First-of-its-kind program brings electric vehicle car sharing to lower-income community

Drive Oregon, Hacienda CDC, and Pacific Power are breaking the barriers to
electric vehicle access starting in Portland, Oregon
 
 

PORTLAND, OR. (March 24, 2017) – In the first program of its type in the United States, Drive Oregon is partnering with the Hacienda Community Development Corporation (CDC) and Pacific Power to locate three used Honda Fit electric vehicles (EVs) in Northeast Portland, where they will be available to community residents through peer-to-peer car sharing.

The program officially launched today with a ribbon-cutting event. High-quality photos of the event are available, contact Emmaline if interested.

“Electric cars can have a transformative impact on lower-income communities,” said Jeff Allen, Drive Oregon, Executive Director. “Working with Hacienda CDC, we’re eliminating the cost barriers to ownership and making EVs available as shared cars. We hope this pilot project will demonstrate the powerful potential of providing reliable, cleaner vehicles in communities most impacted by long commutes and high levels of air pollution.”

Many lower-income communities experience higher rates of air pollution and resulting adverse health impacts, in part because of their proximity to highways or industrial sites. Rising housing costs are also pushing lower-income workers further from the city center, creating longer commutes and increasing transportation costs.

Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson stated, “One of the key elements of affordable housing has to be affordable transportation – and electric vehicles are a key piece of the solution. This new project is a great example of how advanced technology can save people money, improve their quality of life, and clean up our air at the same time.”

“Transportation is most families’ second highest monthly expense,” said Gena Scott, Hacienda CDC, Asset Manager. “While public transportation is a great solution, many of our community members don’t have access to bus routes where they live, or face hours of time and multiple transfers simply to get to work, see the doctor or run errands. With these electric cars, we’re able to ensure our community has a clean, convenient and low-cost way to get from point A to point B.”

Once the upfront cost of buying an electric car is addressed, they are substantially cheaper to drive. With a gasoline-fueled sedan, the current cost of maintenance and gas is $3.87 per gallon (1). In contrast, driving on electricity is equivalent to paying $0.99 per gallon for gas (2). An Oregon family that drives an average of 853 miles per month can save over $100 per month by driving an EV (3).

“This innovative approach to enabling inexpensive, clean, and reliable transportation is a great way to open the benefits of EVs to everyone,” said Scott Bolton, Pacific Power, Vice President of External Affairs. “EVs are cheaper and cleaner to operate making them a good choice for commuters and neighborhood needs.”

The pilot’s Honda Fit EVs are located at Vista de Rosas, an affordable housing apartment complex owned by Hacienda CDC. EV charging stations provided by the CarCharging Group are installed on-site, to enable easy, convenient charging for area residents. The Fits are available to rent at Turo.com.

Major partners in the project include Drive Oregon, Hacienda CDC, American Honda Motor Company, Pacific Power, and CarCharging Group. This project is made possible by grants from the Meyer Memorial Trust and the 11th Hour Project, a program of the Schmidt Family Foundation.

(1) AAA, Your Driving Costs
(2) U.S. Department of Energy, EGallon
(3) CarInsurance.com, Average miles driven per year by state

About Drive Oregon and the Drive Oregon Foundation

The Drive Oregon Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit that is closely affiliated with Drive Oregon, a 501(c)(6) non-profit trade association. Drive Oregon’s mission is to accelerate the growth of the electric and “smart” mobility industry and promote greater adoption of these technologies. Drive Oregon is funded in part with Oregon State Lottery Funds administered by Business Oregon. Learn more at www.driveoregon.org.

About the Hacienda Community Development Corporation
Hacienda CDC is a Latino Community Development Corporation that strengthens families by providing affordable housing, homeownership support, economic advancement and educational opportunities located in the Living Cully Neighborhood of NE Portland. Learn more at http://www.haciendacdc.org/.

