Nat’l Drive Electric Week
in Las Vegas

Mark D Larsen
September 30, 2023

Want to see my V-8?
(Click to enlarge)

The time of year rolled around once again for the National Drive Electric Week festivities. I have attended these EV’ents in Las Vegas since 2012, the year I finally bought my first EV. Indeed, the only year I missed was in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As soon as the webpage for this year’s EV’ent went live, I was the first participant to register to attend. By the time the gathering was imminent, 91 participants had joined me, volunteering to showcase their 41 different models of EV! I had never seen so many registered before, and was impressed that more citizens are starting to transition away from fossil fuels. Below is my usual annotated summary of gathering.

NOTE: You can click on the following photos to enlarge them, and the movies to play them.

I very rarely charge my EV to 100%, but decided to do so on this trip so that I could use more of my free, clean rooftop solar kWh, and thus pay less as a Supercharger to return home.

This is what the energy graph predicted for when I arrived in Las Vegas. I had planned to stop by a Hyundai dealer to take another test drive in an Ioniq 5 Limited before the NDEW celebration kicked off at noon.

Shortly after leaving, I recorded these clips to clarify where I was going on this trip.

I really have to hand it to Olivia Burns for all her hard work organizing this year's NDEW. She is the Environmental Specialist in the Clark County Department of Environment and Sustainability. Apparently the county government has now determined to actively promote renewables and electric vehicles, and thus they were more than happy to sponsor the EV'ent. Kudos to Olivia for a job well done!

Throughout the day Olivia had arranged for various speakers to give presentations on electric vehicle topics.

Here is the agenda of the presentations scheduled. I'm sure that consumers who are just now considering giving up their tailpipes found the talks informative and useful.

I had a nostalgic moment when I spotted a Nissan LEAF nearly identical to the one I used to own.

I really miss my LEAF's hatchback. The trunk I now have is deep, but simply cannot accommodate tall, bulky cargo.

What amazed me the most about this LEAF was that the owner had installed a new Nissan 62 kW battery in it. The guess-o-meter thus displays a truly impressive (albeit exaggerated) range. I wish that were possible when I had my LEAF, as I never would have sold it.

I was amused to see a Chevrolet Spark…

…parked next to its successor Chevrolet Bolt.

There was Jaguar i-Pace on display.

I thought its interior looked comfortable and inviting.

This was the first time I had seen a Volvo C40.

My only objection to its interior is that it doesn't have side-by-side cup holders.

I have to admit that the Cadillac Lyric is a real head-turner.

Its interior was well designed and luxurious, but… it also has the same front-to-back cup holders as the Volvo. Tsk.

I really like the Mustang Mach-e, but I hope Ford will improve its DC charging speed and curve in the future.

Its interior is appealing, but I have to say that the seats seemed uncomfortably harder than I remember from my test drive in one.

If it weren't for the huge "kidneys" on its faux grill, I would like the look of the BMW iX.

I must admit that its seats looked very comfortable.

There was a Subaru Solterra there. We really liked our two Subarus in the past, but —alas!— its range is simply inadequate for long distance roadtrips.

I can't say that I am a fan of its interior either, as the size and shape of its console and touchscreen seem like an obtrusive afterthought.

Many attendees were interested in the Rivian models, especially the R1S with three rows of seats to accommodate 7 passengers.

I liked its interior. It struck me as bright, functional, and inviting, although I didn't get a chance to check out its cupholders.

There were several F-150 Lightings on display. The owner of this one told me that he is one of 500 owners that Ford has selected to test out charging from Tesla Superchargers via an adapter and special app. I can't wait to hear more of the results of that Beta testing!

In many ways, the Lightning is similar to its ICE counterparts, with all the usual functions that would appeal to pickup truck owners, like a pull-out step and grab handle to climb into the bed.

There were some older but goodies at the gathering, like this RAV4 EV. Toyota should have continued to produce, improve, and sell them, as its latest bZ4X EV has the same pitiful range as its sibling Subaru Solterra.

I was delighted to again see this i-MiEV there. I had met the owners many years ago, at the 2013 NDEW. It is not only still going strong, but now has a new battery, courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors. I had test driven an i-MiEV twice, and really liked the top-of-the line version at EVS26 in Los Angeles.

The Lucid on display probably boasts the longest range of any EV there —but with a price to match.

What I find odd about that Lucid is that the front seats are dark…

…yet the rear seats are light. Not sure of the reason for that interior mismatch decision.

The gathering drew to a close at 4:00, with many thanks to the EV'ent’s sponsors.

I then drove to the LINQ Superchargers, arriving with 121 miles still left in the battery.

It took 17 minutes to recharge the battery to my usual 80%, which predicted 236 miles of range, more than enough to get home.

I pulled into my driveway with 83 miles left, having driven 126 miles since the Supercharge.

The energy graph showed that I had used many more miles than was predicted, likely because of headwinds and driving 80 mph on the I-15 freeway.

I really enjoyed this year’s NDEW celebration, as there were many more EVs, owners, and attendees than ever before. Those numbers are likely a result of the fact that the Clark County government agreed to head up the EV’ent, and that more and more consumers are becoming interested in electric vehicles. My only disappointment was then I didn’t get to see my good friend Stan Hanel, a very active EV advocate who had organized these gatherings ever since I had first participated in them. Of course, he had told me at Drive Electric Earth Day last April that he was due to retire, so I hope he is now thoroughly enjoying his Golden Years somewhere fun —and tailpipe free.