The Forth Electric Showcase opened in 2017. Since then, Forth staff have hosted thousands of visits and test drives. This consumer-friendly outreach has proven significant in advancing the adoption of electric vehicles. General EV sales have increased substantially with the Portland region’s overall EV sales exceeding initial goals.
Forth recently issued a report studying the effectiveness of showrooms in accelerating EV adoption. The lessons learned can help cities and organizations consider whether, why, and how to open an EV showroom of their own.
The Forth Electric Showcase in downtown Portland, Oregon
The entire EV landscape in one spot
Electric vehicles are different from the gas-guzzling transportation most of us grew up with, so people have questions when considering them.
Dealers and automakers haven’t done a stellar job of answering these questions. In fact, 74% of dealerships in the US still don’t have any electric cars, and 70% of consumers prefer to avoid dealerships. As a result, nonprofits have experimented with showrooms to help fill this gap. Forth created a compelling educational center where friendly and informed staff can answer questions about electric transportation in a non-sales environment.
For example, when consumers ask about charging, the showcase has a variety of home charging setups on display. Staff can explain charging and trip-planning with electronic displays of charging apps like PlugShare and Chargeway. There are also Level 3 fast-charging stations on-site so visitors can see and test the systems.
Learning about fast charging at Forth’s EV showcase
Comparing and test-driving multiple brands in one space
Forth’s showroom offers a unique service where consumers can compare different brands in the same spot. It has multiple electric cars from a variety of automakers for visitors to test drive and even rent for multi-day trips. Short term rentals provide experience with home charging and trip-planning to see if EVs are right for their lifestyle.
Guides of current EVs on the market are also available at the showcase. These resources help the general public understand the wide number of EVs available.
Community events to celebrate EVs
Forth hosts regular events in its showcase where consumers can experience the rapidly evolving world of electric mobility. From product launches to EV owner conversations, its showcase serves as a hub of activity that gives a space for clean transportation to thrive.
Forth also uses its showrooms for outreach with the community. We bring vehicles to community events throughout the region and have offered thousands a chance to test-drive the vehicles.
A Forth Team “Ride and Drive” in Lincoln City, Oregon
During the COVID-19 pandemic, our team is using webinars to continue our outreach. The free webinars cover topics including the top EVs on the market, to electric bikes and motorcycles, and more to educate consumers on electric transportation.
Does all this effort produce results? In surveys taken after visiting Forth’s Portland showcase, 45% of respondents actually bought an electric vehicle with an additional 11% saying they would in the next several months.
So is your region ready for an EV showroom? If so, Forth would be happy to share additional lessons and recommendations and discuss whether it makes sense for your community.
However your community decides to promote electric transportation, EV showrooms have proven to be an effective educational resource, one tool in a kit to drive faster adoption of clean transportation.