About Pacific Power
Pacific Power provides electric service to almost 750,000 customers in Oregon, Washington and California. The company works to meet growing energy demand while protecting and enhancing the environment. Pacific Power is part of PacifiCorp, one of the lowest-cost electricity producers in the United States, with1.8 million customers in six western states Information about Pacific Power is available on the company’s website, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages, which can be accessed via pacificpower.net. 

Media Contacts: 

Jeff Allen, jeff@driveoregon.org, 541-490-9021
Emmaline Pohnl, emmaline@driveoregon.org503.724.8670 ext.104

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Oregon Governor Kate Brown Opens Electric Vehicle Ride & Drive Event at State Capitol

SALEM, OR. (Wednesday, March 8, 2017) – An Electric Vehicle Ride & Drive at the Oregon State Capitol attracted dozens of Oregon Legislators, staff, and community members interested in learning more about electric mobility and experiencing what it feels like to drive electric. Attendees had the opportunity to test drive a variety of electric vehicles including the Nissan LEAF, the Chevy Volt, Chevy Bolt, Ford, and BMW i3, as well as electric bicycles.
 

The event was held as the Oregon Legislature considers HB 2704, a measure that would provide a rebate of up to $2,500 for electric vehicles and a larger rebate of up to $250,000 for electric transit buses. The package also includes funding for demonstration projects to increase electric vehicle use in low income households most heavily impacted by air pollution and high transportation costs.  

Governor Kate Brown provided opening remarks at the event, emphasizing the economic and environmental benefits of electric vehicles for Oregon.

“Oregon has blazed new trails by investing in the West Coast Electric Highway and pursing strategies to help reach our greenhouse gas reduction goals,” Governor Brown said. “More and more, Oregon drivers are turning to electric vehicles as a clean, cost effective transportation option, and Drive Oregon is making electric vehicle ownership accessible to even more Oregonians, while supporting continued innovation in Oregon’s related industries.” 

Jeff Allen, Executive Director of Drive Oregon, noted, “For most families, transportation is the second highest monthly expense. The average Oregon family can save hundreds of dollars per month driving an electric vehicle – and that extra savings can help them buy clothing, food, and healthcare for their children. Plus, when families shift spending away from gasoline, more of that money stays in Oregon, contributing to economic growth and increasing tax revenue.” 

High Quality Photographs Available – Download Here

About Drive Oregon
Drive Oregon’s mission is to accelerate the growth of the electric and “smart” mobility industry and promote greater adoption of these technologies. Drive Oregon is funded in part with Oregon State Lottery Funds administered by Business Oregon. Learn more at www.driveoregon.org.
 
 
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Now Hiring Program Associates – Apply by March 27

(March 7, 2017) – Drive Oregon’s continued growth has created the need for two new Program Associate positions. These new team members will support a federally funded electric vehicle education and promotion campaign in Oregon and Washington.

Check out a summary of the positions below or visit our HiringThing page for the full posting and to apply by March 27!

Summary of Duties

Program Associates will staff a showroom in downtown Portland designed to educate consumers about electric vehicles, charging options, and clean transportation; will support projects and marketing campaigns designed to reach specific key markets in a focused way; and will help build and strengthen Drive Oregon. Exact responsibilities will be divided between the two successful candidates based on their experience and backgrounds.

Consumer Engagement (~60%)

Project Coordination (~30%)

Fundraising (~10%)

For a detailed description of the job duties, please visit the job posting.

Qualifications

We seek candidates who are focused, organized, enthusiastic about electric transportation, and comfortable working with diverse consumers and organizational partners. Electric vehicle experience is a plus, but not necessary. Drive Oregon remains a small, dynamic organization; the successful candidates will be expected to wear many hats, work independently, and play an active role in the organization’s development.

For a complete list of required and desired qualifications, please visit the job posting.

Compensation

Starting wage will be $15-17 per hour. A minimum of 20 hours per week is guaranteed, which may increase based on seasonality, available funding, candidate interest, and staffing needs. Benefits at full time include fully employer paid health insurance, a 3% employer contribution to a 401K plan, 4 weeks of paid vacation, sick and personal days, and a friendly and supportive office environment. Benefits are pro-rated for part time employees. We also provide access to an electric vehicle for business use.  

