NAFTC seeks hosts for biennial alternative fuels education event

By Kris Bevill | February 15, 2012

The National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium is seeking hosts for the next National Alternative Fuel Vehicle Day Odyssey, a biennial nationwide event that aims to promote the use of and educate the public on alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies. This year’s events will be held on Oct.18.

 The first National AFV Day Odyssey was held in 2002. The most recent Odyssey, held in 2010, attracted more than 230,000 attendees to 131 various events throughout the nation and reached a total of approximately 98 million consumers through related national and local media coverage, according to the NAFTC. Judy Moore, NAFTC’s assistant director of communications and outreach, said Clean Cities Coalitions have been huge supporters of the awareness campaign since its inaugural year and continue to host the largest number of Odyssey events. Clean Cities Odyssey events, combined with Odyssey events hosted by other national fuels training centers, make up about 75 percent of the nation’s one-day events, she said. 

But the NAFTC’s effort also attracts other groups and companies that are inspired by the Odyssey’s mission, “which is to create a better world through bringing about energy independence and cleaner air by the use of alternative fuels and advanced technology vehicles,” Moore said. Additionally, the NAFTC notes that hosting an Odyssey event offers the opportunity for companies to promote a AFV vehicle programs, to attract new customers and to increase a group/company’s exposure. Many of the 2010 Odyssey events promoted E85 at retail fuel stations, for example, by offering the fuel at a discounted or even complimentary rate for a certain length of time. At many of those events, host representatives were on hand to speak with consumers about the benefits of ethanol and educate them on flex-fuel vehicle technology.

This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the Odyssey and organizers have set a goal to reach more people than ever. They hope to assist in planning at least 150 events in order to attract more than 250,000 and ultimately spread alternative fuel information to more than 100 million people. In 2010, the Odyssey was expanded to include secondary school events and Moore said the NAFTC would like to organize at least 50 school events this year. Partial funding for the Odyssey is once again being provided through the U.S. DOE’s Advanced Electric Drive Vehicle Education Program, which is being used by the NAFTC to offset the cost of hosting events by providing $1,000 to the first 100 organizations that sign up to host an event. The funding is also making it possible to provide $250 to the first 50 organizations that sign up to host a school event. For more information, visit http://afvdayodyssey.org/host .