K1 Speed hosts the hot cars, keeps them charged and ready to go

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — The demand for electric vehicles is on the rise in Central Oregon, and that has caught the attention of Tesla, who’s partnered with a local business to bring those zero-emission car options to Bend for test drives.

Matthew Wessles, a partner with K1 Speed, said Tuesday that Tesla approached his business and asked if they would consider housing some of their test drive vehicles in their parking lot. He believes it was due to the business’s electric powered go-karts.

Having the Tesla models available to consumers in Bend helps out people who are considering purchasing Tesla vehicles from having to make the long drive to Portland, which houses the nearest Tesla showroom.

“Now that we’re reopened, Tesla has been using our parking lot to kind of feel out what the market is,” Wessles said.

He said K1 Speed is responsible for making sure the vehicles get washed and are properly charged for the test drivers. A Tesla representative remotely starts the vehicles.

He added that Tesla is able to track how many people drive the vehicle.

“Every day, the Teslas are getting driven,” Wessles said. “People are coming down, whether that’s the younger crowd that are excited to be inside of a Tesla and see it — because there are some people that the car is out of their reach, but this is an opportunity for everybody to get to see what the technology is about and what the rage is for.”

Tesla is also reportedly considering a showroom in Bend, on Northeast Third Street near the Bend DMV office.

Oregon is part of the Multi-State Zero Emissions vehicle (ZEV) Task Force, with a goal of having over 3 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025.

The ZEV plan also focuses on infrastructure, policies, standards and other components critical to growing the electric vehicle market.

Jeff Robberson, general owner of Robberson Ford, also says he’s seen the demand increase for electric vehicles at his dealership.

“As the range continues to grow with where you can actually go on a trip with them, they are pretty much a viable alternative to a gas-powered vehicle,” Robberson said.

The Oregon Department of Transportation also encourages the growing electric vehicle and transportation electrification industry. ODOT says the state’s goal to reduce carbon emissions creates an urgency to increase use of alternative fuels in the transportation sector. 



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