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|Articles - December 2011|
|Tuesday, November 15, 2011|
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By Kristen Hall-Geisler
Two years ago, electric vehicles were going to save the world and Oregon in particular. There would be several models on the market to choose from, they all would be fast and go far, and there would be as many charging stations dotting I-5 as Ducks fans on game day. Manufacturers and politicians alike were expecting everyone to dive into the deep end of the EV pool. But consumers have been slow to embrace the new technology. As Mitsubishi’s Maurice Durand says about the EV Promised Land: “If anyone’s talking in terms of five years, make it 20.”
Buying an EV has become less of a boutique experience and more like buying any other car. Electric-only dealerships are nearly a thing of the past, with Green Tech Automotive selling low-powered neighborhood electric vehicles from NmG in Portland, and Grants Pass Electric Vehicles selling NEVs and electric motorcycles. The more powerful commute-friendly Nissan Leaf is available through Nissan dealerships now, and Mitsubishi has taken 400 total preorders in four states, including Oregon, for its i-MiEV electric car. Durand says the company has modest volume targets to push the infrastructure, since it is taking consumers longer to adopt the new technology than Mitsubishi had anticipated.
Electric cars from a few major manufacturers were expected to be on sale in 2010, but they are only now arriving at dealerships. The EVs available today go faster and farther on a charge than most EVs of the past and a few early adopters in Oregon seem to be willing to plunk down the cash to be emissions-free. In April 2009, there were 130 electric-only vehicles registered in Oregon, and many of those were conversions of gasoline-powered cars done by enthusiasts. In October, there were 880 passenger electric vehicles registered, not counting commercial vehicles.
While consumers are slow to warm up to the EV idea, Oregon electric vehicle manufacturing is also struggling to find its spark. BYD, a company courted by Gov. Ted Kulongoski two years ago, has yet to establish any manufacturing outside its home base in China. Think!, a Norwegian company also wooed by Oregon boosters, built its U.S. plant in Plainfield, Ind. Even homegrown EV businesses have struggled over the past two years; electric ATV builder Barefoot Motors closed its Ashland-based business in late 2010. EV-only dealership EcoMotion closed its doors in 2009.
There are a couple of bright spots. Another Ashland EV company, Brammo, is selling its electric motorcycles in Best Buy and expanding its European sales. There’s also Arcimoto, the Eugene company founded by Mark Frohnmayer and championed by Nathan Fillion of ABC’s Castle, which is nearing production of its SRK small electric vehicle.
Sunday, February 15, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
As the investigation against the governor moves forward, those of us in the news business should reflect on our own potential for subverting the democratic process.
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN
Thinking about starting an internship program? Be careful. Navigating unpaid internships can be tricky.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER
Catching up with Amen Teter, Portland-based global director of action sports for Octagon Olympics & Action sports talent agency.
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE
After more than a decade of wrangling, construction on a convention center hotel in Portland is slated to start this summer. But debate over project financing continues.
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
“We thought there was room for something new.”
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR
A partnership of a grassroots environmental organization and a youth group is striving to build community and business support for carbon price legislation.
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT | OB CONTRIBUTOR
"Shipping containers to Portland is like waiting for a bus that travels once a day."
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