Portland to gain economic infusion, international attention while hosting electric vehicle symposium

COURTESY: FORTH - The 32nd International Electric Vehicle Symposium and Exhibition was held in Lyon, France, last May. Portland will host EVS33 at the Oregon Convention Center in June.

The Rose City will take the global stage in June when it hosts the 33rd World Electric Vehicle Symposium & Exposition, with an estimated 10,000 visitors predicted to attend the Portland event based on its attendance numbers in other countries.

The symposium is the largest electric vehicle event in the world and it rotates between North America, Europe and Asia. Scheduled for June 14-17 at the Oregon Convention Center, the 2020 symposium marks the first time it has been held in the Pacific Northwest since its founding in 1969 as a global academic forum. Los Angeles is the only other U.S. city to have hosted the event.

Typically, the attendees represent automakers, government agencies, charging station firms, utilities and academia. They gather to learn about advances in electric mobility, its technology and other issues such as battery and fuel cell drives, and to discuss new policy and market trends, according to Portland-based Forth, which works to advance electric, smart and shared transportation.

"We worked for three years to bring this show to Portland," said Zach Henkin, Forth's deputy director. "Local partners like Daimler and other leaders in the field are expected to show up in a big way."

The 33rd symposium, dubbed EVS33, will include a three-day conference program with presentations on electric mobility products and technologies from experts and industry leaders. A trade show will present a diverse exhibit floor featuring products, services and organizations, as well as a "Ride, Drive & Charge" event. The symposium also will include technical tours of local demonstration projects. On June 14, the trade show floor and Ride, Drive & Charge will be open to the community free of charge for Public Day.

EVS is organized by the Electric Drive Transportation Association, and is hosted by EDTA, Forth and the World Electric Vehicle Association in collaboration with the European Association of Electromobility and the Electric Vehicle Association of Asia Pacific.

As the local host organization, Forth is responsible for organizing the Ride, Drive & Charge, Public Day and the local demonstration tours. In addition, the organization will hold its annual Roadmap Conference in conjunction with EVS33.

Henkin said about 10,000 people are expected to attend EVS33 based on attendance to the 2017 event held in Stuttgart, Germany, the 2018 symposium in Kobe, Japan, and the EVS32 gathering last May in Lyon, France.

"We will definitely see a spotlight on the Pacific Northwest and Portland exclusively and on the U.S. in general," he said. "It's a big show, so the hospitality sector will definitely see some benefits. I think it's a great opportunity to showcase our region's excellence in new transportation and mobility. There are so many cool things going on here, sometimes behind the curtain, and we can show that."

Attendees of national conventions spend an average of $404 per day on hotels, transportation, shopping, food, and beverages, and tourism while in Oregon, said Craig Stroud, Oregon Convention Center executive director. He noted that the newly remodeled convention center generates more than $500 million per year in economic impact.

Forth is working with Business Oregon to create a pavilion where local utilities and other EV leaders can talk with national and international attendees regarding what is unique about the region and its leadership in EV advances.

"We think any way we can highlight the progressive and innovative leaps we've made in Oregon when it comes to sustainable technology is a great opportunity, particularly with an international audience," said Nathan Buehler, Business Oregon's communications and research manager.

"From transportation infrastructure to vehicle manufacturing, Oregon has been at the forefront of electric vehicles. This symposium will allow the industry to tout its past achievements as well as where it will go next, all from the ideal proving grounds of Portland," he said.

EVS33 also will provide an opportunity to showcase the state's policy leadership in front of major automakers, leaders representing states and countries with Zero Emission programs, and company decision makers. In addition, it provides a forum to highlight Oregon's climate goals, how the state has built its clean mobility industry through economic development, and why Oregon is an ideal place to locate businesses, according to Forth.

Melody Finnemore is a contract writer who regularly contributes to the Business Tribune. She can be reached at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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