East Tennessee Clean Fuels, with the help of Hancock County Schools, held an educational Ride and Drive outreach event in the upper parking lot of the Hancock County Elementary School on Wednesday, March 15th from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm ET. The event was shared on websites for Drive Electric Tennessee, the Rural Reimagined project, and Plug-in America’s National Drive Electric Week. ETCF brought two project vehicles – a Ford F-150 Lightning and a Chevy Bolt EUV – to the event, and a volunteer brought her Tesla Model 3.

The number of participants for the event totaled 18 individuals, with two from the ETCF team, one from First Tennessee Development District, and two from the Harvey Broome chapter of the Sierra Club. It is estimated another 25 individuals were exposed to the event via the roadway that ran by the parking lot. Participants approached the team with some apprehensions, but most were willing to ask questions, listen, and have an opportunity to learn more about electric vehicles, charging options, and the scope of the project. The Lightning drew the larger crowd, with trucks being a more popular vehicle in the event area. Several discussions were also had about the possibility of installing a charger in the area, with a few members of the local power company in attendance.

Two participants were able to test drive electric vehicles as part of the event, and at least three others were given rides in them. All expressed positive sentiments after, which helped improve their overall views of electric vehicles. The participants seemed pleased that we were providing outreach to their community, and several even expressed interest in participating in the vehicle loan portion of the Rural Reimagined project. We look forward to continuing work with this community.