To Apply

We will review applications as they are received. To ensure full consideration, please apply no later than March 27 (5 PM PT).

To apply, submit your résumé and cover letter here.

People of color, people with disabilities, veterans and LGBTQ candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. Drive Oregon is committed to a diverse workplace, and to supporting our staff with ongoing career development opportunities. Drive Oregon is an equal opportunity employer.

Drive Oregon provides reasonable accommodations to applicants and employees as required by law. Applicants with disabilities may request a reasonable accommodation at any point in the employment process.

All applicants will receive notification via email when a final decision has been made. We are small – so please, no phone calls.

Norway: A Case Study for EV Incentives

By: Zach Henkin, Program Director

(February 27, 2017) – This month I had the opportunity to attend and present at the Nordic EV Summit in Drammen, Norway. For an event focused on discussing the future of electric mobility, the choice of Norway as the host country was appropriate. There are few places in the world that are examples of how quickly the adoption of electric vehicles can be realized – and Norway is one of those places! This small Nordic country could easily have taken a different approach, relying on their North Sea oil production to fuel their cars, trucks, and trains. Instead, the country is leveraging their renewable hydroelectricity to power a multitude of clean transportation options. Inexpensive, emissions-free electricity paired with a mix of consumer incentives are encouraging thousands of Norwegians to drive electric.

The main auditorium at the Nordic EV Summit.

Norway is a case study for showing that incentives spur adoption. The country of Norway has some of the most substantial monetary and non-monetary incentives for electric vehicles in the world including a purchase incentive for electric vehicles, reductions in registration fees and taxes, a home charger incentive, privileged car and bus lane use, exclusive and free parking, and preferential toll charges. This commitment to electric vehicles has led Norway to be the first country to move past the early adopter market, with an incredible 37% of new cars sales being electric. The variety of incentives Norway offers can serve as a model for other cities and states as they design policies to increase the adoption of electric vehicles.

BMW i3 with Nordic EV Summit banner.

Interestingly, Norway and Oregon have some similarities. Both have populations of around 5 million and electrical grids powered primarily by hydroelectricity. Both have collaborative, supportive industry, government, and non-profit groups working to strengthen the plug-in electric vehicle market and robust public charging networks. Key cities in Norway and Oregon, including Oslo and Portland, respectively, are committed to promoting bicycling, walking, and public transit, while realizing that, if their residents must drive, they ought to be driving electric. Looking ahead, both regions are moving toward a future where their residents no longer see the vehicle as a product to buy, but will pay for transport as part of a mobility experience. The one key difference is that Oregon, unlike Norway, does not currently have a vehicle rebate incentive, but Drive Oregon is working hard to make that a reality this year.

One of my key takeaways from the event was that there are successful strategies in Norway and Europe that we can implement here to hit our goals. These include:

  • Co-location of DC fast charging formats (CCS, CHAdeMO, Tesla)
  • Siting of DC Fast charging in locations people want to be at
  • Installing charging in the right-of-way
  • Transitioning to faster fast-charging (150 kW+)
  • Bold commitments from cities, state, and other local government

Drive Oregon is advocating for and engaged in many of these strategies already, and the connections I made at the Nordic EV Summit will further boost our efforts.

Norway has taken a leadership role within the Nordics and Europe, showing that it is possible to transition a nation’s transportation sector away from fossil fuels. In Oregon, the transportation sector is one of the largest sources of our state’s greenhouse gas emissions. It will take bold leadership, like Norway’s, to move us to a cleaner future.  

For more photos of the event, click here. Photos & video credit: Teknisk Ukeblad Media.

Drive Oregon Working to Secure Clean Vehicle Rebate for Oregonians

By: Jeanette Shaw, Director of Government Relations

February 6, 2017 (Portland, OR) – When I joined Drive Oregon as its first Director of Government Relations in December 2016, I knew that one of my first priorities would be to secure passage of an electric vehicle rebate during Oregon’s 2017 Legislative Assembly.

