First Ride In A Tesla Model S Converts Petrolhead & Inspires Him To Start An Electric Vehicle Festival

BJ Birtwell based the Electrify Expo in 2019. Nonetheless, he needed to wait to host the primary occasion till 2021 resulting from coronavirus-induced lockdowns. He already had a background in organizing and producing giant reside occasions, together with concert events and reside model activations. Numerous the occasions he ran had been within the motorsports and powersports trade.

He grew up modifying and customizing automobiles and spending a ton of cash making automobiles look cool and tuning them to go quicker. As an auto fanatic and a “petrolhead,” he used to assume that electrical automobiles didn’t have a soul. He says he felt like, “If I can’t hear the rumble of a V8 or the sound from an inline 4 Turbo, you possibly can neglect about it, you might be by no means getting me behind the wheel of that automotive.”

Then one thing attention-grabbing occurred in 2016 when he obtained behind the wheel of a Tesla Mannequin S for the primary time. That’s when he had a lightbulb second and realized, wow, electrical is the longer term. It dawned on him that he actually wanted to drive one to appreciate simply how superior electrical automobiles had been and this hands-on expertise is what he wanted to essentially get it. That’s when he realized that for extra automotive fanatic petrolheads like him to get it, in addition to individuals on the whole, a first-hand expertise with electrical automobiles can actually be among the finest methods to lift consciousness about electrical automobiles and get extra individuals into the great world of electrical mobility. Armed together with his lengthy historical past and expertise in organizing and producing massive reside occasions and exhibits, he determined to make one targeted on electrical mobility. That was the start of Electrify Expo.

BJ needed Electrify Expo to be completely different from a number of the auto exhibits the place individuals are automobiles behind a velvet rope, and very often these occasions are usually very constrained occasions in conference facilities. More often than not, if they’ve product demo experiences, they’re temporary and held within the basement of a conference corridor, for instance, or fast drives via begin and cease visitors within the downtown space close to the conference middle. This, to him, didn’t provide the very best expertise. He then determined to make an electrical automobile present that’s extra alongside the strains of a pageant surroundings and completely out of doors. This may be bundled in with music, meals, tradition with a correct pageant vibe. Folks attending the pageant would get a great likelihood to essentially take a look at drive as many automobiles as potential across the pageant grounds in addition to within the close by suburban areas, with a number of roads closed for actual thrilling driving experiences in a few of the zones.

In 2021, the primary three occasions of Electrify Expo had been held in Orange County, Miami, and Austin. Then in 2022 they grew to 5 occasions, including Seattle and New York. This yr, they’ve grown once more to seven occasions, including Washington, DC, which was held final month on 22 and 23 of July in Lengthy Seaside and San Francisco, California. Orange County was not on the roster this yr.

The subsequent occasion is being held in Lengthy Island, New York, on the Nassau Coliseum on August 12–13. Electrify Expo has managed to get many of the auto producers within the EV trade to return and exhibit and provides demo drive classes with a variety of automobiles, which is fairly spectacular in simply the third yr because the Expo began.

BJ Birtwell says a number of automakers are seeing that they get a number of throughput and a number of demo rides at these Electrify Expo occasions. They’re all the time maxing out on their demos and have been incrementally including extra automobiles to the demo rides part of the Expo. The OEMs are seeing this as an occasion to essentially get behind and assist. It’s this assist from the auto producers that has actually assist propel the Expo to turn out to be the biggest electrical automobile showcase occasion in North America.

It isn’t simply automobiles and SUVs and vans. There may be additionally a motorbike monitor. The present promotes micromobility, showcasing electrical bicycles, scooters, and skateboards. Electrical bikes additionally characteristic prominently. After all, given his background, there’s a giant exhibition part known as Electrify Showoff, “The Epicentre of EV Customization.” It’s targeted on EV personalization and is the breeding floor for personalization tendencies. Showoff options the world’s most radically personalized EVs and conjures up Electrify Expo attendees with concepts of how they will customise their very own rides. It’s form of like an Xzibit-style “Pimp my journey” exhibition however for EVs. Since inception, Electrify Expo has managed to double participation from automakers. The automakers are bringing in additional automobiles and have expanded the footprint of their exhibitions and stands and show. He says many automakers at the moment are treating Electrify Expo as an anchor occasion of their calendars.

The Washington, DC, version of Electrify Expo coated one million sq. toes, and the automakers actually got here via with a number of automobiles and reveals to carry the pageant to life. BJ says the objective of the Expo is actually simply to advertise EV adoption by elevating consciousness. He says a number of the individuals are actually popping out to the Expo to attempt stuff earlier than they purchase stuff. These are people who find themselves most likely halfway via the acquisition funnel, and by the point they depart after attempting out all of the EVs, they are going to have a good suggestion of which of them they need to purchase. He added that attendances on the Expo continue to grow and numbers have gone as much as 40,000 guests per occasion. Most people attending the Expo say they’ve by no means been in an electrical automotive earlier than, and the Expo expertise is definitely the primary time most of them get behind the wheel of an electrical automotive, truck, or bike. BJ says about 90% of the individuals say that they’re first-timers when it comes to experiencing an EV.

I actually like these sorts of occasions, as they’re one in all he greatest methods to lift consciousness and promote adoption.

Photographs courtesy of Electrify Expo


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