You can test drive Tesla’s Model 3 — and other cars — at upcoming electric-vehicle event

Glendale residents can take some of the latest electric vehicles out for a spin next Saturday — without a commission-hungry salesperson in the passenger seat.

Private owners are lending out new zero-emission models from Tesla, BMW and other manufacturers to Burbank and Glendale utility customers as part of a returning Electric Car Guest Drive event slated from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Jan. 12 at the Downtown Burbank Metrolink Station.


“There’s no sales pitch,” said Atineh Haroutunian, spokeswoman for Glendale Water & Power, which is co-sponsoring the event with Burbank’s utility. “[The owners] do it in order to promote electric vehicles.”

Interested participants can sign up to take 2-mile test drives of as many cars as they want, as long as there is a time slot available, Haroutunian said.


Three years ago, Pasadena, Burbank and Glendale partnered with the trade publication Electric Car Insider to bring the semi-annual event, which began in 2013, to their cities. This year, only the Burbank and Glendale utilities are participating, as Pasadena prepares for a separate event, Haroutunian said.

The star of this year’s show will be Tesla’s Model 3, generating the most interest, according to Christopher Alan, editor of Electric Car Insider. Tesla’s Model F and Model X are the second and third most popular electric cars on the market, respectively, he added.

Also popular — and available to test drive at the event — will be the BMW i3, an electric sedan, and, more recently, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, a mid-priced, hybrid plug-in SUV.

“That’s because everyone in Southern California who is not Tesla crazy or BMW crazy, they have to be SUV crazy,” Alan said, jokingly.

According to Alan, the impetus for the event is to educate people about the benefits of electric vehicles.

Besides saving money on fuel and through federal tax credits and state rebates, the vehicles do not emit harmful toxins into the air, Alan said.

“Air quality is important to everybody, especially in the Los Angeles basin,” Alan said.