Location: Kansas City, KS

Fleet Type: Medium and Heavy-duty Electric Vehicles

 

Narrative

The Kansas City Regional Clean Cities Chapter, AKA Metropolitan Energy Center (MEC) partnered with Evergy, a regional private electrical utility, to host a Commercial ride and drive event. The event was part of the Energy Forum, a local conference directed towards fleet personnel, sustainability managers, developers, utilities, and other staff interested in learning more about what’s going on with fleet electrification. On top of all the educational sessions, all attendees were able to participate in the Ride and Drive. Showcased were Medium Duty (MD) and Heavy Duty (HD) EVs such as a Nikola Semi and a XOS stepvan (pictured below). Light Duty vehicles like the Ford F150 Lightning and the Volkswagen ID4 were also in attendance, with a Polestar 2 on display. The intention was to excite fleets about electrification and its many possibilities. 

The Energy Forum event was put together by the Electric League of Missouri and Kansas, a collective focused on pushing the statewide goals of electrification and alternative fuels. Metropolitan Energy Center are frequent collaborators, and Evergy work with the league consistently on events. A joint effort made for a very successful educational event, with over 400 participants came to the conference, flocking back and forth between sessions and experiences.

Attendees were able to test drive (or ride depending on the manufacturer) for the duration of the event, which lasted from 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM. Attendees were able to ride in  HD and MD vehicles with a supervised driver from each OEM, who were able to answer any questions related to the vehicles and their performance. The Ford F150 Lightning and Volkswagen ID4 were driveable for all attendees without supervision, and many participants were captivated by the acceleration, smoothness, and futuristic feel that came with the driving experience. A variety of vehicles allowed participants to experience the range of capabilities that comes with electrification, and ask any questions that came to mind about their functionality. Staff from MEC, Evergy, Foley, Nikola, and XOS were on hand to assist attendees in the Ride and Drive event led by Julie Dietrich of Evergy and Taylor Corn of MEC.

Outputs and Outcomes

With experiences like hands-on activities and seminars full of current information related to planning for electrification, rolling it out, and the funding opportunities available for fleets, the Commercial Ride and Drive was a success. The Outputs of the Ride and Drive and Energy Forum event resulted in an educational experience for over 400 fleet staff, sustainability managers, contractors, and developers who were able to dive deep into the current state of electrification in fleets. Manufacturers who attended the event were able to network and connect with fleets interested in electrification, and everyone who attended learned how they can play a role in reducing carbon emissions by purchasing EVs.

The Outcomes of the event include starting the conversation for many fleets about the possibility of electrification within their own organizations, and even extending to their personal lives. Many people commented on the Light Duty vehicles and realized how they could incorporate them in their own homes. This sparked connections and relationships that were formed as a product of the conversation. A couple people were so interested they started browsing manufacturer websites to research pricing, specifications, and other stats about the models that caught their attention. This interest can result in a purchase of EVs down the road.

Best Practices & Lessons Learned

The Ride and Drive itself was a notable educational experience for fleet personnel in attendance of the conference. This is new ground for a lot of people and provided them with the opportunity to learn more about what is currently available on the market for large scale EVs, how they can acquire them, and how they can be beneficial to their fleets. The event itself was set up very efficiently, with time slots all filled ahead of time and attendees coming in and out like clockwork. One lesson learned is that having a system in place ahead of time makes a smooth experience for both event staff and attendees; we set up a registration page beforehand so that attendees could sign up for Ride and Drive slots based on their schedule and what was available at that time.

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