In November, Solar Citizens joined with the Australian Electric Vehicle Association (AEVA) and Tesla Owners Club (TOCA), to host the Logan Electric Vehicle Experience in Logan, Queensland.
The four hour Saturday event (10am - 2pm) displayed a range of around 20 EVs, with 12 offering test-rides (as passengers) and some local EV business and community stalls.
Give it a Whirl ran the online test-ride booking system and facilitated rides on the day with a team of about six volunteers. Test-riders got about a seven minute ride as a passenger and got to chat with the EV owner about their experience in buying and owning an EV. The Queensland Government also brought along a fleet EV and hydrogen vehicle (which was also available for test-rides).
We recruited about a dozen Solar Citizens volunteers to help in various roles on the day, including assisting with test-rides, personning stalls, and being a welcomer to direct people and have them do the covid check-in.
We chose the Logan Central Community Centre because we wanted to try and reach a broader demographic than people who might typically be interested in EVs (Logan is typically a lower socio-economic demographic), and the Centre had several car parks and driveways surrounding that we could utilise. Display cars were set up around a large circular driveway/carpark with stalls nearby in a zone closed off for pedestrians only, and test-rides were held out of an adjacent car park closeby.
To promote the event we posted it on the Charge Ahead website, our Facebook pages, sent emails out to our supporter list in the Brisbane surrounds area, posted corflute signs around Logan (which were subject to Council limits on number and placement), put up posters in local businesses, visited a local car meet (Munchies) to promote it. We also promoted it in local newspapers (Jimboomba Times, Logan xx), local community Facebook groups, and did a couple of radio interviews.
How it went
We estimated in the high hundreds of attendees (but had no official way to measure), with around 100 taking test-rides (most were pre-booked but with a lot of interest from walk-ins on the day).
One of the goals of the event was also to demonstrate to decision makers that there’s community interest in EVs, and we had some key local politicians come along, including the QLD Treasurer Cameron Dick, and assistant Energy Minister Lance McCallum.
Anecdotally, we had lots of great feedback that attendees were really engaged and there were lots of informative, detailed questions and conversations. However, several display car drivers told us that they felt like they were ‘preaching to the converted’ in many of the conversations.
What we learned
One of the main things we learnt is how much people value a genuine conversation with an EV owner, and the opportunity to ask practical questions without any pressure. People really enjoyed the test-rides as well, and in future we’d try and have an increased number and diversity of cars on offer.
Another key learning is that it was hard to know if we’d reached many people who weren’t already interested in EVs. Next time we’d try and prioritise promotion in local areas as much as possible, including making the event more visible on the day with road banners, etc. and implement a survey or another measure to gauge how people heard about the event and their previous interest levels.
In future events, we may also aim to go bigger: a larger venue with more space for cars and test rides, and actively approach more EV-related vendors as well as car-makers who may be able to offer test drives.
On the practical side of things, it’s important to make sure you’re ahead of your insurance requirements, particularly around test rides, and also having clearly designated volunteer roles to manage traffic for safety.
All in all, it was a really positively received event and a great learning opportunity.
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