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Electric vehicle enthusiasts charged up at Wooster Earth Day event

WOOSTER – Rising gas prices got Don Williams into electric vehicles nearly 15 years ago.

And with gas averaging more than $3.80 a gallon across Ohio today — down from $4 just a few weeks ago — the Cleveland man is among the many who are touting the value of going electric.

Williams brought his Chevy Volt to Wooster over the weekend to display at the third annual Drive Electric Earth Day event at Local Roots on South Walnut Street.

He was glad to see other electric vehicle enthusiasts turn out for the event despite the cool and wet Saturday. 

“I’ve been very happy with my electric car experience,” Williams said.

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Electric vehicle (EV) ownership has increased more than five-fold nationwide in the last six years, and the city hosts five charging stations, including one at Local Roots.

“This event has become a staple at Local Roots. Each year we are seeing more and more people showing up, newly interested in EV technology,” said Local Roots Executive Director Adam Schweiterman.

Jill Hartmann (at right) of Wooster talks with Janet Burkhart about her BMW electric car.

Electric vehicle fans from across Ohio come to Wooster for Earth Day event

Drive Electric Earth Day drew fans from all over, including Cleveland, Youngstown and Columbus.

Olivia Loguidice of Columbus took a test ride on an electric bike provided by Bill Buchwalter of Ride On in Wooster.

“I live downtown in Columbus, and I think this would be a great way to get around town,” Loguidice said.

Bela Bokrossy of Wooster and his children Balikit and Flora enjoy a ride on an electric bike during the Drive Electric Earth Day activities Saturday at Local Roots in Wooster.

Bela Bokrossy of Wooster is an avid e-bike enthusiast and he enjoyed the opportunity to take his children, Balikit and Flora, along for a ride. Balikit, 10, called e-bikes fun.

“I use an e-bike a lot, but this is a little different than what I am used to,” Bokrossy said.

The showstopper: A Rivian

The Rivian, a fully electric pickup was considered the showstopper by many in attendance. The trucks have recently become available and are being delivered to customers.

Josh Chmielewski of Youngstown talks with electric car enthusiasts about what many called "the showstopper," the fully electric Rivian pickup, at the Drive Electric Earth Day event Saturday in Wooster.

Josh Chmielewski of Youngstown, who brought the Rivian to display, said it is the only fully electric truck on the market.

“This thing has double the horsepower of a truck,” Chmielewski said. “The most powerful pickup on the road today is the Ram TRX, but this has a solid 300 more horsepower than that.”

With more than 800 horsepower, the truck can tow 12,000 pounds, said Chmielewski. “It will eat Chevy and Ford trucks. It’s an amazing vehicle, it really is, designed and built in the United States.”