Electrify Expo, the largest electric vehicle (EV) festival in North America, is the host An action-packed weekend in Long Beach today and tomorrow20-21. May at the Long Beach Convention Center. Top brands from around the world exhibit and attend Electrify Expo events to meet consumers at all stages of their electrification journey.
It’s kid-centric as you walk around – kids of all ages, that is. People climb, climb, take selfies and ask questions as they ride, drive and demo the world’s best electric cars and trucks alongside electric motorcycles, e-bikes, e-scooters, e-skateboards and more. There are over 150 participating brands, including Tesla, Ford, Toyota, Volvo, Kia, Lexus, BMW, Volkswagen, Mitsubishi, Cake, GIANT, Stacyc, Onewheel and many more.
It’s a mini Disneyland, without the lines.
But BJ Birtwell, founder, means business.
“People come to the Electrify Expo to answer three questions,” he says. “How long will it take me to fill up? Where can I charge? And how far will this car go? So they have to come to a place like this and get the experience and then get their questions answered so they know how it works. You can’t gain experience by watching vehicles pass you on the highway. This is direct and immediate, and we’re growing every year.”
Of course, there are still many obstacles, and one of them is the still new perception of electric vehicles.
Birtwell says: “The electric vehicle industry is still quite new, compared to how long ICEs (internal combustion vehicles) have been around. When the internal combustion vehicle was introduced in America, people had to go to a hardware store to get gas or have it delivered to their homes. As a car guy and someone who spent the last 20, 25 years customizing cars and working in the automotive industry before becoming immersed in the electric world, I’ve seen active change as a technology. Charging methods have improved and will continue to improve. We see the culmination of bringing car culture to Electrify. It won’t happen overnight. But we’re not going anywhere, that’s for sure.”
A partial list of automakers at the event includes:
BMW: i7, iX xDrive50, iX M60, i4 eDrive 35, i4 eDrive 40, i4 M50
Chrysler: Pacifica Hybrid
Ford: Mach E, F150 Lightning
Kia: EV9 and EV6
Mitsubishi: Outlander PHEV
Tesla: Models S, 3, X, Y
Toyota: Rav4 Prime, Prius, Tundra Hybrid, bZrx, Mirai
Volvo: fully electric XC40 Recharge and C40 Recharge; Plug-in Hybrid XC60 Recharge and XC90 Recharge
The issue of convenient, fast charging, then as now, is still at the forefront of people’s minds.
“If I could charge as easily as I’m shutting down, this would be a no-brainer,” says participant Joanne Rezak, there with daughter Ambrosia. “I don’t want to have to buy two cars to go on a 200 mile trip, I don’t know if I can afford it. I have to think about the child.”
Birtwell, whose daily driver is an electric Porsche Taycan, acknowledges people’s concerns about charging. “50% of people can charge home,” he says. “It’s great for those people who have that opportunity, but there’s another 50% who need mobile charging. Therefore, this infrastructure should be introduced as soon as possible. And it happens. Things are moving fast. I mean, the days of waiting hours and hours and hours to charge your vehicle are pretty much coming to an end.”
One segment Birtwell sees coming to electrics is the die-hard truck guys from his home state.
“I live in Texas, right?” He says. “So I’m in oil and gas country. Many of my friends are oil and gas people. These guys have a perception of electricity. But they never drove an EV. The whole point of the Electrify Expo is to bring these people here so they can experience EVs for the first time, which is what is happening. And it creates those lightbulb moments.”
Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 20 and Sunday, May 21. Tickets can be purchased online and in person.
Questions and answers for participants:
Can I ride my e-bike / e-scooter per event?
No personal devices are allowed inside the event. There will be free valet, scooter, etc. parking near the main entrance and ticket office. This is a safe area with chaperones watching at all times.
Can I bring food and water to the event?
Food is not allowed, but water is.
Do children get in for free?
Children up to 5 years are free with an adult.
Are dogs/pets allowed?
Pets are not allowed at the Expo.
What do I need to do to participate in demonstrations and activities?
All guests will be required to review, agree to and sign the Electrify Expo Event Disclaimer upon arrival at the box office. Some car manufacturers and micromobility exhibitors may also require their own waiver to participate in their demonstrations and activities. Keep your digital map handy as you will be scanning it throughout the day.
Do I need a license for an EV test drive?
Some exhibitors and demonstrations may require a valid driver’s license to participate, be sure to bring your own. The age for participation varies by exhibitor.
What can children do?
Each Electrify Expo has a zone for kids where they can demonstrate the latest electric toys such as e-karts, e-scooters, e-bikes and more. Some adult demos are available to minors with parental/guardian consent.
Do I need to bring my own helmet or are they provided?
Safety equipment is provided by the brands doing the demo. But you can bring your own helmet if you want.
Can you buy the vehicle you like at the event?
Yes – some exhibitors have items for sale.
Forbes – Lifestyle