History of Odyssey

In 2002, National Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Day Odyssey was established as a biennial, outreach and education event to promote the use of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles. It was conceptualized and continues to be coordinated by the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC), a program of West Virginia University headquartered in Morgantown, West Virginia.

In 2002, the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) undertook the National AFV Day Odyssey project because of the critical need to support the AFV industry, including those manufacturers making AFVs a viable option for individuals everywhere.

2002

2002

Governor Bob Wise (center) of West Virginia and West Virginia University President David C. Hardesty Jr., (right) not only supported the 2002 West Virginia Odyssey event, but they took an active role – making formal presentations and taking steps to interact with attendees and participate in the ride-and-drives and other demonstrations.

On April 11, 2002, 20 NAFTC National Training Centers, 19 Clean Cities Coalitions, and 12 other like‑minded organizations in 31 states came together at 51 sites nationwide to celebrate the first National AFV Day Odyssey. Each site shared Odyssey’s unified message yet provided uniquely tailored events to accommodate regional needs.

Overall, 638 local government agencies, businesses, educational institutions, and other organizations across the country joined the cause to share timely information about and build enthusiasm for AFVs. Host sites reported that Odyssey strengthened their AFV relationships and helped build new partnerships in their local areas.

Nationally, Odyssey’s spark of an idea caught the attention of industry representatives, trade organizations, and government agencies. The U.S. EPA Office of Transportation and Air Quality was an important partner that supplied base funds to support Odyssey through its cooperative agreement with West Virginia University on behalf of the NAFTC. Congressional leaders also showed their support by passing Senate Resolution 241, which designated April 11, 2002, as National Alternative Fuel Vehicle Day.

National Sponsors:

  • General Motors Corporation
  • DaimlerChrysler Corporation
  • U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities Program
  • Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc.
  • American Honda Motor Company, Inc.
  • FuelMaker
  • NexGen
  • Structural Composite, Inc.

National Partners:

  • U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities Program
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Transportation and Air Quality

National Kickoff Event partners:

  • General Services Administration Region 3, Washington, D.C.
  • L’ Enfant Plaza, Washington, D.C.

To view the Odyssey 2002 Executive Summary, click here.

2004

2004

Odyssey national spokesperson, the late Dennis Weaver, speaks at the 2004 national media kickoff event in Palm Desert, California.

Odyssey 2004, held on April 2, broke all inaugural event records, bringing together 54 sites in 34 U.S. states and in two Canadian provinces. More than 24,000 people attended Odyssey events, and for every person who participated, at least 1,000 more heard, saw, or learned about Odyssey through some form of media. More than 15 million listeners were reached through nationally distributed radio public service announcements featuring the late acclaimed actor and conservationist Dennis Weaver, who served as Odyssey’s national spokesperson and participated in the national media kickoff event in Palm Desert, California.

In addition to radio, many other outlets were pursued from worldwide trade publications to television to the internet. The 2004 Odyssey media blitz resulted in a total of more than 24 million individuals who heard the National AFV Day Odyssey message.

Adding to the media triumph were site survey results, which showed that National AFV Day Odyssey 2004 was extraordinarily effective in meeting its goals. Odyssey events increased awareness of AFVs and successfully demonstrated to consumers that alternative fuel vehicles are a smart choice environmentally and economically. According to the sites reporting, 91 percent of Odyssey survey respondents said they would test drive an AFV before purchasing their next car. This reflects an increase of 49 percent over those who would have test driven an AFV prior to Odyssey. Another 89 percent of those surveyed indicated a positive change in their attitude toward future ownership of an AFV.

National Sponsors:

  • General Motors Corporation
  • Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc.
  • DaimlerChrysler Corporation
  • American Honda Motor Company, Inc.
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory

National Partners:

  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Transportation and Air Quality
  • Dennis Weaver’s Institute of Ecolonomics

National Kickoff Event partners:

  • College of the Desert at Palm Desert, California
  • Clean Cities Coachella Valley Region

To view the Odyssey 2004 Executive Summary, click here.

2006

2006

In 2006, the NAFTC hosted a National Kickoff Event for Odyssey in Arlington, VA.

The third National AFV Day Odyssey was held on October 12, 2006. Sixty sites hosted Odyssey events, which included vehicle and informational displays, educational workshops and seminars, guest speakers, panel discussions, ride-and-drive opportunities, Q&A sessions, demonstrations, games/drawings, live radio remote broadcast, awards ceremonies, press conferences, plus breakfasts, lunches, and refreshments. In addition, many unique events were held such as: an E85 station event with more than 200 flexible fuel vehicles filling up in five hours (3,700 gallons of ethanol) at the Twin Cities Clean Cities Coalition and the American Lung Association of Minnesota’s event; kid-friendly education stations at James Madison University’s event in Virginia; and a rock concert and crowning of Miss Ethanol 2006 in conjunction with Ethanol Power Days in Bavaria, Germany.

