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SEVExpo Brings EVs to Carolinas

Southern Electric Vehicle Expo 2009 to gather spectrum of electric vehicles in Asheville, NC.

By Robert A. Sweeney

The Southern Electric Vehicle Expo (SEVE) to be held at the Western North Carolina Agriculture Center in Asheville, NC, on 2 – 4 October 2009 will provide an opportunity to participate in one of the largest gatherings of electric cars, trucks, ATV’s, scooters and other transportation modes which are being offered or proposed for sale in the United States. Plug-ins as well as EVs will be displayed. Companies that convert gas or diesel cars to electric power will be in attendance along with battery manufacturers. Vehicles will be available for test drive and purchase.

The WNC Ag Center is conveniently located just off Exit 40 of US 26 and is adjacent to Asheville Airport (AVL). There are numerous motels and restaurants in the immediate vicinity of the Center. The Center offers free parking for 2,000 cars which is more than sufficient to handle the up to 8,000 people who are expected to attend. (That estimate is based on the attendance of other environmental exhibits held in the late summer for the past 7 years at that location.) Tickets to attend each day are $10 for individuals 12 years of age and older. Children under 12 are admitted free.

During this three-day event there will be seminars during which vehicle manufacturers will describe the features of their products along with their plans for new models. Department of Transportation staff will discuss the current and proposed regulations that apply to EVs and plug-ins. Talks on other pertinent topics will be presented.

In addition to displaying their vehicles at the Ag Center, exhibitors are being invited to participate in a parade of EVs and plug-in to be held in Downtown Asheville on Saturday morning 3 October. That event as well as other SEVE activities is anticipated to attract the national news media.

SEVE will provide a venue for manufactures to interact with interested parties regarding opening dealerships and assembling plants in Western North Carolina. There are economic incentives for all involved in such economic initiatives.

Why in Asheville, North Carolina? The metropolitan area is within a 4 hour drive of more than 10 million consumers. That includes people whose homes are in the cities and suburbs of Atlanta, Nashville, Knoxville, Charlotte, Charleston, Winston-Salem, Raleigh as well as Columbia, SC. The residents of the greater Asheville region are among the “greenest” and some of the most affluent consumers in the United States. For the past 20 years the area has enjoyed a reputation as an area for optimal retirement living. Many residents of the mountains of WNC want the economical, environmentally-friendly, easy to drive advantages of EV’s.

There are numerous cabins in undeveloped regions of Northern South Carolina and Georgia, Eastern Tennessee, Southern Virginia, and Western North Carolina (WNC) which are used for hunting, fishing and/or general recreation. Many of those dwellings are not connected to electric grids. Many owners and renters of these cabins are interested in purchasing EVs for use as “portable batteries” to operate small appliances and recharge cell phones as well as for local transportation while in residence in those remote locations. They plan to recharge the EVs using solar panels and/or at nearby locations where they can access electrical outlets. As more malls and parking garages add such outlets and more charging stations come on-line, access to electricity will become available in more locations. There will be opportunities for exhibitors to discuss this emerging use for their vehicles as power sources with the people interested in this topic.

Why hold the SEVE in early October? October is one of the area’s prime tourist seasons due to spectacular fall foliage displays. Over a million visitors from throughout North America come to Western North Carolina during that time. It is anticipated that many of those people have broad ecological interests. Hence SEVE would be of interest to those individuals.

Local governments in the Asheville region are committed to improving the quality of the natural environment since tourism based on the natural wonders of the region is the major industry. Their area-wide goal to reduce greenhouse gases by 80% by 2050 can only be achieved by limiting vehicle emissions since there are few factories in WNC. As a result, local governments and colleges have started to buy electric trucks, carts and other transport devices. They also are designating stimulus funds for future purchases of EV’s. Representatives of these agencies have been among the strongest supporters of this Expo. They see this show as a cost-effective means of gathering information on vehicles that may meet their needs.

Those manufactures of EVs and plug-in vehicles and batteries as well as companies who convert conventionally powered cars to electric who have not as yet reserved exhibit space at SEVE are urged to do so at their earliest convenience. Space in the newly constructed exhibition building is limited. Application forms can be found on the SEVE website, www.southernelectricvehicleexpo.com.

Among the major sponsors of SEVE are Progress Energy, Duke Energy, Clear Air Community Trust, Land of Sky Clean Vehicles Coalition and the Henderson County Travel and Tourism Department. Media sponsors include WLOS-TV and Clear Channel Radio.

SEVE enjoys 501(c)3 status. Hence the financial contributions by those firms who are exhibiting are tax deductible.

It is anticipated that SEVE will be an annual event and will be conducted in 2010 at the same location as 2009.

The Event Manager is Dr Robert A. Sweeney, President of RASweeney and Associates. He has successfully organized numerous commericial exhibits. Bob also has been in charge of selecting and organizing the displays at many trade shows for an international environmental consulting firm.

Times Article Viewed: 6348
Published: 04-Jun-2009

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