OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. (WLS) -- The Chicago Automobile Trade Association is hosting an electric vehicle event this weekend in the western suburbs.
The event takes place from Friday through Sunday in Oakbrook Terrace and features cars from Alfa Romeo, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Ford, Hyundai, Jeep, Kia, Volkswagen and Volvo. According to the CATA, 20% of vehicles on the road nationally are EVs or hybrids.
It's a chance to learn about and test drive electric vehicles. The CATA are the folks that put on the Chicago Auto Show, and they've got EVs from several manufactures for the public to drive, but more importantly learn what it takes to the owner of an electric vehicle.
"For the first time we're hosting Chicago Drives Electric, an all new, all electric drive event and educational opportunity for consumers to come out and learn everything they need to know about the latest EVs to hit the market," CATA President Jennifer Morand said.
There's definitely an interest in electric vehicles. Mailers were sent out to visitors of The Chicago Auto Show for an opportunity to take part in the first Chicago Drives Electric event and it filled up in one day!
Panels of experts are on hand to answer questions and a variety of EVs are available to drive.
Because inventory is so low, the event takes on a greater importance. You not only get to drive the EVs, but also see if an electric vehicle is right for your lifestyle.
"They're also able to learn about everything you need to know, whether that's addressing range anxiety, tax credits and incentives and everything you need to know about EV ownership," Morand said.
It takes some education, some planning and some time. It's not as simple as plugging your car into an outlet.
"An assessment needs to be made on what your current capacity is and this means you have to have a qualified electrician come in and give an assessment to see what you need to upgrade to or dedicate for the EV supply equipment," Elbert Walters III, executive director of Powering Chicago, said.
"We installed Level 2 chargers at the homes of six of our reviewers because we know how important it is to have home chargers as part of the EV experience," said Jenni Newman, editor in chief at Cars.com. "We saw a price range of $1,500 to $6,800."
Powering Chicago has their mobile field trip truck on site to help explain how to adapt your home and garage to accommodate an EV.
"We have a tool kit we put on our website where you can go to get more information to understand not only what steps you need to take if you are interested in purchasing an EV, we have information about the range of vehicles you can purchase, we have information about the incentives and rebates that are available," said Melissa Washington, senior VP of customer operations at ComEd.
Car manufacturers are on hand to answer questions on specific models, and the CATA is already planning to add this to the EV exhibit at the Auto Show in February.
"This year we're going to be tripling the size of the track, bringing more brands to it and building out the area for an educational EV experience and help," Morand said.
And with interest in electric vehicles continuing to grow, expect a much larger exhibit and test track for electric vehicles at the Chicago Auto Show in February.