The Assembly convened February 1, and we are off to a strong start, with several electric vehicle related bills on the agenda for the first hearing of the House Committee on Energy and the Environment this Wednesday, February 8. 

This hearing is particularly timely, given a recent report from the Oregon Global Warming Commission that emphasizes the importance of cleaning up the state’s transportation sector. The Commission’s Chair, Angus Duncan, was quoted as saying, “If the legislature is going to do anything on carbon this session, make sure you do something on transportation. That’s the biggest deal. Emissions have been going up instead of down, not even going sideways anymore.”

There is plenty of evidence that “cash on the hood” incentives are the best way to drive increased electric vehicle sales. They’ve worked in California, Washington, and Norway. And we’ve also seen the opposite, when electric vehicle sales dropped 80% after Georgia eliminated its state incentive.  Sponsored by Representative Helm, HB 2704 will establish rebates of up to $2,500 for passenger cars and up to $250,000 for electric transit buses. We will be testifying in support of this bill along with key industry partners and supporters at Wednesday’s hearing.

While this bill could stand alone, we also expect it to be a lively topic as the Legislature considers a broader transportation funding package. We recently convened a group of technology, environmental, and transportation professionals to explore how advanced and increasingly disruptive mobility technologies, from electrification to ride-sharing to autonomous vehicles, can be harnessed to truly “modernize the transportation system” as envisioned by the Governor’s Transportation Vision Panel. We agree with the Vision Panel that “Oregon should be a national testbed for the development and deployment of innovative transportation,” and we will continue to seek opportunities to make that vision a reality.

The rebate bill is the single most important electric vehicle legislation being considered this session, but Drive Oregon will be tracking a number of other proposals that could help advance the electric and advanced mobility industry. For example, at the February 8 Committee hearing we will also be testifying in support of two bills that guarantee the “right to charge” for commercial tenants, such as those renting office space and residential tenants in apartment buildings. These bills, HB 2510 and HB 2511, are sponsored by Representative Barnhart, a long time champion of electric vehicles. They build on his previous successful legislation that guaranteed homeowner associations could not unreasonably prevent the right to charge for Oregonians who live in condominiums.

Please join Drive Oregon’s work to modernize the transportation system and pledge your support for HB 2704 by adding your name here!

For more information about our legislative and policy work, please contact me at any time.

 

Oregon and Washington Present Coordinated Strategy for VW Investment

Volkswagen Group of America (VW) is investing $2 billion over the next 10 years in Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure and awareness through its new Electrify America initiative, which will kick off with an initial 30-month investment plan expected to be approved in March.

Drive Oregon recently worked with the states of Oregon and Washington to submit a coordinated regional proposal to highlight areas where we think VW investments can best strengthen the ZEV ecosystem in the Pacific Northwest over the coming 30 months. To download and review the proposal, click here.

This is just one piece in the larger regional collaboration between state agencies, utilities, automakers, charging companies, nonprofits, and others that will be necessary to support the transition to electric transportation. We hope you will stay engaged with Drive Oregon as we chart the path ahead!

The State of Oregon also wants to stay in touch with key stakeholders over the coming months. To ensure you are included in the state’s outreach work, please contact Andrew Dick at the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Questions? Contact Zach Henkin.

Energize Oregon Coalition Meeting Highlights Growth and Opportunity Ahead

On December 1, 2016, over 65 members and guests of the Energize Oregon Coalition gathered in downtown Portland for the Coalition’s bi-annual meeting. These meetings are a place for members to share progress, discuss challenges, and explore opportunities for collaboration, all with the goal of advancing the plug-in vehicle market in Oregon.

Jeff Allen, Executive Director of Drive Oregon, opened the meeting by thanking Coalition members for their engagement. Zach Henkin, Program Director at Drive Oregon, took the floor next to present on the NW Electric Vehicle Showcase project. Drive Oregon, with the partnership of over a dozen local and regional organizations, secured a U.S. Department of Energy grant to implement this new project designed to promote electric vehicles to consumers in innovative ways.

