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Thursday, Mar 06 2014 06:50 PM

An electrifying idea: Take the Pledge

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    By Steve Levin/ The Californian

    Ollie Danner

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BY STEVE LEVIN Californian staff writer slevin@bakersfield.com

In the market for a new car?

Ollie Danner wants you to "Take the Pledge."

The Bakersfield founder of electriccarpledge.com wants you to take the pledge if you support electric vehicles, plan to buy one in your lifetime or own one now.

Doing so earns you a colorful "I Pledged" bumper sticker. But more importantly, Danner says, it could be the start of something unique in the Central Valley: clean air.

Danner, 46, a web SEO and marketing consultant, has long been interested in electric cars, and has had the website plugintoday.net since October.

"One night I had an epiphany," he said. "We live in Kern County and the air quality is so poor here. Let's get everyone to drive electric cars."

Great idea. But in the three weeks electriccarpledge.com has been online, no one from Bakersfield has taken the pledge even though 51 others from the U.S. and three foreign countries have.

Danner is undeterred. Electric car sales are growing. In 2013, the third full year of sales, about 96,000 electric cars were sold in the U.S., not quite double the number from the year before.

So he's reaching out to the U.S. Department of Energy's Clean Cities program, the San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization and several dealerships with electric cars, seeking to partner, communicate or just get some acknowledgement.

He hasn't gotten much response yet. Danner still hopes to host an Electric Vehicle Expo in Bakersfield down the road.

"We will get the support of the car makers," he maintains. "We will find cleaner ways to generate power."

In the meantime, he's taking to Twitter (@electricpledge) and Facebook (electric car pledge) to spread his message. He's gaining some traction, at least in Canada.

The Quebec Electric Vehicle Association links to his website, and 14 people have taken the pledge. In California, the most interest has come from San Francisco and the northern part of the state.

When his website visitors indicate they're interested in purchasing an electric car in the future, Danner sends their contact information to electric car dealerships within the same area code. He said it's for information purposes only; he receives no compensation from the dealers or his website. His interest, he says, is in boosting cleaner transporation.

Danner drives a Toyota for now, but has taken the pledge to buy an electric car.

"It's quite ironic, coming from here isn't it," he says. "Bakersfield, California, the hub of green technology."

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