Electrify Expo Tesla Cybertruck

11 EV Brands that Charged up Engagement at Electrify Expo in Orlando

From an IKEA store-inspired footprint, to local dealership employees stepping in as brand ambassadors, take a cruise through this multicity hot property

Electrify Expo Selfie Spot

Pumping music, lively chatter and tire squeals welcomed us into Electrify Expo’s season opener in Orlando, a new city stop for North America’s largest electric vehicle festival. Notably missing for an auto expo were the sounds of roaring engines and the hum of gas-powered generators, as the family-friendly event stayed true to its electric roots with 100 percent of its power supplied by renewable energy from partner Anker Solix.

Now in its fourth year, Electrify Expo has grown from producing three events in 2021 to an eight-city U.S. tour, with three new locations in Orlando, Phoenix and Denver, all meant to connect EV enthusiasts and EV-curious consumers with automakers and electric-focused brands. Over the March 16-17 weekend, Electrify Expo took over 1 million square feet of the Orange County Convention Center’s expansive parking lot with a unique layout. Rather than having an open footprint, the expo was laid out like a maze, akin to an IKEA store’s showroom, that funneled attendees through each festival section.

Upon entering through a branded inflatable archway, attendees came upon the auto brands’ exhibits, displaying their newest EVs, information and activities. Then, the path snaked around to reveal more electric mobility exhibitors and custom cars. In a demo area, attendees could test out electric bikes, scooters and skateboards or sign up to take a variety of EV models for a test drive. Lastly, the expo offered a Kid Zone, shade tents and a food truck corral.

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BJ Birtwell, founder and ceo of Electrify Expo, told EM at the event that the team typically avoids convention centers, opting instead for outdoor venues to create a festival atmosphere and separate itself from traditional auto shows. But Orlando’s outdoor convention space presented the perfect opportunity to spread out and exhibit in a new Florida market after having outgrown three venues in Miami.

Electrify Expo E-bike Demos Area

Attendees rode around the convention center, testing out electric bikes, scooters and skateboards.

Orlando was also selected because it’s “a hotbed for EV registrations,” Birtwell said, a critical metric the team considers when scoping out markets, and The City Beautiful showed out with record numbers of highly engaged attendees. EV enthusiasts flocked to the vehicles on display, with lines organically forming to get a chance to sit in the driver’s seat and look in on their interior features. Some booths were so packed with consumers that it was difficult to snap photos of the cars and experiences.

While brand ambassadors interacted with attendees by hosting games, passing out swag, manning photo booths and detailing EV specifications, many of them were the auto brands’ own employees who stepped out of the dealership for the festival weekend. Going through the different booths, we could hardly pinpoint a brand rep who wasn’t already actively engaged in conversation with attendees, offering their expertise, answering questions and touring vehicles.

Meandering our way through each auto brand’s exhibit at Electrify Expo, we noted some of our favorite engagement tactics and booth features designed to appeal to a range of attendee demographics, from tech-forward consumers to eco-conscious fans to families with young kids to outdoor adventure seekers.



Electrify Expo Volvo Exterior

In addition to its fully electric range of SUVs and crossovers, Volvo brought a mobile immersion experience to Electrify Expo that booked up very quickly. When we approached the Volvo booth at noon, the only time slots available for the 20-minute session were the last two of the day at 4:20 and 4:40 p.m. Luckily, we snagged an early standby spot to enter the mysterious, Volvo-branded coach bus, which housed a modern three-room studio inside. The first area, decked out with neon light strips and panels of light wood rounded slats, featured several TV screens on countertops that presented the LiDAR tech and safety features in Volvo’s EVs.

A brand rep then led the group through a sliding glass door into the second room with white chairs and a backdrop of multicolored metal car pieces for a video about the company’s mission narrated by ceo Jim Rowan. The last room was full of interior and exterior material samples splayed out on a table and hanging on racks. Participants could see and feel the available leather, fabric and metal options in a variety of color schemes. Booth seating was upholstered with the same wool material featured inside Volvo EVs.



Toyota’s booth featured the most innovative design of the exhibitors, leaning into rounded shapes and a primary color palette to accent columns and wall signage in its largely white build. On a sunny Florida day, attendees appreciated the slanted slats overhead that provided shade while still letting natural light in, especially while waiting in line to spin Toyota’s Beyond Zero wheel.  Participants had a chance to come away with a branded fanny pack, water bottle, clear bag or camo print lunch bag, depending on which category they landed on: carbon, materials, biodiversity or water. With each spin of the wheel, a brand ambassador educated attendees on Toyota’s Beyond Zero vision to reach beyond carbon neutrality.

Electrify Expo Toyota booth

Signage around the space offered “did you know?” fun facts about Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell EV and hybrids, and QR codes encouraged attendees to explore Toyota Electrified on its Discover Toyota site, led by Alec, an animated future thinker guide. Parents and kids particularly enjoyed the cartoony mountain-backdropped photo booth, where they could capture a still image or a GIF made up of six photos.



