In the state capitol building yesterday, innovators from across the state gathered for a display of the newest line of Oregon-made electric vehicle products. At the event, informally called EV Legislation Day, producers of electric vehicle technology sent a message to the state legislature: The electric car is here to stay.
Daniel Russell, project coordinator at the capitol building, described the different types of electric vehicles at the capitol, including an all-terrain vehicle and a one-wheel motorcycle. One of the vehicles on display was The Pulse, the brainchild of Eugene-based company Arcimoto. The Pulse is a two-person vehicle capable of traveling up to 100 miles per charge and 65 miles per hour. It has a fuel economy equivalent of 190 miles to the gallon and is now the centerpiece of Arcimoto’s business strategy.
In a list that examined government support for electric vehicles, consumer acceptance, market fit and potential charging resources, the Norwegian automaker Think compiled rankings for the most electric-vehicle-ready cities in America. Portland and Seattle both made the top 10, coming in at sixth and ninth, respectively. Los Angeles and San Francisco topped the list.
“Oregon, and the Northwest in general, is very progressive, very do it yourself. I think it’s a positive thing,” Jeremy Bronson, head of Arcimoto marketing, said. “This whole area we think will be very receptive to this type of entrepreneurial energy.”
Steve Mital, University sustainability director, said people should not overlook the infrastructure investment necessary to make green transportation a realistic alternative to the internal combustion engine.
“It depends on your electricity grid,” he said. “If you buy one of Arcimoto’s cars here in the Northwest, where the electricity grid is based heavily on hydroelectricity and increasingly wind power, then you’re plugging into clean energy. But if you buy one in the Midwest, where most of the electricity is coal, you’re plugging into coal.”
Mital said that although Arcimoto’s initial success was a good sign, a lot of work needs to be done to reduce the country’s carbon footprint.
“An electric car by itself is not necessarily clean,” he said. “You have to plug the car into a power source and then trace that power source upstream.”
Bronson described Oregon, and Eugene in particular, as the perfect hatching ground for Arcimoto’s operation because if the car proves suitable for traveling in the open spaces of rural Oregon, driving in densely packed urban areas should be a breeze.
Mark Frohnmayer, son of former University president Dave Frohnmayer, founded Arcimoto in October 2007 “to bring quality, affordable, sustainable vehicles to the masses and aims to be a major player in the new green transportation space,” according to the company’s Web site.
Arcimoto’s first move was to purchase the three-wheeled electric vehicle called BugE, but the company soon decided to improve the design.
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