National Plug-In Electric Day at the Capitol

Is now the time to switch to an electric vehicle? Find out on National Plug-In Vehicle Day

National Plug-In Vehicle Day is on Saturday, September 28th, and folks from the Twin Cities and beyond will be heading to the Capitol to see the cars and learn more. We caught up with Jukka Kukkonen, owner of PlugInConnect, LLC—an EV market and technologies consulting company in Minnesota—for the details and thoughts for those interested in owning a car. See the interview below, and click here to get event details.

Joel Haskard: What will people see if they come to the Twin Cities National Plug-In Vehicle Day on Saturday, September 28th at the State Capitol?

Jukka Kukkonen: Many people are now considering purchasing or leasing a plug-in vehicle (PEV), and this event is designed to give them a rare opportunity to see all the different models and colors and option combinations in one place. Attendees will also have an opportunity to gain first-hand information by speaking with the owners of these cars to hear about their experiences. We are expecting over 100 owners to bring their vehicles to this event and be available to share their experiences in owning, driving and charging PEVs in Minnesota. We will also have a big public charging infrastructure map on display and utility company representatives sharing information about their renewable energy programs and PEV charging rates. All in all, a fun and very informative event for anyone interested in plug-in vehicles .

JH: It seems there are a lot of exciting things happening in the electric vehicle (EV) world these days… What are a few things you think people ought to know?

JK: Plug-in vehicle (PEV) sales are picking up speed and last month’s sales broke all the records. Well over 100,000 people in the US are already driving PEVs and we will be close to 200,000 at the end of this year. Even though PEVs have been available in MN for just a little over a year, many Minnesotans have already switched to driving electric. People are just learning how fun and engaging these vehicles are to drive. Owners also seem to find overnight charging at home much more convenient than stopping at gas stations, not to mention the savings on energy costs and lower overall emissions due to the high efficiency of PEVs. Everyone that I have talked to just loves their new wheels.

JH: What do you tell people who think that getting an electric vehicle might be too expensive?

JK: Vehicle manufacturers have been very aggressive with PEV pricing in the last 12 months, because they realized that the more people they get behind the wheel of PEVs now, the faster their sales will grow in the future. Leasing offers are especially attractive right now, many of them starting around $200/month and when you combine that with very low maintenance needs and energy costs (about $30/1000 miles) you can, in most cases, actually save money by switching to electric.

JH: If people can’t make it to the National Plug-in Vehicle Day event, what are other resources for them to learn more about EVs?

JK: One good way to learn more is to get involved with the MN Plug-in Vehicle Owners Circle and stop by one of our future meetings or events. More info can be found here. For those who like to do their own homework, the resources page on my website will provide a good link list to start with.

JH: And finally, what do you drive and how do you like it?

JK: My wife and I have leased a 2012 Nissan Leaf since last July and driven almost 12,000 miles with it. Truthfully speaking, it is my wife who has put most of the miles on our Leaf and she is loving it. She uses it for her daily commute of about 30 miles and we also use it for most of our driving during weekends. We have a second car (our gas guzzling Toyota Prius) for long-distance trips, but the Leaf is our primary car. We have been very impressed with the driving experience it provides. Electric vehicles are fun to drive, smooth and quiet, and their high torque—even at low speeds—provides instant accelerator response, and also better performance in snow.

Learn more about PlugInConnect or check out details about the upcoming event.