Penfield’s annual EV car show brings community together for Earth day

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On April 20th, the Penfield Community Center hosted the largest Drive Electric Earth Month event in the state. The event was also a combination Arbor Day and Earth Day celebration, with organizations on site to give away native plants and seed packets. Drive Electric Month is a national campaign to share information about electric vehicles. Over 200 events have been scheduled nationwide throughout the month of April, with a dozen taking place in New York State. 

Penfield’s annual event began back in 2012, where the first EV charging station in Monroe County was unveiled. Since its humble beginnings with just a handful of cars, Penfield’s EV car show has grown into a significant display of all things electric, even including school buses and the occasional police cruiser. 

There was something for everyone at the event. In total, 65 EV owners registered to showcase their vehicles, which ranged from a vintage Volkswagen Beetle with a converted electric engine, to a variety of models from well-known brands like Tesla, Chevy, and Ford, to the new Fisker Ocean SUV. With almost 2 million vehicle miles driven by registered EV owners at the time of registration, and representatives from groups like the Tesla Owners Club of New York, visitors had access to some of the most knowledgeable members of the local EV community.

In addition, a handful of auto dealers were on-hand to highlight the various EV models available for purchase in the Rochester area. Dealers noted that public sentiment has changed over the years, whereas visitors to past shows were more likely to express concerns or skepticism, now they are more likely to answer questions about selecting the make and model that best suits a customer’s needs. 

More than just cars

Adding to the lineup were electric engines large and small. Industries like landscaping and construction also have a role to play in reducing emissions from the equipment they rely on for daily tasks. Brodner Equipment, which stocks zero emission lawn mowers, leaf blowers and other devices had two autonomous mowers on display (and for test drives!). Brodner currently supplies several public school districts in the County as well as the Rochester Institute of Technology with these lawn robots, which they explain aren’t just for courtyards. Newer models are equipped with GPS for easy setup, and larger models can even handle up to a 9 acre plot.

If you’re looking for construction equipment that doesn’t require fossil fuels, local supplier ADMAR has a wide selection of equipment on hand ranging all the way from hand tools to excavators. ADMAR was part of Penfield’s EV Show, but if you missed the show you can always find them at their main location off E. Henrietta Rd. near Monroe Community College. 

Rounding out the wide range of organizations and exhibitors were GreenSpark Solar, Fairport’s RV&E Bike Shop with a selection of climate-friendly e-bikes, the Southeast Area Coalition’s Tool Shed where members can borrow hand and electric-powered tools to get home projects done, and RS Motorsports out of Canandaigua with their fleet of zero emission golf carts. They’re not just for golf courses, owner Roberto Silva explained that the majority of sales actually come from residential buyers wanting to get around on their properties or in their neighborhoods.

EV enthusiasts and eco-minded members of the community can reach out to the event’s organizers at for any additional details or questions, and be sure to look ahead to the National Drive Electric Week in the fall, where the Rochester Institute of Technology will host its annual EV event. Dates TBD.        

Jill Bellenger is a Rochester native, with a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from SUNY-ESF and a MBA in sustainable business from Green Mountain College. She also holds certificates in horticulture from the Maryland Nursery and Landscape Association as well as architecture and sustainability from Harvard University. She is a LEED Green Associate, an accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council.

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