West Virginia EV Sociability Run

June 7, 2014, 10:00 AM, Charles Town, WV

WV_EV_Trip_Photos01Take an electric road trip and spend the day (or weekend) visiting picturesque towns nestled among rolling hills in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1914 Electric Sociability Run on June 7-8, 2014 in Charles Town, WV.

The event will kick-off Saturday morning, June 7th at 10:00 AM under the huge solar canopy at American Public University System (APUS) in Charles Town, WV. There are 14 Level 2 charging stations in the Solar Array Parking Lot at APUS. The solar panels generate enough electricity to power nearly 2 million EV miles each year.

One of the goals of the first Electric Sociability Runs was to prove the “country-running ability” of electric cars to show the public (and even EV owners themselves) that their use was not confined to the city. Today we would call it promoting range confidence. Here is a quote from a 1915 article titled “Educational Value of Sociability Runs:”

We have so long been accustomed to thinking of the electric as the town car, par excellence, that it has not occurred to us that it will give just as delightful and satisfactory service on rural trips in this day, when charging facilities have become so well developed and numerous.

Waverly Sociability Run

We plan to revive the spirit of proving the “country-running ability” of EVs by traveling to Wild and Wonderful West Virginia to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the 1914 Electric Sociability Run. It may be a bit of a road trip, but the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia is not as far as you may think (64 miles from Washington, DC and 40 miles from Dulles Airport). Calculate your driving distance here on Google Maps.

In addition to the 14 charging stations at APUS in Charles Town, there are many charging options along the way, listed on www.plugshare.com. There are Tesla Superchargers in Hagerstown, MD (27 miles to the north), CHAdeMO stations in Frederick, Chantilly and Dulles Town Center in Virginia (30-43 miles away), and five Level 2 charging stations at the Park & Ride lot near Purcellville, VA (only 21 miles away).

We have an entire weekend of activities planned and you can choose to participate in all or part of them. The main event will begin Saturday morning at 10:00 AM at APUS. At around noon, cars will head off towards Shepherdstown, with some continuing on to Harpers Ferry and Hagerstown, MD. After touring the area, we’ll regroup in Charles Town for dinner at local restaurants including options at Charles Town Races. Some will stay overnight and enjoy a group breakfast in the morning at the Mountain View Diner in Charles Town.

The area offers exciting attractions, such as the Washington Heritage Trail (parts which we will be travelling on), Farmers Markets, the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, Bloomery Plantation Distillery, Historic Shepherdstown (the oldest town in the state), Shepherdstown Museum, Washington Rural Heritage Museum (current home of the Norwalk Underslung Six car), Antietam National Battlefield, Hagerstown Premium Outlets, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Walking Tours and Ghost Tours, to name a few.

1914 was probably the peak of popularity for the first wave of electric vehicles before gasoline cars took over. A century from now, 2014 may be looked upon as the pivotal year that EV charging infrastructure that enabled longer journeys meant the beginning of the end for Internal Combustion Engines. Let’s make history again by driving our electric vehicles beyond the horizon to prove that the earth isn’t flat and that EVs are here to stay this time!

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