Dealers at CSUN’s Electric Car Show

This article originally appeared on San Fernando Valley Business Journal.

Yan Searcy has a goal in mind for California State University – Northridge.

Searcy, the dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, at the San Fernando Valley school, wants it to be at the center of what he would like to see called the Sustainable Valley.

“While Northern California, the Bay Area is known as Silicon Valley, we want to be known for and by the Sustainable Valley,” Searcy said.

To that end, the school’s Institute of Sustainability held a car show on April 7 that included test drives of electric vehicles and a roundtable discussion about the cars from two area businesses – Porsche of Woodland Hills and Chargie, a Culver City electric charging station installer.

The Woodland Hills dealership brought the all-electric Taycan, Panamera and Cayenne SUV for test drives. Also participating in the car show was Electra Meccanica, a Canadian electric car manufacturer. The company did test drives of its Solo three-wheeled electric vehicle, technically classified as a motorcycle.

In the Los Angeles area, Electra Meccanica has four facilities: a kiosk or retail information center at the Westfield Fashion Square in Sherman Oaks, the Beverly Center and the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance; and a delivery preparation and service center in Studio City.

Chargie brought two BMW i3 electric hybrids but just to display their charging capabilities and not for test drives, he added.

For the roundtable, the audience was made up of 25 invited community members and another 22 people accessing the session through a Zoom link.

“Most everybody sitting around the table learned a lot,” Searcy said.

Chargie Chief Executive Zach Jennings discussed the future of electric vehicles, electric charging and the company’s approach, which is to install its chargers in large structures at institutions like universities such as CSUN, retail areas as well as residential complexes, Searcy continued.

Their business model is to be responsible when it comes to the charging itself. If people plug in at night, for example, the company’s software has the ability to manage the electrical draw time so that it won’t be as demanding on the grid, Searcy said.

“From a business standpoint he said that’s what makes them a bit more competitive than others because they have the software to manage that and have a more sustained approach to charging and can pass some of that savings on to customers,” Searcy added.

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