Review and download Zach’s full presentation for more details on the Showcase.

The impact of this grant will be significant on the electric vehicle market in the Pacific Northwest, and also is bringing changes to the Drive Oregon itself. Jeff discussed how, as a result of the grant, the organization is now preparing to formally expand its scope beyond Oregon. He shared that staff are currently developing new messaging and branding, in order to more effectively implement the Showcase project and to reflect other shifts in Drive Oregon’s activities since its launch in 2011. He highlighted that there would be more announcements on this development in early 2017.

Work Group Reports

After these opening remarks and throughout the day, leaders of the Coalition work groups reported out on their progress and next steps.

Marian Hammond of Brinks Communications, Co-Chair of the Coalition’s Education and Outreach Work Group, highlighted the new collateral developed over the past year, in particular around workplace charging, and future marketing work tied to the Showcase project.

Review and download Marian’s full presentation.

John Morris of Morris Energy Consulting, Co-Chair of the Coalition’s Utility Engagement Work Group, reviewed the group’s success over its first year. The work group, launched in February 2016, has consistently attracted 25-35 participants to its informative calls. Over a dozen local public and private utilities have participated in the calls that have covered a range of topics focused on informing and supporting utilities seeking to become more active in transportation electrification.

Jeff Allen, Jana Gastellum of the Oregon Environmental Council, Robert Langford of American Honda Motor Company, and Dan Bates of Thorn Run Partners provided an update from the Coalition’s Policy Work Group. The group is focused on supporting the design of and advocacy for securing an electric vehicle purchase incentive in Oregon’s 2017 Legislative session.

Zach Henkin, Co-Chair of the Workplace Charging Work Group, highlighted how Drive Oregon, with the support of work group members, has been able to be an effective Workplace Charging Challenge Ambassador. He also shared that the workplace charging website page recently was refreshed, providing more information and case studies.

Review and download Zach’s presentation.

Additional Sessions

In addition to work group reports, the Coalition meeting also featured a panel discussion of regional utilities, presentations by several key automakers, and a review of Oregon and Washington State’s efforts to strengthen their fast charging networks.

The utility panel featured Rick Durst of Portland General Electric, Eli Morris of PacifiCorp, and Jayson Hunnel of Avista Utilties. Rick and Eli presented their companies’ transportation electrification plans that will be submitted to the Oregon Public Utilities Commission at the end of this year. Jayson highlighted some of the creative work Avista has been pursuing in their service territory in Washington State. For more information and details, review and download their presentations:

Rick Durst, Portland General Electric

Eli Morris, PacifiCorp

Jayson Hunnel, Avista Utilities

Six automaker representatives detailed their firms’ current and anticipated electric vehicles and shared their perspective on what it will take to build a thriving electric vehicle market in the Northwest. To review their remarks, view and download their presentations below.

Jamie Hall, General Motors

Alisa Reinhardt, Mercedes-Benz

Ross Good, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Andrea Lubaway, Toyota Motor North America

Steve Henderson of Ford Motor Company and Robert Langford of American Honda Motor Company also presented.

Andrew Dick of the Oregon Department of Transportation and Peter Moulton of the Washington State Department of Commerce provided an update on the DCFC fast charging network in their respective states and discussed future initiatives to strengthen the charging network. The discussion also highlighted the opportunity to improve charging infrastructure in the Northwest through the VW settlement funds; as part of the settlement, VW will be investing $2 million nationally over the next ten years to electric vehicle charging.

Review and download Andrew’s presentation.

New Work Group on Equity Announced

The meeting concluded with a discussion of Drive Oregon’s newest work group, which will focus on equity. 

Jill Fuglister from the Meyer Memorial Trust introduced the subject. Transportation is the second highest costs facing most families, and traditional transportation investment decisions have often widened economic disparities.

Review and download Jill’s presentation.

