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Latest “Chicago Drives Electric” EV Test Drive and Educational Event Successfully Concludes

The Chicago Automobile Trade Association (CATA), the area’s new-car dealer association and producer of the Chicago Auto Show, successfully concluded its second annual fall Chicago Drives Electric experiential test drive and educational event last week. Organizers plan to, once again, bring Chicago Drives Electric indoors to the 2024 Chicago Auto Show this February 10-19, at McCormick Place. 

In alignment with National Drive Electric week, Chicago Drives Electric aimed to raise awareness of the many benefits of all-electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles and help consumers understand how electric vehicles (EVs) can fit individual needs and lifestyles. Featured brands available for test drives included: Audi, Cadillac, Chrysler, Ford, Hyundai, Jeep, Kia, Nissan, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo.

In addition to putting interested parties behind the wheel of a wide array of the latest EVs, event organizers brought in a variety of experts to help break down the various aspects of EV ownership and tackle complex topics such as range anxiety; at-home charging solutions; on-the-go charging and infrastructure; tax credits and incentives; and where people can begin their search. On-hand experts included, ComEd, Drive Chicago and Powering Chicago. Once again, Powering Chicago’s mobile field trip truck was onsite, a 73’ semi-truck and trailer outfitted with current and emerging electrical technology, including EV chargers, which provided a classroom for licensed electricians and contractors to offer knowledgeable insights.

Between test drives, attendees enjoyed freshly grilled tailgate food courtesy of Chicago-based grill company, Weber, who demonstrated its Lumin all-electric grill and was powered by two different EVs, a Ford F-150 Lightning and a Kia EV6. This activation was a perfect example of how the EV lifestyle extends beyond the daily commute.

Over the course of the weekend, the event attracted 1,437 total registered drivers and netted more than 5,800 in-vehicle experiences, doubling the attendance from the previous year. The buzz generated from the event carried over to social media; Chicago Drives Electric reached more than 4.6 million, according to initial results from media measurement firm Meltwater.

“We are thrilled to see this event grow and involve more brands for consumers to test drive and experience,” said CATA Chairwoman Kelly Webb Roberts. “It’s clear, based on sold out registrations, that interest in EVs is still prominent among today’s new-car buyers. In fact, nearly 50 percent of Chicago Drives Electric attendees indicated that they are likely to consider purchasing an EV.”

“There’s no other event quite like Chicago Drives Electric where people were able to test drive a wide range of EVs back-to-back, speak directly with product specialists about the vehicles and meet with experts who addressed questions about EV ownership and charging – all in one place,” Webb Roberts continued.  

“We’re planning to bring back the large Chicago Drives Electric indoor test track and EV education hub to the 2024 Chicago Auto Show,” said Chicago Auto Show Co-General Manager Jennifer Morand. “Last year’s test track featured models from five different brands. We look forward to continuing that experience at the 2024 show.”

“There are brand-new EV options coming to the market at a rapid pace, which makes an event like Chicago Drives Electric and the Chicago Auto Show an ideal place to see all of the options side-by-side,” added Morand. “We understand that consumers have questions, and we believe it’s our mission to help provide those resources and answers.” 

For more information on the 2024 Chicago Auto Show, visit For additional information on Chicago Drives Electric and the resource hub, click here.

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