A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

USA: Oregon’s electric vehicle cluster rethinks its image

It was nearly three years ago that then-Gov. Ted Kulongoski and Sen. Ron Wyden stood alongside the CEO of an upstart electric car manufacturer in downtown Portland with visions of what could be.

Richard Canny, CEO of Norway-based Think, was in town scoping out Daimler Trucks’ Swan Island plant as a site to build his company’s tiny Think City all-electric cars.

“When looking for locations,” Canny said in April 2009, “Oregon is really looking like a good place to do some business.”

Oregon missed out on Think, perhaps thankfully. The company chose Elkhart, Ind., and then turned into a cautionary tale after filing for bankruptcy last year, bringing production to a halt.

Though Think’s struggles highlight the volatility in the evolving electric vehicle industry, Oregon economic development leaders still believe it’s a market that holds tremendous potential for the state.

Though they haven’t given up hope of one day luring another auto manufacturer to Oregon, the spotlight is instead being shone on the potential for Oregon to build a robust supply chain for EVs.

“Most of the economic development opportunity potential is in the supply chain,” said Jeff Allen, executive director Drive Oregon, the state’s electric vehicle industry association. “We are focusing a lot more of our energy into those supply chain opportunities.”

Drive Oregon has commissioned a research study that over the next few months will go about assessing the current state of the EV industry in Oregon.

The goal is to get a handle on exactly how many Oregon companies have a toe in the EV world, how many jobs the electric vehicle industry has created, the size of the payroll and what areas have the most promising growth opportunities.

But in most circles, economic development officials have already seemed to have concluded that the supply chain is the best opportunity.

And for good reason.

While a handful of electric vehicle manufacturing startups have sprouted across Oregon — Ashland-based motorcycle-maker Brammo being among the most advanced — many remain several steps from commercialization.

But the state’s strength in software and electronics manufacturing, particularly in the Portland area, is full of companies discovering their skills can be applied in the emerging EV market.

Southeast Portland-based AIMCO for most of its 42 years has made a business out of marketing specialized power tools to auto manufacturers.


2 comments to USA: Oregon’s electric vehicle cluster rethinks its image

Leave a Reply