Odyssey’s message of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicle education and adoption reached a total of 31,608,094 individuals through national and local media coverage. Print media reached 4,857,477 readers, and 24,401,093 individuals learned about Odyssey through Internet and e-mail. Television and radio broadcasted the mission of energy independence and clean air to 2,349,524 individuals. The vast number of participants proved that Americans are seeking knowledge of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles, so they can endorse this technology in an effort to reduce our nation’s energy dependence and to improve our air quality. Out of a sample of 500 Odyssey attendees, 83 percent reported that after attending an Odyssey event, they would include AFVs/hybrids in test drives before making their next automobile purchase. Twenty-nine percent said they would almost always consider purchasing an AFV or hybrid for personal use, while 53 percent said they would consider purchasing an AFV. The attendees were also asked if Odyssey changed their opinions on AFVs and hybrids. Eighty-two percent said Odyssey increased their confidence in using AFVs and hybrids, and 89 percent said the event increased their enthusiasm for supporting AFV and hybrid use.

National Sponsors:

  • American Honda Motor Company
  • Daimler
  • Chrysler
  • GEM (Global Electric Motorcars, LLC.)
  • John DeereToyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc.

National Partners:

  • EDTA (Electric Drive Transportation Association)
  • Fuel Advantage Magazine
  • GSA (General Services Administration)
  • National Biodiesel Board
  • NEVC (National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition)
  • U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities Coalitions
  • West Virginia University

National Kickoff Event partners:

  • Arlington County, Virginia
  • New West Technologies, LLC
  • Virginia Clean Cities Coalition

To view the Odyssey 2006 Executive Summary, click here.

2008

2008

West Virginia University students admired the Monongalia County Technical Institute electric vehicle, “Sparky,” during the 2008 Odyssey event.

On October 3, 2008, the NAFTC and hundreds of groups and organizations joined together to conduct the fourth National AFV Day Odyssey with unimaginable success. With events taking place from Delaware to Hawaii and into Canada, the impact of the 2008 National AFV Day Odyssey was beyond measure. Not only were there nearly 200,000 direct attendees, but more than 50 million individuals were made aware of the important role these vehicles play in our nation’s energy security and cleaner environment, through media outlets.

The 2008 Odyssey was the fourth installment and was organized in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program. The event was honored with a national resolution to designate October 3, 2008, as National Alternative Fuel Vehicle Day. The resolution was spearheaded by the late U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd and was supported by 22 other senators. Many of the 2008 Odyssey events were held in collaboration with other industry events, providing the opportunity to get Odyssey’s message in front of thousands of additional consumers.

National Sponsors:

  • Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc.
  • National Biodiesel Board
  • West Virginia University
  • Fuel Advantage Magazine (National Media Sponsor)

National Partners:

  • U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities Program

National Kickoff Event partners:

  • U.S. Department of Energy (pre-kickoff event)
  • U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities Program (pre-kickoff event)
  • Nashville Auto-Diesel College
  • Clean Cities of Middle Tennessee

To view the Odyssey 2008 Executive Summary, click here.

2008 Odyssey Video

2010

2010

Students at Barton Community College in Great Bend, KS learned about electric drive vehicles during their 2010 Odyssey event.

October 15, 2010, marked the fifth National AFV Day Odyssey, which was comprised of a record-setting 131 event sites held in 43 U.S. states and one Canadian province. Twenty-five sites hosted secondary school events, a first for Odyssey, thanks in part to funding from the Advanced Electric Drive Vehicle Education Program.

The impressive nationwide attendance totaled more than 230,000 and the goal to reach more than 75 million individuals was achieved due to extensive traditional and new media coverage. While 13,161,151 individuals were impacted by Odyssey’s message through radio and TV and another 26,153,059 individuals were reached via various print media outlets, an additional 62,799,583 people received information about Odyssey through new media outlets including internet blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and news websites such as Wired News.

National AFV Day Odyssey once again made the public aware of the viable alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles on today’s market. From a sampling of the thousands of surveys that individuals completed at local Odyssey events, 73 percent said that they will include AFVs/Hybrids in test drives before making their next personal automobile purchase. Additionally, 71 percent noted that they would now consider purchasing an AFV or Hybrid for personal use.

Each event reinforced the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium’s mission “to improve air quality and decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil by promoting, supporting, and expanding the use of advanced technology vehicles and alternative fuel vehicles.”

A total of 1,397 like-minded companies, organizations and groups participated in this extraordinary collaboration, including 55 Clean Cities Coalitions that took part in 61 events.

National AFV Day Odyssey also teamed up with special event partners: New York City Lower Hudson Valley Clean Communities and the City of New York Parks & Recreation, both of which hosted the National Media Kickoff Event in New York City’s Union Square; and AltCar Expo and Conference that took place at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Each special event presented valuable networking opportunities and served as unique platforms to deliver Odyssey’s message.

