That’s a wrap, people! The first-ever Electrify Expo live show took place this past weekend at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California, and I’m still recovering. Nearly twenty thousand people showed up for the event, with about 4,000 of them showing up before the gates even opened on Saturday morning. The message they sent to everyone who was paying attention: the e-mobility revolution is here!
While we were there, I had a chance to interview Irvine’s mayor, Farrah Khan, as well as California state senator David Min and several key people from the most exciting electric car and e-mobility microbrands out there, including the absolutely bonkers 50 MPH Xion CyberX. We also checked out the offerings from Rad Power, a CleanTechnica favorite, and many more that deserve big shout-outs. It’ll be a few days yet before all those are edited and ready to post, but I’ll try to give you an idea below of what you might have missed if you weren’t there.
Serial 1 MOSH/TRIBUTE
Serial 1 unveiled its latest Harley-Davidson inspired e-bike on the Electrify Expo stage. And, if you think this bike looks good in pictures, your jaw will drop when you see it in person. Everything is just as it should be, and it is absolutely true to the spirit of the original Serial 1 heritage concept, with detail changes made where needed to keep the price tag in below the targeted $5999 price point. Even so, the cable management, lacquer-like finish, and touchpoints — especially the Brooks saddle and leather grips — are perfect.
“I think we bought every one of these Brooks saddles in the world,” said Serial 1’s Aaron Frank, who was responsible for the original concept and driving the MOSH/TRIBUTE into limited production. “We bought everything Brooks England in the UK, and eventually ended up calling individual dealers in the US trying to buy up individual seats, too.”
I had a chance to sit down with Aaron at the Expo and talk a bit more about his vision for the brand and the MOSH/TRIBUTE as well. If you’re planning on picking one up, though, you won’t want to wait for the interview to drop — as I type this, the MOSH/TRIBUTE is sold out in large frame size, with only a few medium frame examples left. Act fast!
Life is full of surprises, and I was pretty surprised when I stumbled onto the fully drivable AEM Testang at the show, along with AEM’s Lawson Mollica.
Lawson explained that the 470 HP car was officially registered as a Tesla in California, and that the trip to get it registered was his easiest DMV experience ever. “Normally when you do an engine swap there’s inspections and you need all kinds of forms. With this, they just said, ‘Oh, there’s no emissions?’ and rubber-stamped it. We were done in thirty minutes. It’s a Tesla now.”
If you’ve ever tried to build one project car out of two other cars, you already understand that this revelation is an absolute game-changer, so look for even more EV conversions and restomods from your favorite hot rod builders in the years ahead.
Mini Cooper SE Hardtop
We don’t give the all-electric Mini Cooper SE a ton of love here on CleanTechnica. Whether that’s because the car’s small-ish battery limits it to 110 miles of driving range or because it’s not quite as tire-shreddingly fast as a Tesla Plaid or Audi e-Tron GT is unclear. I’ll say this, though: after driving this affordable little hatchback around Orange County for a bit, the Mini is occupying a lot more mental real estate than it did before.
Matt and I also had a chance to sit down with Mini USA’s Steve Carrabis and talk about the Mini Cooper SE, the plug-in hybrid Countryman SUV, and the future of electrification at Mini as well. He was a great interviewee, with a ton of passion for the brand, who might just be convincing enough to get you to put the Mini on your “must drive” bucket list. Stay tuned for that.
Yup, that’s me — but you already expected I’d try to get a picture of myself with a Polestar 1 because I am an absolute freak the not-quite a Volvo C90 T8 Recharge hybrid supercar. In person, it looks every bit like a Concorde-class Mustang, in the best possible sense, and I won’t have anything objective to say about it. It’s the car I want, right now, and I am positively smitten with all its clever details, matte metallic paint, high-contrast safety belts, exposed wiring, and (of course) straight-line speed.
I didn’t get a chance to interview anyone at Polestar, or their parent company, Volvo Cars, over the weekend. Even so, both companies had several EVs available for test drives and we will have an interview (plus a more thorough review of the award-winning Polestar 2) coming along soon.
When Honda introduced an electric Honda Cub concept in 2017, we expected to have to wait for it. Four years on, we’re still waiting, but that wait may be over — if we’re not too particular about the badge our Cub is wearing, that is. Meet the CSC Monterey, an affordably priced electric scooter that takes unabashed inspiration from the 125cc ICE-powered 2021 Honda Cub, but delivers on the all-electric promise of Honda’s 2017 concept.
Despite fawning on the bike more than once, I wasn’t able to weasel my way into a test ride on the pre-production Montereys CSC brought to the show — and the loss is mine. The plastics and touch-points are all much higher quality than you might expect for $2195 (fully $1500 less than the Honda), and only the “chrome” on the headlight surround and side panel give away the bargain-sale price tag of the step-through bike. From 10′ away, you’d never know they weren’t metal.
I wish I could give you riding impressions, but you’re going to have to settle for guesses at the moment. Maybe they’ll let me ride one at the next Electrify Expo in Miami?
Hyundai NEXO HFC
Hyundai showed up ready to establish itself as the industry’s plug-in leader with a massive floor presence, big tent, and the only hydrogen fuel cell vehicle doing test rides at the show. I’d read about the Hyundai NEXO FCV a few times, but had never seen one in person (let alone driven it). Along with the newly freshened Hyundai Kona EVs on hand, Hyundai seemed impressive.
Equally impressive was Derek Joyce, Hyundai’s former product development manager and current head of automotive product and strategy PR. He sat down with us for a fun interview where we got to take the wayback machine to 1992, when a Hyundai Scoupe Turbo 1.5 won its class at Pike’s Peak. That was the first year I was really paying attention, and it set me up for a lifetime love of the Pike’s Peak International Hillclimb, where EVs have historically shined. I’ll be posting that here in a few days’ time, so look out for it.
One of the hits of the show, the retro-style Aventura X electric scooters have plastic bodies where Vespa and Royal Alloy use steel, but the criticisms end there. The bikes are gorgeous, accessibly priced, and everyone I saw sitting on one was grinning from ear to ear. The sidecar scooter, especially, had a long line of people getting shots for the ‘Gram for both days of the event.
As for the bike itself, the Aventura X is largely straightforward scooter stuff, with batteries taking up the under seat storage space usually reserved for helmets and groceries. One neat trick, though, is the ability swap out the briefcase-shaped LG battery once it’s spent. If you’re so inclined, you could keep a battery charging at work, so the bike is always fresh when you ride home at the end of the workday. If you’re a restaurant or courier service, you could always have one or two fully charged batteries on hand so your delivery staff would never be out of juice — lots to ponder here.
Volkswagen was another automaker with a strong presence at the show, and its ID.4 crossovers were popular test drive vehicles, shuttling hundreds of show-goers around the Electrify Expo test track for both days of the event. As much fun as everyone had riding in and driving Volkswagen’s EVs, though, the real impressive stat was this: after 10 hours of low-speed driving, often fully loaded with passengers, the ID.4s still had about 50% of their charge left at the end of the day.
That’s a seriously impressive statement to the EV’s use as a patrol or enforcement platform, and the fact that the Volkswagen was able to perform that well and that reliably without any tailpipe emissions? It’s a reminder of how far VW has come from its diesel years — and we’re glad it’s here.
As for me, I have hours of interviews to edit and dozens of photos to process, but I’ll be back with some more original content and industry talk in the coming days. Keep checking in. If you missed the Electrify Expo in California, you can still make next month’s live show in Miami, FL, and November’s show in Austin, TX, at Circuit of the Americas. If you were there, scroll on down to the comments and let us know what you thought!
Original content from CleanTechnica.