to the discretion of individual city organizers to pick the best dates for their locale.) Tucson has participated each year since the inception of NATIONAL PLUG IN DAY in 2011 and we have locally branded our NPID as TUCSON PLUGS IN each year.

Local organization of the annual TUCSON PLUGS IN event is conducted on a volunteer basis by members of TEVA2, the Tucson Electric Vehicle Association, an Electric Auto Association (EAA) chapter, whose origins in the promotion of EVs in southern Arizona dates back to the 1990s.

In brief, TUCSON PLUGS IN - and, by extension, NATIONAL PLUG IN DAY - is an opportunity for the general public - free of charge - to come out and see the latest in EV and plug-in vehicle technology. Both private vehicle owners and local auto dealerships are invited to display examples of electric cars, electric motorcycles and e-bikes. Additionally a variety of sustainable and environmentally-responsible energy technology is shown and represented by individuals, non-profits, businesses, utilities and government organizations.

Enjoy the above video, filmed and produced by Arizona Public Media for its KUAT-TV / PBS Channel 6  "AZ Illustrated Nature" newsmagazine.

A midday "action" shot from underneath the PV awning, showing a collection e-bikes in the foreground and Jerry Asher's
"Pruck," a Toyota Prius converted into a short bed pickup truck and electrically modified for plug-in hybrid electric operation. 
Rick Raio, from BMW of Tucson, helped us obtain an exclusive showing of a pre-production BMW i3 for its Arizona debut.
Barbara Warren (left,) representing Physicians For Social Responsibility and the Rincon Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club,
was one of many who came over to examine the car up close that day
There aren't too many "company cars" that have the panache of Bruce Brimacombe's GoE3 Tesla Roadster. Tucson's first
DC Quick Charger is seen to the left and the Roadster is being charged - via adapter - from the Level 2 EVSE to the right.
Event planning for TUCSON PLUGS IN 2013 began in earnest in the late spring. It became known at about that time that the soon-to-be-opened Bookman’s Sport’s Exchange store would not only feature (like all Bookman’s locations) EVSE infrastructure, but that this particular store would be featuring Tucson’s first Level 3 (440v DC) Quick Charger. Local Nissan Leaf owners would be glad to know that they could finally use the CHAdeMO plug that came with their cars and recharge to 80% battery capacity in about half and hour.

But this new charger, installed by Scottsdale-
based GoE3, would also be one of the very first in the United States to have a plug for the up-and-coming SAE-CCS Quick Charge standard, which is to be featured on 2014 model year European and American built EVs. With knowledge that the Sports Exchange would also be witnessing the installation of a 50 kW solar array of SunPower panels, installed by Tucson-based Technicians For Sustainability, we instinctively new that this had to be the location for TUCSON PLUGS IN 2013.

The Sports Exchange officially opened for business in early June, with PV panels already in place by then and the charger finally becoming fully operational by mid August. Most of our exhibitors let us know their intention to be involved by early September. But there was one more pleasant surprise in store for us that appeared less than two weeks before the 29th. 

One of our event planning committee members, Jeff Blundell, was beginning the process of purchasing an example of the new up-and-coming BMW i3 electric from BMW of Tucson. With production vehicles not slated to be available for sale in the U.S. until the spring of 2014, we figured the best we could expect was a stack of color brochures to hand out on September 29th. In fairly short order, though, we were apprised that a pre-production example of the i3 might be available for display.

While it initially seemed doubtful that we could trump any number of larger California cities in getting an exclusive like this for NATIONAL PLUG IN DAY, we finally learned just 11 days before the 29th that the appearance of a pre-production i3 - one of only two, apparently, in the entire continental U.S. - was official and that this car would be the crowning jewel at TUCSON PLUGS IN 2013.



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Monday, July 22, 2013


(Soon to be an archive of 2011 and 2012 events with narrative) 

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Sunday, October 16, 2011: the first Tucson Plugs In was held at the Bookman's Campbell/Grant location.
Sunday, September 23, 2012: the second Tucson Plugs In was held behind the historic Arizona Inn