ESCONDIDO — City leaders hope to attract more businesses leading the green transportation revolution to the hidden city with the second annual Green Transpo Expo on April 22, Earth Day, at the North County Mall.
The Greater Escondido Chamber of Commerce’s first expo kicked off a year ago, a signature event centered around business development, education, and information on the future of green transportation technology.
After last year’s success, plans quickly started to prepare for a second expo this year.
Change is coming to the state’s transportation industry, explained Chamber CEO James Rowten, which could mean new opportunities for Escondido.
By 2035, California will cease to sell new gasoline-powered vehicles, thus forcing automakers to speed up the production of cleaner vehicles within the next three years. With the expo, the chamber hopes to attract more business in the green transportation sector to Escondido and the greater North Inland region.
“We could incentivize new business associated with all this change to locate to our area,” Rowten said. “Escondido has a lot to offer – we have the (Interstate) 15 freeway, which is unencumbered like the (state Route) 78 and is not going to get any better, we have beautiful topography… the ultimate goal is to create that awareness of us but also to work with the city to say there’s a whole shift happening, and when these industrial shifts happen, we should be there.”
The expo is also beneficial for those living in the region to learn about what changes they can expect on the road and at the pumps – or charging stations – over the next decade.
“We’ve all seen Teslas stopped at lights, but we all haven’t driven one,” Rowten said.
The expo invites business owners, investors and interested residents to learn about green energy vehicles, alternative fuels, solar power, battery storage and how the city is adapting to greener transportation.
EDI Disposal will demonstrate its trash trucks and present information on its anaerobic digestion facility, which will convert recycled organic material into natural gas for the region once completed.
The school district and the police department will also demonstrate their fleets of hybrid or electric vehicles.
American company Lucid Motors will offer test drives of its luxury electric vehicles, while Rad Power Bikes will offer test rides of its electric bikes.
The event is free and open to the public, starting with the “Cars and Coffee” meet-up from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 22. Rowten and Mayor Dane White will lead a ribbon cutting at 11:30 a.m. to kick off the main event, including an education forum and vendors. The expo is expected to wrap up around 4 p.m.
Presenters include SDG&E, California State University San Marcos, the Electric Vehicle Association of San Diego and ALIVE Solar.
Congressman Scott Peters, County Supervisor Jim Desmond and other Escondido City Council members are also expected to attend the Green Transpo Expo.