Jeff Allen highlighted the importance of developing mobility solutions that work for everyone: it’s the right thing to do, and it will have a bigger environmental and economic impact. Moreover, it is critically important to counter the misperception that electric vehicles are simply expensive toys for the rich – both to bring these cars to the mass market, and to build support for pro-EV policies. Drive Oregon will be convening a new Equity Work Group to help shape its policy recommendations, to develop demonstration projects like the one it is launching with Hacienda CDC, and to build its internal capacity to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Conclusion

Thank you to everyone who attended and presented at this Coalition meeting, and for all those who have engaged in the work groups over the past year. Together, we can build a stronger plug-in electric vehicle market in the Pacific Northwest! We expect to convene again in June 2017, in conjunction with the EV Roadmap 10 Conference. Stay tuned for more details in the months ahead!

 

Drive Oregon’s Growth Brings New Opportunities

PORTLAND, OR. (December 20, 2016) – Drive Oregon announced today the hiring of three new staff members and the receipt of over $500,000 in private foundation grant funding by its closely affiliated charity, the Drive Oregon Foundation.

The Drive Oregon Foundation received over $500,000 in new grant funding in the past six weeks to advance electric mobility in Oregon, particularly in low income and traditionally underserved communities. Sources include the 11th Hour Project, a program of the California-based Schmidt Family Foundation, which provided $400,000; Oregon’s Meyer Memorial Trust, which provided $70,000; and the Seattle-based Bullitt Foundation, which provided $35,000.

Jill Fuglister, Healthy Environment Portfolio Director for the Meyer Memorial Trust, noted, “Transportation is the second highest expense for most families and can be a major barrier to opportunity – as well as a major source of air pollution. We’re eager to see how clean and affordable electric vehicles can be part of the solution.”

Drive Oregon’s three new staff members will further the organization’s mission and activities. Jeanette Shaw, Drive Oregon’s new Director of Government Relations, spent 15 years at National Semiconductor and has had her own Oregon-based practice representing companies in the advanced mobility and high technology industries. Program Managers Esther Pullido and Catherine Teebay will staff Drive Oregon’s brand-neutral electric vehicle showroom opening next April in downtown Portland. This project is funded in part by a grant of nearly $1 million from the US Department of Energy.

Learn more about our new staff members on our website.

Jeff Allen, Executive Director of Drive Oregon, stated, “We are deeply grateful to all of our funders and excited about our fantastic new staff. Together, we will continue to make the Northwest a model for clean, cost-effective mobility for all.”

About Drive Oregon

Drive Oregon is the epicenter for innovation in electric mobility, connecting leaders and entrepreneurs to advance the industry and strengthen our economy. Drive Oregon’s mission is to grow the electric vehicle industry and promote electric transportation in Oregon. Drive Oregon is funded in part with Oregon State Lottery Funds administered by Business Oregon. Learn more at www.driveoregon.org.

About the Drive Oregon Foundation

The Foundation’s mission is to illustrate how electric vehicles, and other smart transportation choices, can improve environmental quality and strengthen Oregon’s economy. Learn more at www.driveoregon.org/about-us/drive-oregon-foundation/.

Media Contacts:

Sarah Wilkinson, sarah@brinkcomm.com, 202.431.8308

Jeff Allen, jeff@driveoregon.org, 503.724.8670 

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CANCELED: December Monthly Event This Afternoon (12/15)

Due to poor road conditions resulting from yesterday’s snowfall, we are CANCELING this afternoon’s (12/15) monthly event. We were greatly looking forward to this event, but want to put the safety of our guests first. If you registered as a guest and paid, you will receive a refund. 

We hope you will be able to join us on Thursday, January 19th for our first monthly event of 2017. We’ll be taking a look at the transportation electrifications plans proposed by Portland General Electric & PacifiCorp as a result of SB 1547. Learn more and register here.

Thank you for your engagement and support over the past year. We look forward to continuing to work with all our stakeholders to create another exciting year of advancement for the electric vehicle industry!

