With state funding slated to end this summer, the Oregon-based electric vehicle advocacy group Drive Oregon has now changed its name and expanded its mission beyond state lines, according to recent reports.
The organization’s name is now “Forth,” and it has its eye set on Oregon’s neighbor to the north — Washington State.
Previous to this transformation the advocacy group was unsurprisingly focused entirely on Oregon — as this is where much of its funding was coming from. With that dependency ending, there’s no real need to not expand where it makes sense to — which is Washington, as that state is a neighbor, is fairly EV friendly, and doesn’t play host to a group like Forth (Drive Oregon).
The executive director of the group, Jeff Allen, commented: “We are changing our name to better reflect our expanded geographic footprint, our expanded scope, and our consumer engagement work through the Showcase project.”
Green Car Reports provides more: “Second, the old Drive Oregon had largely focused on electrifying personal transport and shared vehicles, with a large part of its activities within the greater Portland area. Now it’s adding the other three factors that, combined with electrification, will change the nature of personal vehicles over the next 15 years: autonomous (and near-autonomous) self-driving cars, connectivity (in which cars are always able to send and receive data via a mobile link), and sharing.
“The nature of those projects has yet to be determined, but Portland has a longstanding culture of carsharing, including electric vehicles, so there’s a strong base of experience on which to build.
“Third and finally, there’s the Showcase project… Federally funded as of last September, the Showcase is a permanent location in downtown Portland that will showcase a variety of electric vehicles from different manufacturers, as well as charging equipment. It will have a strong educational component, with the goal of promoting the benefits of electric cars to regional consumers.”
As you can imagine, if the approach proves successful, then Forth will no doubt be inclined to test it out in other markets as well.
That project, it should be realized, though, relies on a 3-year, $1 million grant from the US DOE. It seems possible that some auto manufacturers or car dealerships could be willing to help fund future versions of the project in exchange for sale referrals.
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