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USA: Electric Vehicle Symposium Draws Tech-Savvy L.A. Crowds

More than 3,000 people from 47 countries filled the Los Angeles Convention Center earlier this week for EVS 26, the nation’s largest electric vehicle symposium.
Beginning on Sunday, the conference allowed electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers, developers and parts suppliers to showcase new products and the latest electric vehicle technology.

Sales of the all-electric Nissan Leaf and plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt, the two most popular battery-powered vehicles in the U.S., set records in March but fell significantly in April. But inconsistent sales didn’t seem to bother expo exhibitors who were pleased with the turnout and upbeat about the future.

“You can really see that the EV industry is growing,” said Luis Giron, an exhibitor from Siemens. “It’s great to see that there are companies that are bringing new technologies to market which will allow us to electrify transportation.”

Attendees also seemed happy with the symposium, particularly the chance to test-drive new EVs as part of the “Ride And Drive” exhibit held in a parking lot outside.

“This is the largest and greatest I have ever seen,” Steve Lough, president of the Seattle Electric Vehicle Association, said. “The Ride And Drive has all the latest automobiles.”

The annual conference is organized by the World Electric Vehicle Association and visits the U.S. every three years. Next year the symposium heads to Barcelona, Spain.

“When it is in the U.S., we typically hold it somewhere on the West Coast because there are a lot of Asian participants,” said Emory Oney of the Electric Drive Transportation Association, an industry trade organization that helps organize the EVS.

The global presence of the EVS separates it from smaller, more local alternative fuel expositions, such as next weekend’s Natural Gas Vehicle Seminar in Long Beach.

Shida Zheng travelled with his company from China to promote what he calls “the world’s first e-Quadricycle.”

Zheng said the contraption had been a hit at the symposium. “It is a four-wheeled motorcycle, completely powered by electricity,” he explained. “Many people have come by to take pictures.”

Participants from at least one other nation came to publicize something besides products. Representatives from Holland attended EVS 26 to boost their country’s appeal for manufacturers.


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