Electric vehicles have been around for some time, and those who have utilized the technology love it. They’re not going back to gas-powered cars – not after they’ve experienced what it’s like to only pay the equivalent of $0.99 per gallon, and having a car that requires little to no maintenance (not to mention that EV’s are fun to drive, quiet and pollution-free.) These folks are known as the early adopters.
But what about the rest of us? Those of us who suffer from “range anxiety”, worry about the up-front costs of adopting this new technology, or who simply didn’t think an electric car would be a good fit? Cue the Electric Showcase!
Opened just earlier this month, the Electric Showcase is located in the heart of downtown Portland at the World Trade Center. With floor to ceiling windows, electric vehicles parked right out front, and a sleek, brightly colored decor, the Electric Showcase exists to draw those EV wary worriers in.
Existing, in part, thanks to a grant from the Department of Energy, the main focus of the space is to engage regular people off the street. Anyone who is thinking about buying an electric vehicle, or even just those curious about the technology in general, is welcome to come check it out. For some, new technology can be intimidating — especially when it comes to making one of the largest purchases they’ll ever make after buying a home. The Electric Showcase provides a fun, no pressure environment in which to questions. They aren’t selling cars, so there’s no hidden agenda to tell you what you want to hear. They simply want to educate, and pair those interested with the right electric car for their specific needs.
Touring the showcase is an interactive experience. Visitors can press buttons on a display to see different parts of an electric vehicle light up, identifying its parts and their purpose. You can practice plugging in electric vehicles — either at a wall display of mock chargers, or go outside and try it for real on one of their cars.
There’s also a feature to show Oregonians where electric vehicle chargers are located along the west coast — and there are many! “The west coast is an especially great place to own an electric vehicle since our charging infrastructure is so vast,” says Esther Pullido, Program Manager of the Electric Showcase.
Perhaps the best part about the showcase is the large touch screen that pairs you with your ideal electric vehicle. You take a survey to help determine your ideal car, answering questions about how often you drive, how far, how much space you need in your car, your budget, etc. Through this experience, the visitor again sees that the Electric Showcase isn’t about making a sale — it’s about pairing you with the right vehicle based on your lifestyle. Sometimes, that may even mean they recommend a hybrid gas/electric vehicle over an all electric. “We’re not going to make more fans of this technology if we recommend a vehicle that doesn’t truly work for someone’s life,” says Esther.
Once someone decides they’d like to seriously consider buying or leasing an electric car, the team at the Electric Showcase is there to support. From helping you figure out all the places where your dream car is available, to making sure you know about the $7,500 federal rebate for new EV purchases, and other available incentives, they help demystify the buying experience — and continue to serve as an advocate who is just a call away, should more questions arise.
Aside from being a helpful and an unintimidating environment to learn more, the Electric Showcase is FUN. Shiny buttons, lively music playing throughout the space and of course, real electric vehicles (and e-bikes) that you can test drive! What’s not to love? Check out the showcase and leave us a comment here to tell us about your experience there.
Visit Forth’s website to reserve your test drive. If you’re not in Portland, Forth has pop-up showcase events planned in the future throughout the Pacific Northwest.