Attendees were drawn into Ford’s completely open footprint by the brand’s F-150 Lightning all-electric truck models and electric blue Mustang Mach-E Rally. Even the booth was powered by an F-150 Lightning. Small branded tents and umbrellas offered shade at tables, and the booth’s segmented backwall showcased Ford’s connected charge station. For a bit of fun, attendees could play a round of cornhole in the Ford booth, but for more of an exhilaration, they could take a hot lap around the nearby Thrill Zone (the site of the tire squealing) in the Mustang Mach-E GT alongside professional drivers.



With the promise of a complimentary branded portable charger, attendees flocked to BMW’s booth to fill out a data-capture form. There, they could also take photos in between the logo’s tall standing letters, explore BMW’s electric i lineup or step under a shaded lounge space with a cinematic backdrop photo of the EVs.

Electrify Expo BMW booth



Kia offered the only fully tented exhibit space with a large logo splashed across the exterior. Inside, attendees were greeted by brand ambassadors at an information desk, and four KIA EV models were displayed behind roped stanchions with standing signage listing specifications and QR codes to register for Kia’s Overhauling Expectations Experience. A large digital screen at the back of the tent captured attendees’ attention with artistic interpretations of the Kia logo and video of the vehicles in action. Plus, former NBA player Tony Battie stopped by the booth for a meet-and-greet session with festivalgoers.

Electrify Expo Kia booth



Lexus showed up at Electrify Expo with a sophisticated exhibit themed to a starry-night mountain environment. A black metal frame surrounded part of the booth, and display walls featured the Lexus logo and its “As electric as you want to be” messaging over night sky imagery. Two seating areas took inspiration from an elevated around-the-campfire scene with angular cushioned furniture.

Similar to Toyota’s photo booth, attendees could snap a photo or create a GIF in front of a #LexusElectrified backdrop accented by ribbons of blue-green northern lights. On a corner of the front of the booth sat a tree in a large marble-looking square planter featuring a quote on achieving carbon neutrality from Akio Toyoda, chairman of the board of directors at Toyota Motor Corp.



Back for a second year, Tesla wowed festivalgoers with its highly anticipated, yet polarizing, Cybertruck, giving them a chance to get an up-close look at the EV’s stainless-steel exoskeleton, armor glass and interior. Prepared for the long lines of attendees eager to sit in and get a photo with the Cybertruck, Tesla set up a winding path of stanchions that took over half the booth. By far the most popular exhibit, Tesla kept its design and signage minimal, instead letting its showcase of vehicles speak for themselves.

Electrify Expo Tesla booth



Opting for an even more minimalist booth design than Tesla, Rivian displayed no branded signage, banners, walls or tents, other than one wooden A-frame sign with a small logo, QR code and message that said, “Thanks for stopping by. Let’s stay in touch.” Brand ambassadors at crate tables spoke with attendees about the debut of Rivian’s R2 SUV on-site. To engage outdoor recreation enthusiasts, the vehicles on display featured bike racks, tents, surf boards and trees attached to the roofs to show use cases for camping, hiking, beach and off-road adventures. And for the kids, a corner of the asphalt booth space was dedicated to chalk art, with cars, hearts, stick figures and sea life etched into the pavement. A standing cutout of Rivian’s Gear Guard yeti mascot was available for selfies.

Electrify Expo Rivian booth



Joining Electrify Expo for the first time, Amazon is sponsoring an EV education center at all eight tour locations this year. The covered Amazon Recharge Zone enticed festivalgoers with free iced coffee and giveaways of Amazon-branded bags. Next to the coffee bar sat an Amazon orange Tesla, and a second vehicle on the opposite side of the booth, showcasing the EV connector types available for purchase on Amazon.

In the center of the booth, Amazon hosted panel discussions led by industry experts and representatives from electric mobility companies that aimed to dispel EV myths and offer insight into EV adoption. Attendees could sit in on the sessions and chime in with questions on social media using #AmazonAtElectrify. Tables offered smartphone charging stations courtesy of Anker Solix. The Amazon Recharge Zone extended into an outdoor seating area along one of the booth’s exterior walls with wicker couches, chairs and tables surrounded by potted plants and signage listing EV accessories available on the site.



EV education platform GreenCars gave attendees the chance to win a Jeep Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid for a year by subscribing, and they could also pick up branded swag items, such as reusable bags, stickers, keychains and cork pens. Its green, leaf-themed booth (perfect for the St. Patrick’s Day weekend) offered seating areas and digital signage with resources on zero-emission vehicles, their incentives and inventory from Lithia & Driveway.

Electrify Expo GreenCars booth



Tire brand Yokohama sponsored the Electrify Showoff, which presented customized EVs ranging from metallic hot pink to Gulf Oil-inspired racing livery. At its own attention-grabbing booth, Yokohama displayed six different types of tires with placards on the cars that use them, along with tall branded banners and an inflatable arch that could be seen from surrounding booths and aisles. Festivalgoers could enter to win a set of four Yokohama tires and then spin a wheel for prizes, including a tire pressure gauge, air freshener, sunglasses, bottle opener, carabiner and lanyard. A trailer served as the booth’s backdrop, with panels that opened up to reveal two large screens playing videos of cars putting Yokohama tires to the test.

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