Lake Oswego drives toward a more sustainable future
This story has been updated from its original version.
An upcoming fair in Lake Oswego will be the perfect event for people to get a taste of the electric vehicle options available on the market.
For those who may be skeptical about making the switch, questions can be answered by EV owners themselves.
Community members will have the opportunity to browse at least 14 different electric vehicle brands during Lake Oswego's annual Electric Vehicle Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Lake Oswego United Methodist Church located at 1855 South Shore Boulevard.
The fair is put on by the Lake Oswego Sustainability Network, the Lake Oswego Sustainability Advisory Board and Portland General Electric. This event corresponds with National Drive Electric Week, which features nationwide events promoting awareness of electric vehicles from Sept. 25 through Oct. 3.
There will also be a pre-fair webinar covering frequently asked questions at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 23, on Zoom.
"We're going to start off by addressing the three most prominent questions everybody asks about EVs," said Lake Oswego Sustainability Network co-founder Duke Castle, adding that there will be four EV owners at the webinar talking about their experiences and answering questions.
The questions will cover topics including affordability, mileage and charging stations.
Castle said there are EVs that can travel 300-400 miles in one charge, so the issue is "moot." He also mentioned there are still incentives that lower the cost of EVs and that operating costs are already roughly 70% lower than gas cars.
"Tesla by far has the best network," said Castle about charging stations, adding that Tesla will open up the charging network to all electric cars "probably by the end of this year. That's really big news."
Castle said he received numbers from the state, and as of Dec. 2020, there were 1,577 plug-in EVs registered in Lake Oswego, which was 50% higher than the previous year.
"It's a mind-blower to think in a pandemic, our registrations increased by 50%, whereas gas cars were declining in terms of sales. That really makes Lake Oswego a great market for these cars," Castle said.
Encouraging residents to purchase EVs is part of the city's Sustainability and Climate Action Plan.
"We know that switching to an EV is one of (the) quickest and most impactful things we can do as a community to deal with climate change and toxic air pollution," said Castle in an email to the Review.
Currently, there are 30 EV owners signed up to show 14 different brands of cars at the fair in October, though the amount will likely increase.
Castle said there would be at least seven brands of EVs they haven't shown before at the fair, including the Ford Mustang Mach E and Volkswagen ID.4 Pro.
Castle said the Lake Oswego Sustainability Network has also contacted a dozen car dealers who've said they would attend if the cars are in stock. However, he added that "car shipments are tight because of shortage of semiconductors," which is a global issue.
"A little bit is fallout from the pandemic," he said. "The suppliers cut back last year, and now they're trying to catch up."
The venue will be larger by hosting the fair at the church this year (last year it was virtual and in 2019 it was at Oswego Heritage House). Anyone who owns an EV is welcome to register and show their car as well.
"I don't have any control over that, and I don't want to stifle it. We've got the space now," Castle said. "I'm delighted that we've got as many as we have."
Platt Auto Group, a used EV dealer, as well as e-bike dealers and owners, will be available at the fair.
There will be a dozen different e-bikes with vendors featuring Lakeside Bicycles and brands including Vvolt, Super73 and Rad Power Bikes.
It will be up to the EV owner whether they want to allow a "ride and drive" with folks. People will be required to wear masks, and the event will follow COVID-19 safety protocol.
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