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Test drive an electric vehicle Oct. 18

If you are thinking about your carbon footprint and making the change to an electric vehicle (EV), then mark your calendar for a fun experience to learn more and test drive an EV at the Medical School’s main campus in Worcester.

The “Ride and Drive” event is set for Wednesday Oct.18 (rain date Oct.19) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Library parking lot off North Road. It’s open to all community members at no charge.

The event is hosted by UMass Chan Medical School and co-organized by Recharge Massachusetts, a non-profit public/private partnership sponsored by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

“Exhaust from commuting to campus in gas or diesel powered vehicles is a big part of our carbon footprint,” said Kortni Wroten, sustainability and energy manager at UMass Chan. “We are doing what we can to encourage alternate transportation options and we are going to add EV charging capacity on campus this fiscal year. So, we thought this event would help answer a lot of questions and promote the idea of considering an EV.”

Several models of EVs will be available for test drives. Electric bicycles will also be on campus for a test pedal.  A number of vendors and public agencies will participate to provide information about EV rebate programs, home charging solutions as well as solar and green energy systems.

Volunteers needed

Volunteers are invited to participate in the program in two ways. “We need people to help with registration at the event. And also, we are inviting people who already drive an EV to bring their vehicle to campus, show it off, and talk about their own experience using it,” Wroten said.

To sign up as a general volunteer, to help with registration and other activities, please complete this Recharge Volunteer Form  If you would like to bring your own vehicle for display, please complete this Recharge EV Owner Interest Form.

Because Recharge Massachusetts is a non-profit organization, UMass Chan employees are eligible to apply for paid time off (PTO) to volunteer for the Ride and Drive event. (All benefited employees are eligible for 16 hours of paid volunteer time off annually.)  Prior approval from a supervisor is required for all volunteer PTO requests. To begin that process complete this PTO form and follow the instructions printed thereon.

Rides will be available until 2 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. The cars will be parked in the Library Lot off North Road. The test drives will start and end at that location.

“This experience is different from going into an auto dealership just to try out an EV,” Wroten said. “It’s a no-pressure experiential learning event, right here on campus.”