It all started with an ad in the newspaper.
The year was 1979, and the United States was in the throes of its third gas crisis. Prices were at record highs, supplies were in peril, and there were long lines at the pump. It was obvious that it was time to find a better, cleaner, and less expensive way to get around.
Ray Nadreau was one of those people with a vision. He got together with some others and started circulating newspaper ads for a meeting of “people interested in electric cars.” This meeting was to take place at the University of Washington Applied Physics building with the hope of forming a new EV club.
Build it, and they will come. More than 40 people came to that first meeting, and SEVA was born.
Not long afterward, SEVA organized its first public show at Southcenter Mall in Tukwila. Three electric vehicles were on display.
SEVA pressed on, time passed, and interest in EVs grew. Soon, there were three EV car dealers: Mycon Motors sold Sebring-Vanguard’s little Comuta-Car from Florida, Steve Lough of Lough Motors sold the Lectric Leopard (Renault LeCar) from the original US Electricar of Massachusetts, and Sound Ford of Renton was selling the Jet Industry Ford Escort EV from Texas.
In the years that followed, most of the commercial dealerships dropped out of the business of selling EVs (Lough Motors was a notable holdout). Undaunted, the club continued to advocate for the electric car. In addition to the regular meetings, members took part in long-distance rallies as well as car shows at the Pacific Science Center, the Seattle International Auto Show, and even the Kingdome.
Through SEVA’s efforts over the last 20 years, tens of thousands of people who otherwise may not have even known the technology existed have seen EVs “up close and personal.” SEVA has grown and changed as well. In addition to its core of academics, subject matter experts, and engineers, SEVA is now embracing a new kind of member – the everyday driver. Major advancements in battery chemistry and charging are getting mainstream automakers back into the EV marketplace, and EVs are emerging from their “oddball” status and dominating the auto markets in quality, safety and reliability. The electric vehicle is truly coming of age,
SEVA continues to lead the way in winning over new converts to the technology, and helping state and local legislators write common-sense regulations for EVs and their place in the new century
For SEVA, the future lies ahead like an open road. We will look for ways to grow, learn, and innovate but it always will be with our core mission in mind: educate, demonstrate and proliferate electric vehicles.