Hedda Royce of Hollywood was decked out in all black as she quietly rode on her motorcycle Saturday into the Los Angeles State Historic Park with about 20 other riders from Hollywood Electrics.
Royce, 38, owns a sleek 2015 Zero SR electric motorcycle. It’s the first bike she’s ever purchased and it cost her $18,000. The quiet bike goes from 0-60 mph in about 3.6 seconds and gets about 130 miles per charge, Royce said.
“I went right to this,” said the rider. “I felt it was something I could get on and handle. I didn’t have to worry about a clutch and it was good for the environment and was perfect for me.”
All types of electric vehicles, like the motorcycle Royce was on, were out in force at the historic park on Saturday.
More than 1,000 people were expected for the free Los Angeles Department of Water and Power sponsored event — along with organizer Plug In America and other partners like Nissan — as part of National Drive Electric Week.
MK Campbell, Plug-In America’s National Drive Electric Week program manager, said the program deliberately runs from Sept. 9 through Sunday.
“We wanted two weekends to let everybody get a chance to participate,” Campbell said.
Joel Levin, executive director of the nonprofit organization Plug In America, added that the 278 total events for the week, which includes Los Angeles and others, are the most yet.
“Last year, we had a total of 120,000 people,” Levin said of the week, which is in its seventh year. “This will be probably significantly bigger.”
Organizers said before the event that it increases awareness of electric vehicle availability and showcases their benefits, including helping the environment, lowering fuel costs, reducing petroleum dependence and integrating renewable energy into the grid.
Jeff Bonthuis, 67, of Long Beach, owns a 2016 Ford C-Max Hybrid but was checking out a sleek 2017 Bolt EV LT for sale.
The Long Beach resident said he didn’t feel electric vehicles were completely mainstream yet because “if everybody knew about it, everybody would have one. This is definitely the way things are going. I don’t think anything will stop it.”
Bonthius added there is a sharp increase in hybrids and electric vehicles compared with 10 years ago.
“It’s a good trend,” the Long Beach resident said. “We can all breathe easier for that.”
Ricardo Netro, 33, of Hawthorne, owns a 2012 Kia Optima but was at the event to research and learn more about the electric vehicles — he was checking out a 2018 Nissan Leaf — to purchase one later.
“I definitely think they’re the future,” said Netro of the vehicles, which he wants to make sure will accommodate his wife and two children. “I’m paying for gasoline and it’s definitely not good for the environment,” he said, adding financial incentives also help.
The event also featured speakers including Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl who mentioned that Metro adopted a policy to convert Metro’s entire fleet of 2,200 buses to zero-emission vehicles by 2030.
“Yes, that’s a good thing,” Kuehl said to applause from the audience while other attendees visited informational booths or test drove electric vehicles.
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