Electrify Expo Industry Day in Long Beach, California, provided a fun learning experience for industry insiders and people interested in electrifying their transportation. Auto Futures talked to exhibitors, speakers and attendees who gave insight into the future of electrification.
The event started off with panels on relevant topics. Then there was a large outdoor exhibit.
The massive area was set up more like a county fair or art festival than an auto show with areas of picnic tables and food vendors as well as areas for exhibitors, automotive and micromobility test rides.
“I created Electrify Expo to transform how people experience and discover electric vehicles of all types. I grew up around the auto industry – I’m a car guy. Auto shows were the place to experience the best the industry had to offer. But times have changed. Looking at vehicles behind a velvet rope is not going to translate the thrill and excitement of these new EVs,” says BJ Birtwell, Electrify Expo, Founder.
“I wanted to create more of a festival environment to experience these products. Make it fun, festive, and social. We focus on the fun factor and the thrill of the ride,” he adds.
Industry insiders came to network and learn more about trends.
Agustin Garcia, Senior Manager of Business Development at Motivo, an engineering firm that accelerates product development, was there to meet with clients. He sees the latest trends in electric mobility as retrofitting classic cars into electric, eVTOLs, battery swapping and electrifying cranes.
Women Entrepreneurs Babies and Dogs
During a panel on ‘How to Stand Out in Saturated Market’, Juls Bindi, Founder of ZuGo Bike, stood out in the panel by being the only female.
“Women are very intuitive. Our minds and our bodies can handle a lot. I encourage women entrepreneurs to trust themselves. If you’re passionate about something, there’s no stopping you. We birth babies and we’re able to birth just as powerful businesses,” says Bindi.
“We’ve been selling ZuGo bikes since 2019. We really care and focus on our customers. We still care as much about you when you have the products. We follow up to make sure we nurture our customers.”
She says the company also offers new safety features such as tires that have double-walled rims. Then, if a rider hits a pothole, the rim will not bend.
The name ZuGo seemed familiar. Bindi created the ZugGo car pet carriers: the Jetsetter and the Rocketeer. Does she take her dog with her on her ZuGo e-bike, I asked?
“I ride a ZuGo e-bike every day with my three-year-old daughter and my dog in a Thule trailer,” says Bindi. “We are in development for pet products that we’ll be launching next year.”
Colour and Decorate Your E-Bike
Blake Garcia, Director of Sales and Marketing at the Electric Bike Company, stood by a colourful e-bike with wooden fenders.
“The great thing about our company is, all of our bikes are custom built to order. You design it any way you want. We will build it to your specifications and ship it to you fully built, no assembly required. You can literally choose any colour you want on our bikes. You can accessorize the bike any way you want,” says Garcia.
“We have an online configurator where you go to design the bike with any accessories you want. We ship it to the US and Hawaii.”
Electric Cars of All Types and Sizes on Display
Seeing vehicles in person provides a better design perspective and understanding of products.
“At first glance, people are taken aback by Aptera’s design. When we explain to them the amazing features and efficient design, that’s when their jaws really drop to the floor. You can drive it just on solar. An Aptera actually gets up to forty miles per day,” says Quincy Hilla, Digital Marketing Manager at Aptera Motors.
There was a display of the Lucid Air and its technical components.
“We set out to create a captivating and compelling luxury electric vehicle. The response has been positive, proving we’ve successfully achieved that mission,” explains Dave Buchko, Product PR Manager at Lucid Motors.
He says ride handling of the Lucid Air is a unique balance. It can ride like a traditional luxury vehicle like a Mercedes S Class or more like a sports car that is very nimble.
“Our engineers have achieved a very fine balance, where the car rides quite well. But if you’re on a twisty road and you want to have some fun with it, the car is extraordinarily responsive.”
On the other end of the spectrum, the low-speed GEM electric vehicles used on campuses, and for local transport were also on display. GEM (formerly owned by Polaris) is under the new ownership banner of Waev Inc.
Waev Inc. is an electric mobility provider founded in 2021 to manufacture, distribute, market, and support the GEM, Taylor-Dunn, and Tiger brands.
“We’re excited and respect the heritage and legacy of these products. They have a strong place in the market. Waev gives us a lot of flexibility to be agile and continue to innovate at the pace that fits the market. We have engineering. We have manufacturing. We have R&D. We have purchasing. We have everything in one facility. It gives us a huge advantage to be able to design and innovate quickly and bring out new products to market faster,” says Carlos Acuna, Product Manager for Waev.
Clean Tractors Take to the Fields
Monarch electric tractors is a spinoff from Motiva. Praveen Penmetsa, Founder and Chairman of Monarch, says: “One tractor is like fourteen cars’ worth of emissions. So getting a diesel tractor off the farm is like removing fourteen cars from the roads.”
He says the Monarch tractor is electric and smart. The driver can manage the tractor without sitting on it. It can be driven or controlled by an app.
“You can also see everything that the tractor is seeing at any time. It can tell you what’s happening on the farm,” says Penmetsa.
He says the Monarch tractor is currently used in vineyards, apple orchards and dairy farms.
Play Games or Make New Connections
Many future EV drivers are concerned that they can not install a fast electric charger in their garage at home. The Splitvolt is an easy way to convert an electric dryer outlet in a garage to two outlets – one for the dryer and one for EV charging.
“The Splitvolt is a device that will save new EV owners thousands of dollars because it lets you share your existing dryer circuit with your EV automatically and safely. You can get fast charging, but you don’t need to spend $1,000 to have a dedicated circuit installed. You just plug this in and in 60 seconds, you are fast charging your car,” says Daniel Liddle, CEO and Founder of Splitvolt Inc.
Test Driving in Many Modes of Electric Fun
In the parking lot was a test drive area. I was able to test drive a Lucid Air Touring, BMW iX, Polestar 2, Volvo XC40 Recharge, Volkswagen ID.4 and Toyota Bz4X. Each vehicle had its own adjustments and driving styles. I experienced new safety features.
If anyone is considering ordering, buying or leasing an electric vehicle the experience could save hours of research and days of test-driving at dealerships.
“Over 60,000+ demo rides will take place at our festivals this year alone. These experiences are game changers and it’s converting consumers to EVs of all types – often immediately resulting in transactions on-site. Last year, we held Electrify Expo in three cities, and this year we are in five – ultimately, getting more and more people educated, interested, and purchasing EVs and contributing to cleaner, more efficient transportation is a big win,” says Birtwell.
Electrify Expo will be coming to Seattle, Washington 23- 24 July, Nassau, New York 27-28 August, Miami, Florida 8-9 October and back to Austin Texas 11-13 November.