Happy Holidays, 

The Drive Oregon Team

Insights from Europe: Models for Urban Mobility

By: Zach Henkin, Program Director

(October 25, 2016) – Portland has developed a culture that is oriented towards sustainability, with a particular focus on fostering sustainable transportation options and smart urban development. As a result, the city is known for its bike friendly infrastructure, urban green spaces, and smart land use policies. These traits are just some of what continue to attract businesses, families, students, and many others to experience the city. As our population continues to grow, it is worthwhile to look at how other cities are addressing the main transportation challenges of urbanization, traffic congestion and air pollution, by encouraging active transportation, car sharing, and electric mobility.

I recently traveled to Barcelona to attend the Light Electric Vehicle Summit and share the key takeaways of Drive Oregon’s recent electric bike (e-bike) promotion work. While in Europe, I also had the opportunity to meet with several others working to advance the use of zero emission transportation. Oregon is not alone in its efforts to “green” commutes and freight movement; many other regions and cities throughout the world are also engaged in this effort and several of them have innovative approaches that can serve as models.

One of the easiest connections to make when traveling to Europe is via Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. My extended layover of 31 hours was just enough time to bike across the city and meet a few colleagues at the University of Amsterdam. Even during my brief visit, it was obvious to see the differences in the city’s culture and approach to transportation compared to American cities. A whopping 63% of Amsterdamers use their bike on a daily basis, and mostly without a helmet. Bike lanes, trails, and signage are throughout the city and rentals are available from shops, hotels and other convenient locations. To say that bicycles are everywhere is not an overstatement. Amsterdam is a bike city.

In regards to Amsterdam’s extensive network of public bike paths, it’s worth noting that low-speed scooters and e-bikes share these lanes of traffic. Scooters in the U.S. have a speed limit of 30 MPH and, in many jurisdictions, it is unclear where they fit in the transportation system. In the Netherlands, an electric scooter’s small footprint allows it to fit seamlessly in with the bicyclists, sharing parking, lanes of traffic, and otherwise moving people around the city efficiently. Car share options, like in Portland, are ubiquitous; Car2Go and other rental options are plentiful throughout the city. One in four taxis operating in Amsterdam is fully electric, with Tesla Model S’s seeming to be the norm. These all-electric taxis get preferred service at hotels and the airport, and regulation could soon dictate that one in three taxis operating in the city be an electric vehicle.

img_3718-1

A path in downtown Barcelona dedicated to bikes and pedestrians. (Credit: Zach Henkin)

Barcelona has taken a different approach to street and urban design. There, scooters and motorcycles dominate the streetscape. According to a presentation at the Light Electric Vehicle Summit, 70% of all trips in Barcelona are made by either a motorcycle or scooter. In comparison, only 0.12% of motorcyclists ride to work regularly in the U.S. Barcelona’s residents have access to several electric scooter sharing services within the city, but fewer options for car sharing. Motorcycles and scooters pack the lanes at traffic lights, fill the alleys and sidewalks while parked, and, together, move people and goods more efficiently than roads full of single-occupancy, sedan-size vehicles. Barcelona’s urban street design also shows a commitment to bicycle and pedestrian travel, as it provides protected paths for walkers and bikers (see photo above). While cars continue to exist in the city, it is much easier to commute by bicycle, scooter, motorcycle, or foot.

As electric assist bicycles gain popularity, Portland is the ideal city for this technology, with its already bike friendly culture and support of sustainable transportation. While our claim to best bike city extends only to the U.S., we have chance to learn from European cities like Amsterdam and Barcelona, to see how they have managed to reduce traffic and air pollution while fostering business, recreation, and tourism.

zachZach Henkin, Program Director

Zach oversees Drive Oregon’s activities advancing workplace charging, electric vehicle deployment, and the adoption of electric vehicles by municipalities and businesses. An automotive and multi-modal transportation enthusiast, Zach came to Drive Oregon after spending time growing his energy aptitude while working in the solar energy industry building relationships and leading several Solarize programs in Clackamas and Multnomah County. Zach earned his MBA with a focus on Sustainable Business in 2013 from Marylhurst University in Lake Oswego, Oregon and lives with his family in Oregon City. Follow him on Twitter: @zachenkin