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National Plug In Day comes to Santa Rosa

Odie Weir asked the car salesman to pop open the little gas-cap-type door so he could see the strange-looking plug for charging the 2013 Toyota RAV4 all-electric vehicle.

Weir, of Angwin, was checking out the new vehicle at a special gathering of car dealers and electric vehicle owners Sunday at Santa Rosa's Coddingtown Shopping Center.

"I want to be less dependent on the Middle East," Weir said of his interest in the electric vehicles. He's looked at hybrid autos, "but I cannot get myself convinced to get anything with a gas engine."

Sunday's event in Santa Rosa was one of 60 around the country for National Plug In Day.

Held in the center's parking lot near two new electric charging stations, the gathering gave the public the chance to see new vehicles from three automakers and to talk with 10 owners of various electric models.

"This is the future," said Alex Vito, the Freeman Toyota salesman who showed Weir the RAV4.

Along with the Toyota model, dealers made the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf available for test drives.

Alan Soule, president of the North Bay Chapter of the Electric Auto Association, said one of the best ways to learn about electric vehicles is to talk to someone who owns one. That was one reason why his fellow members showed up Sunday.

"We want to get people exposed to electric vehicles," said Soule, who owns a Tesla Roadster.

He insisted his members won't go back to gas-powered cars.


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