National Sponsors:

  • Toyota Motors Sales, USA, Inc.
  • American Honda Motor Company, Inc.
  • Think North America
  • Eaton

National Partners:

  • U.S. Department of Energy
  • U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities Program
  • Advanced Electric Drive Vehicle Education Program

Special Event Partner:

  • 2010 Santa Monica AltCar Expo and Conference

National Kickoff Event partners:

  • New York City Lower Hudson Valley Clean Communities
  • City of New York Parks & Recreation

To view the Odyssey 2010 Executive Summary, click here.

2010 Odyssey Video
2010 Odyssey Slideshow

2012

2012

Benjamin Franklin (Ralph Archbold) acted as keynote speaker of the 2012 National AFV Day Odyssey Kickoff Event in Indianapolis, IN.

In 2012, 152 Odyssey events were held across the United States and in Sweden and
France. There were more than 250,000 attendees and more than 200 million
consumers reached through the media and internet. These events were held in 43
U.S. states and in three countries. The number of events, attendees and people
reached through media and the internet exceeded all previous Odyssey events. On
October 18, 2012 the National Kickoff Event was held in Indianapolis, IN at
White River State Park. Hosted by the Greater Indiana Clean Cities Coalition,
the occasion served as the official kick off for Odyssey events occurring across
the country and in Europe. Representatives from the NAFTC, Greater Indiana
Clean Cities Coalition, U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities Initiative, and
Odyssey National Sponsors, American Honda Motor Company, Inc. and Toyota Motor
Sales, USA, Inc., and National Partner AmeriCorps National Civilian Community
Corps. Spoke at the event. Benjamin Franklin (historical portrayer Ralph
Archibald) was a special speaker at the event.

Odyssey 2012 was partially supported by the Advanced Electric Drive Vehicle Education Program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. This grant-funded program has allowed Odyssey to grow to include secondary schools (26 in 2010 and 50 in 2012). Participating secondary schools were given access to a specially designed Site Coordinator Notebook, including lesson plans, to assist in planning an event at their school.

Odyssey 2012 was also supported by a partnership between the NAFTC and the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps. AmeriCorps volunteers attended an informational webinar to learn about alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles and their importance to the United States economy and environment. These volunteers assisted with the conduct of Odyssey events in Nashville, TN and Indianapolis, IN by helping with the event logistics and presenting the webinar information to secondary schools.

National Sponsors:

  • Toyota Motors Sales, USA, Inc.
  • American Honda Motor Company, Inc.

National Partners:

  • West Virginia University
  • Advanced Electric Drive Vehicle Education Program
  • AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps

Special Event Partner:

  • 2012 Santa Monica AltCar Expo and Conference

National Kickoff Event partners:

  • Greater Indiana Clean Cities Coalition

To view the Odyssey 2012 Executive Summary, click here.

2012 Odyssey Video

2014

2014

AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps partnered with the NAFTC on Odyssey 2014 and assisted with the National Kickoff Event in Washington, D.C.

The National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium exceeded its goals for the National Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Day Odyssey 2014 with 107 events across the country and internationally in Mexico and South Africa. Preliminary results for the event, conducted in October, indicate that all goals were once again surpassed, with an estimated event attendance of more than 100,000 individuals, and more than 200 million individuals reached through media.

“We are thrilled that Odyssey continues to be such a huge success! Hundreds of organizations joined together to host Odyssey events this year, and hundreds of millions of consumers have been reached by Odyssey’s message about the importance of alternative fuel vehicles for our nation’s energy security and environmental health,” said Judy Moore, NAFTC assistant director, communications and outreach and national Odyssey coordinator.

The Propane Education and Research Council and American Honda Motor Company sponsored Odyssey 2014. National partners included the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Clean Cities Program, Greater Washington Region Clean Cities Coalition, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC). Odyssey event hosting organizations customize their events to feature fuels and technologies available in their geographic location. The events vary from small informational tables to large conferences with thousands of participants. No matter how big or small, the events all serve to spread the word about how transportation is changing; creating a clean, secure energy future. Odyssey events were held by NAFTC National Training Centers, U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities Coalitions, secondary schools, and many other groups and organizations.

National Sponsors:

  • Propane Education and Research Council
  • American Honda Motor Company, Inc.

National Partners:

  • Greater Washington Region Clean Cities
  • National Parks Service
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • U.S. DOE Clean Cities
  • AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps

Special Event Partner:

  • AltCar Expo and Conference
  • ACT Expo
  • WV Oil and Gas Expo
  • NGVOK
  • NGV South Africa
  • National Advanced Biofuels Conference and Expo
  • Green Across America
  • WV EMS Conference
  • National Research Center for Coal and Energy
  • WV Clean State Program

Media Partner:

  • AutoVolt
  • Fleets and Fuels
  • Ethanol Producer Magazine
  • Biodiesel Magazine
  • Biomass Magazine

National Kickoff Event partners:

  • Greater Washington Region Clean Cities

To view the Odyssey 2014 Executive Summary, click here.

2014 Odyssey Video