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Cleco Power hosts electric vehicle ride and drive expo at Castine Center in Mandeville

Nov 29, 2023

Today, elected officials and business leaders in St. Tammany Parish attended Cleco Power’s electric vehicle ride and drive expo at the Castine Center in Mandeville to examine them up close, test drive various makes and models and even check out other all-electric equipment ranging from lawnmowers to ATVs. 

“This is the third EV ride and drive expo we’ve hosted across our service area and by far the largest with over 40 different EVs to test drive and other electric-powered outdoor equipment,” said Shane Hilton, president of Cleco Power.  “These EV events support our vision to adopt cleaner, all-electric technologies and serve as a platform to grow the communities we serve.  This was an opportunity for elected officials and business leaders to learn about the benefits of EVs, ask questions and get behind the wheel, perhaps for the first time.”

Cleco Power partnered with Louisiana Clean Fuels, Drive Electric Louisiana and local car dealerships who brought over 40 different EVs to the expo, including those by Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, Genesis, Harley-Davidson, Hyundai, Jeep, Mercedes, Nissan, Porsche, Rivian, Subaru, Tesla, Volkswagen and Volvo.  Cleco Power’s EVs also were on display.

“This partnership with Cleco Power is a great way for our Drive Electric chapters to educate the public on the benefits and capabilities of EVs in the market today,” said Ann Vail, executive director of Louisiana Clean Fuels.  “From personal vehicles to work trucks, there are more EV models available at local dealerships than ever before.”

Research shows that EVs are growing in popularity due to global initiatives to cut emissions, federal incentives, buy-in from the auto industry and the projected cost savings for EV owners.

“EV drivers will emit 50 percent less vehicle lifetime emissions compared to an internal combustion vehicle, all while spending 30 to 60 percent less on fuel,” said Richard Biedenharn, Cleco Power electric vehicle program manager.  “EV drivers also spend less on maintenance and repairs over the EV’s lifetime because the vehicles have fewer moving parts.”

“These environmental and economic benefits are driving the adoption of EVs,” said Hilton.  “However, to support this adoption, we need to expand the infrastructure and make it easy for EVs owners to charge their vehicles.  Having more chargers will also attract visitors and boost tourism.”

Cleco Power recently announced plans to install up to 40 Level 2 EV charging stations in St. Tammany Parish in partnership with Adopt a Charger and the Northshore Community Foundation.  Level 2 chargers can add 10-30 miles of driving range per hour of charging.

Six of the new charging stations are already in place at Pelican Park in Mandeville by the Castine Center, the location of the ride and drive expo.