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Helping Lake Oswego get plugged in
The Lake Oswego Sustainability Network and the City's Sustainability Advisory Board are gearing up for a two-part event later this month designed to give Lake Oswego residents a chance to learn more about electric vehicles.
"To fight climate change, we need to electrify everything," says Duke Castle, one of the LOSN's co-founders, "and cars are one of the biggest ways we can do this."
LOSN has long been an advocate for electric car adaptation. The grassroots community organization has hosted a variety of other events to promote sustainable building techniques and green energy policies for the City, but the upcoming gatherings are the first car-centric events the group has put on.
The initial event, titled "Our New Electric Transportation Future," will be held on Thursday, Aug. 23, from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Lake Oswego United Methodist Church (1855 South Shore Blvd). The event will include food and a presentation by transportation technology expert Hans Witt.
Current Lake Oswego owners of electric vehicles (EVs) will also be on hand to share details about their experiences with the technology, including both plug-in hybrid cars and fully battery-powered vehicles. Among them:
Kathy Kremer and Stephen Young, who put a deposit down on Tesla's Model 3 but decided not to wait for the $35,000 car to ship next year and purchased a Chevy Bolt for about the same price;
Dorothy and Tom Atwood, who also decided to not wait for the Model 3 and bought a Nissan Leaf at the end of their lease; and
Bob Sack and Corrina Campbell, who wanted an EV but needed something bigger for their two dogs. They purchased a Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid, which gives them SUV room at a similar price range as the Bolt.
Visitors will also be able to learn about the mile range and cost of modern electric vehicles, as well as the growing lineup of available models. "All of those things are going to get better," Castle says, "but they're already really good now."
Then on Sunday, Aug. 26, an "EV Fair" will give visitors a chance to take one of the 12-15 EVs on display for a test-drive up and down Iron Mountain Boulevard. "It's driving one of these cars — that's what changes people's minds," Castle says. "That's why we want to have this fair."
LOSN also plans to use the fair — which is scheduled from 1-5 p.m. at the Oswego Heritage House (398 Tenth St.) — to showcase other types of electric transportation, including an electric motorcycle and e-bikes.
Castle says the group sees both events as an opportunity to try to reassure potential EV owners who are considering electric cars but are concerned about limited driving ranges and slow charging times — especially as those factors compare to the relative ease of filling a traditional gas tank.
So-called "range anxiety" continues to be a barrier for many potential EV owners, Castle says, but he points out that some of the EVs already on the market boast ranges well above 100 miles per charge, and some of the more well-known cars — like the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3 — can go more than 200 miles before needing to plug in.
The LOSN will also be encouraging attendees to explore plug-in hybrid cars, which include a small battery and electric motor for local trips and a gas tank and engine for longer drives.
Charging an electric vehicle is admittedly still slower than pumping gas, but Castle says that in addition to telling people about the increasing availability of faster "Type II" chargers, the group will also focus on the benefits of charging cars at home at night and viewing the charging process as akin to recharging a cellphone rather than refueling a gas car.
"The only time you really need fast charging is on a trip," he says.
More broadly, Castle says the LOSN will try to use the fair to advocate for Lake Oswego and other cities to begin switching to municipal electric vehicles such as school buses, transit buses and employee car fleets, as well as an overall shift toward more renewable power sources.
Switching to electric vehicles can have a direct impact through improved local air quality, he says, but the bigger goal is to encourage practices that will limit greenhouse emissions and help prevent climate change.
That might be more than Lake Oswego can do on its own, Castle says, but the city and its residents are well-positioned to be pioneers in electric vehicle adoption, and he points to the rise of smartphones as an example of a technology that can spread quite quickly from an initial group of early adopters.
"Lake Oswego citizens have the money to do this, and they have the foresight and can be on the leading edge," he says. "This is the way Lake Oswego can make a difference."
IF YOU GO
What: A two-part chance to learn more about electric vehicles, sponsored by the Lake Oswego Sustainability Network and the Sustainability Advisory Board
"Our New Electric Transportation Future": Chat with EV owners and hear a presentation by technology expert Hans Witt
When: Thursday, Aug. 23, from 5:30-8 p.m.
Where: Lake Oswego United Methodist Church, 1855 South Shore Blvd.
"EV Fair": Test-drive one of the 12-15 EVs expected to be on display
When: Sunday, Aug. 26, from 1-5 p.m.
Where: Oswego Heritage House, 398 Tenth St.
Cost: Both events are free.
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