2022 Drive Electric Award Recipients announced by Plug In America 


October 14th, 2022

Contact: Derrick Vargas, Plug In America


 Leaders in the electric vehicle movement include Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, plus activists, event organizers and more 


LOS ANGELES – Plug In America has announced the recipients of the 2022 Drive Electric Awards. Now in their fifth year, the awards honor individuals and organizations that have demonstrated inspiring leadership in the electric vehicle movement. Plug In America will host a ceremony to present the awards in Manhattan Beach, California, on Thursday, October 27th.  

“EVs are now moving into the mainstream in the United States. More and more, you can see them in every town from coast to coast. That would not be possible without leaders such as these in the EV movement,” said Tonia Buell, awards committee chair. “We are so excited to present the Drive Electric Awards to these outstanding individuals and organizations.”

Each year, Plug In America invites its members to submit nominations. Winners for each category are selected by a nominating committee and approved by the Plug In America Board of Directors.


The 2022 Drive Electric Award winners are:


EV Leadership Award
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg – Since taking the helm at the USDOT, Secretary Buttigieg has overseen a remarkable effort to make electric transportation accessible to all Americans. He has done so by leading the federal government’s planning and development of robust charging infrastructure that is now supported by all 50 state departments of transportation as they implement the electric vehicle provisions of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Thanks to the Secretary’s leadership, the nation is on the cusp of a national electric vehicle charging network that will help meet the quickly growing demand for electric vehicles. 


EV City
Portland, Oregon –   Under Mayor Ted Wheeler, Portland, Oregon, has been one of the leading cities in the country to promote electric vehicles and other forms of sustainable transportation. This has been a coordinated effort of interlocking policies over many years to build out the city’s fleet and charging infrastructure. "Portland continues to lead the way on EV policy and programs and will be well positioned to build on the current momentum and support the rapid uptake of zero-emission vehicles in our city. We appreciate the role that Plug In America has played in this space and look forward to continuing to support EVs," Mayor Wheeler said.


Lifetime Achievement Awards
Kathy Lynch - Kathryn A. Lynch had over twenty years of advocacy experience operating her lobbying practice, Lynch and Associates, in Sacramento, California.  She advanced public policy in California for the solar industry for many years and guided the landmark legislation creating the “net metering” law in California, but her true passion was for electric vehicles. She was an EV driver and fierce EV advocate for many years and represented Plug In America in Sacramento since 2007. She was at the forefront of numerous bills and funding to support infrastructure development and deployment of electric vehicles.


Paul Scott - Paul is a lifelong environmental advocate and a co-founder of Plug In America. Paul helped create DontCrush.com, Plug In America’s predecessor, a grassroots group that single-handedly prevented some 1,000 production EVs from being destroyed by the auto companies that manufactured them. He is among the key figures featured in Who Killed the Electric Car?, the 2006 documentary distributed by Sony Pictures Classics, and consulted for the follow-up, Revenge of the Electric Car. It is no understatement to say that the EV movement would not be where it is today without Paul. 


Individual Award
Mary Brazzell - Mary is a long-time advocate for electric cars. She currently serves as Transportation Electrification Program Manager for the Oregon Department of Transportation, Climate Office. In this role, Mary guides ODOT’s transportation electrification activities, advancing Oregon’s Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) charging infrastructure deployment and ZEV adoption across all transportation modes. For many years, she was an independent consultant and played a central role in launching and accelerating numerous EV initiatives, from Edison EV, to Veloz to CALSTART. 


Organization Award
Clean Cities – Clean Cities was created by the U.S. Department of Energy nearly 30 years ago to encourage alternative fuel vehicles and to reduce vehicle emissions. Today, DOE facilitates national coordination of more than 75 Clean Cities coalitions. The coalitions have been pivotal in broadly building public awareness of EVs over many years and have been invaluable in leading NDEW events around the country.  Mark Smith, who will be accepting the award, is the Technology Integration Program Manager, and is focused on accelerating the development and widespread use of advanced vehicle technologies and other fuel-saving technologies and practices. 


Utility Award
PSE&G - PSE&G is the first utility in New Jersey to support the buildout of EV charging infrastructure through a program dedicated to installing 45,000 EV chargers throughout its service territory. They also offer customers reimbursement for make-ready costs for residential, commercial and DCFC EV charging and an off-peak charging credit for residential customers. PSE&G has also committed to the conversion of all of its passenger vehicles, 60% of medium-duty vehicles and 90% of heavy-duty vehicles by 2030 to battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. 


City Captain Awards
Robert Fernatt- Robert Fernatt is a lifelong resident of West Virginia, the current president of the West Virginia Electric Auto Association (WVEAA), and a powerful spokesperson for EVs in West Virginia and around the region. His passion for electric vehicles led him to purchase his first EV in 2015 and he has organized numerous drive electric events in the state. He has traveled extensively in the region on electric power and frequently presents on the subjects of EV adoption, EV charging, and solar power. 


Paul Pancella - Dr. Pancella, a professor of nuclear physics at the University of Western Michigan, has a long history with electric vehicles, starting with the Honda Civic that he converted to electric himself. He leads the Kalamazoo Electric Vehicle Association and has led ten National Drive Electric Week and Drive Electric Earth Day events. He has been a tireless leader and a vocal cheerleader of the EV movement and is known locally as the "go to" person in Kalamazoo for advice on everything from charging to purchasing an EV.

Student Award
Tyler Wittmann - Tyler is a junior economics student at the University of New Hampshire with a passion for building electric vehicles, including a 1981 Honda motorcycle that he converted to electric and now uses for his daily commute. He and friends organized an EV group that is now a chapter of the Electric Vehicle Association. Tyler and the student activists from UNH also traveled to Freeport, Maine to engage with the public and assist Electrify Maine in implementing their very successful NDEW event this year.  


About Plug In America
Plug In America is the nation’s leading independent consumer voice for accelerating the use of plug-in electric vehicles in the United States. Formed as a non-profit in 2008, Plug In America provides practical, objective information collected from our coalition of plug-in vehicle drivers, through public outreach and education, policy work, and a range of technical advisory services. Our expertise represents the world’s deepest pool of experience of driving and living with plug-in vehicles. We drive electric. You can too. Learn more at PlugInAmerica.org


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