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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!