At the turn of the 21st century, hybrids were brand new, and car customers were curious but wary.
More than a dozen years later, models like the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight have become old hat. Electric vehicles are what's turning heads these days.
The fully electric Nissan Leaf and the extended-range Chevrolet Volt were the first electric cars to achieve widespread distribution in the U.S., with competing models from other automakers following in short order. Though the EV-averse tried to dismiss such rides as novelties, sales have been steadily climbing: as of August 31, Nissan had sold 14,123 units of the Leaf, and Chevrolet had sold around 15,000 Volts. Combined with other models, that means that just shy of 60,000 plug-in vehicles have been purchased in 2013.
It's becoming increasingly clear that electric cars aren't going anywhere. And so, the public has become increasingly intrigued and interested in them.
If you count yourself among that number and you live near San Diego, California, you'll have the chance to get an up-close-and-personal look at electric cars the weekend of September next weekend at Electric Vehicle Day.
The fun takes place on Saturday, September 28, from 10:00am to 3:00pm in the parking lot of Trader Joe's (of course) at Liberty Station, 2401 Truxtun Road.
NOTE: An earlier version of this story suggested that the date was this coming Saturday, September 21. The event will actually take place a week from this Saturday, on September 28.
Visitors will have the chance to see and drive rides like the Chevy Spark EV, Chevy Volt, Fiat 500e, Ford C-Max Energi, Ford Focus EV, Ford Fusion Energi, Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S, Toyota Prius Plug-In, and Toyota RAV4 EV. You'll also be able to cruise around in the BMW i3 -- though sadly, only as a passenger.
If you're the thorough type, you can also learn more about charging options -- what systems are available and how much installation might run. And San Diego Gas & Electric will provide info on saving money by charging your new electric car at off-peak hours.
For additional details, visit PlugInDay.org. There, you can register for the event (though it's not required), volunteer to help out, or ask questions of the organizers.