Electric-car discovery, education centers are now a thing


Plug'n Drive Education Center Toronto

Plug'n Drive Education Center Toronto

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Breaking with routine and tradition is never easy, especially when it comes to buying, owning, and operating a vehicle powered by an internal-combustion engine.

Around the world, roughly 1 billion vehicle owners stop at fuel stations and keep cars powered by fossil fuels running—and have done for a century now.

Inevitably, it will take more than a few brief advertisements to help consumers understand electric cars.

DON'T MISS: Go Forth Electric Vehicle Showcase in Portland: lessons learned

Thankfully, various organizations have undertaken this daunting task to educate shoppers and help more buyers discover electric cars for the very first time.

Notably, three of these electric-car discover and education centers have opened in the last year, in three different countries: the United States, Canada, and the Netherlands.

Despite being thousands of miles apart, the centers share the common goal of educating the public on electric-car ownership and providing factual information about what they're like to drive, charge, and live with.

 

Go Forth Electric Vehicle Showcase, Portland, Oregon, July 2017

Go Forth Electric Vehicle Showcase, Portland, Oregon, July 2017

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Portland, Oregon, is home to the first such center in the United States: the Go Forth Electric Vehicle Showcase offers a relaxed environment to help interested buyers understand electric cars.

The nonprofit Forth (nee Drive Oregon) partnered with Portland General Electric and other entities to identify key areas where consumers absolutely need education and experience.

Those include actually driving an electric car and recharging one—two things buyers may not feel comfortable doing or asking about at a traditional franchised car dealership.

READ THIS: Toyota Prius Prime buyers misled by dealers; more education needed

Dealer staff are often not trained extensively on electric cars and their usability, which can lead to misinformation, as anecdotal reports continue to show.

North of the border, in Toronto, Ontario, the Plug'n Drive center works to provide a one-stop-window shopping experience and education on EVs.

Not only does it provide education, but it also refers interested shoppers to EV-certified dealerships—an accreditation many dealers will most likely want—for more information.

 

Go Forth Electric Vehicle Showcase, Portland, Oregon, July 2017

Go Forth Electric Vehicle Showcase, Portland, Oregon, July 2017

Enlarge Photo

The Canadian center also leans on partners to involve the broader community.

For example, different utility companies provide the charging stations on display and sponsor its training hall.

A bank is also on hand to provide exclusive electric-car financing and insurance offers.

CHECK OUT: Advocacy group takes electric cars to Capitol Hill to inform lawmakers

Other advocacy groups, such as Plug-In America, are taking the education directly to individuals.

The group invaded Capitol Hill earlier this year to educate U.S. representatives and senators, offering them the chance to experience electric cars.

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