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Electrify Expo Seattle Puts E-Mobility Front and Center to Thousands of Spectators
BY Mike Maravilla //
September 22, 2023
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Photography: Neri Valenti
@neri.valenti
  • Electrify Expo is an exhibition of the e-mobility space that traverses the United States to bring new attention to propulsion alternatives.
  • Electrify Expo Seattle was hosted on September 9-10 at the famous Marymoor Park, which boasted over 1,000,000 sq ft of entertainment space for this segment and netted over 23,000 consumer demos through the weekend.
  • Exhibits, test drives, food trucks, and more contributed to Electrify Expo’s fun festival feel.
  • Electrify “Showoff” is North America’s largest modified EV gathering and was a centerpiece of the expo to show that the automotive aftermarket is here to stay.

For many of us, electronics are so commonplace that they’ve become virtually passive in our everyday lives lights, microwaves, computers, and the phone you’re probably reading this article on right now. However, its integration has been admittedly slower in the automotive space. And that’s what Electrify Expo hopes to change.

WHAT IS ELECTRIFY EXPO?

Electrify Expo is North America’s largest outdoor electric vehicle (EV) festival that showcases the latest products and innovations within the electrification space. The festival addresses one of the most challenging barriers to the mass adoption of electric vehicles — first-hand experience with the product — by offering attendees meaningful demonstrations and test rides.

Many of the world’s top automotive brands like Porsche, Polestar, Tesla, Toyota, and BMW, have taken the Electrify Expo as an immense opportunity to exhibit and meet consumers for direct feedback en route to alternative mobility solutions.

Ever since Turn 14 Distribution has set an industry-leading course toward sustainability, Pit+Paddock’s interest in the electrification world has risen, too. We took the time we spent in Seattle for our recent Performance Car Invitational as a sign to stick around and attend Electrify Expo’s stop in the Emerald City on September 9-10.

SPACE TO SHARE

The Seattle stop was hosted at Marymoor Park, which made over 1,000,000 sq ft of space available for exhibitors, entertainers, and attendees to share. The venue marked an emphatic upgrade from the University of Washington grounds and was a direct response to how fast the city has welcomed EV technology into their lives. According to Axios reports, Seattle’s adoption rate has doubled in a year’s time, which means the PNW city is now second to only California in terms of overall volume.

“The greater Seattle area, including Redmond and Bellevue, is leading the way in EV adoption and we are looking forward to returning in 2024,” said BJ Birtwell, the CEO and Founder of Electrify Expo. “The huge festival footprint coupled with an amazing turnout of brands gave Seattleites all they needed to make a decision on going electric.”

The expansive venue also made it possible to put on a proper festival. Up until recent times and despite Tesla’s gimmicks, electric vehicle ownership felt like a sterile endeavor that often reflected or shifted its proprietors’ personality. In contrast to that aging stereotype, the expo was fun and attendees were encouraged to interact with and demo every facet of e-mobility. There were no locked doors here and the community responded in kind: over 23,000 demos were enjoyed throughout the two-day event.

“We’re making it fun and easy for consumers to learn by giving them first-hand experiences behind the wheel, or on the seat of their favorite electric vehicle, ultimately often leading to purchase decisions but in a no-stress sales environment,” continued Birtwell.

Electrify Expo helped prove that buying an EV didn’t have to change anything about our lives except to make it more sustainable. Indeed, it’s more of a macroeconomic shift than a micro one, and the soul that we all cherish in our ICE-powered cars was still there, albeit just at a low hum.

SUCH A SHOWOFF

Of course, Electrify Expo also had something for aftermarket enthusiasts. Electrify “Showoff” is North America’s largest modified EV gathering and was a centerpiece of the expo and gave mainstays within our community — like Yokohama, Toyo, and AEM — a soapbox to proof that automotive customization is here to stay.

The Toyo booth featured four Bisimoto cars, which is incredible because Bisi Ezerioha, the founder of Bisimoto Engineering, had very publicly been an opponent of EV power. Over the last handful of years, he’s come to understand the performance potential of electrification and has embraced a new era in hot-rodding. His marriage to the EV space is significant because he’ll be able to inject it with a sense of enthusiasm, innovation, and polish that enthusiasts demand. Huff Performance took hot-rodding to a new level. He unveiled a dragster that boasted an eye-watering 2,400 hp and 2,000 lb-ft of torque.

As you’d expect from any car show, awards for Best of Show were dolled out too, including cars that’d been converted to EV powertrains. Seattle Electric Vehicle Association (SEVA) Group contributed eight conversions to the show and swept awards in categories like Best EV Conversion, Best Coupe, and Best Truck. Conductive Classics, an EV-conversion company from Idaho, took the coveted Best of Show honors with an incredible Ford Falcon.

GRASS-ROOTS

I confess that I’ve had a lot of bad things to say about the numerous zealots who have owned EVs. I lament every Uber ride I take in an EV because chances are, they’ll segway (no pun intended) into one of two things: 1.) how many solar panels they have on the roof of their house or 2.) how they can blow the doors off anything on the road. But despite these bad apples, I have to also admit that I find EV technology fascinating. It might not be the answer long-term, but as an alternative to fossil fuels — even simply as a way to reduce our consumption of it — I’m rooting for electrification to pick up momentum.

Electrify Expo’s work over the last couple of years has done that and along the way, has created a new interpretation of what we’d call “grassroots”. Its immersive approach encourages the interplay that this new space requires and injects it with a call to action toward sustainability in a way that’s exciting and admittedly cool rather than pushy or, like I said before, zealous.

I believe that Electrify Expo will not only change the way we think about e-mobility, but also what conduct and access we expect out of future auto shows. For the thousands of attendees, it has already reset expectations so that this proliferating space can become an integral part of our lives like the devices we know, love, and use every day.


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