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NPR Science & Technology

Race Against Carbon Emissions: Cape Hosts First Electric Car Show

Eve Zuckoff
Electric cars on display at the electric car show in Hyannis

Several hundred people attended the first ever Electric Car Show at Barnstable Municipal Airport in Hyannis on Saturday.

The event was designed to introduce potential electric-car owners to current owners and their vehicles.

Attendees were also encouraged to test drive dozens of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

“[It’s] got four wheels. That's a good start,” quipped Mark Borgmann, a musician from Dennis who attended the show with his wife Patrice. They took a ride in the Chevy Volt, a plug-in hybrid with a backup gas tank and said their interest in the car has everything to do with conservation.

“We're concerned about the environment,” he said. “We've done things like put solar on our house… so [an electric car] would probably be the next logical step.”

Credit Eve Zuckoff
Cars were available for test-drives at the event.

The event was part of a larger effort to reduce the number of gas powered cars on the Cape—cars that contribute harmful carbon emissions that disrupt that world’s climate.

In Massachusetts, more than 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector.

Cape Air was among the many event sponsors and Sustainability Director Jim Wolf said the environmental difference between gas-powered cars and electric vehicles is stark.  

“You're talking about burning a thousand gallons of fuel a year to go 20,000 miles in [a gas-powered] car down to nothing.”

Anna Vandserspek, an organizer of the event with the Green Energy Consumers Alliance, said electric cars are taking hold everywhere, but they have a special place on the Cape. 

Credit Eve Zuckoff
Volunteers and event organizers checking people’s IDs to go on a test drive of electric cars.

“The Cape is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change,” she said. “So anything that we can do to mitigate and bring down carbon emissions is good. And electric vehicles are much more efficient than gas powered cars.” 

She says the show is part of an effort to increase the number of electric vehicles owners in Massachusetts from 15,000 to 300,000 by 2025.