Trends in Driving Green

John Davis

re.gifA new podcast from takes a look at how consumer demand for “green” options in the automobile industry is changing. The “Driving Green” interview features Jonathan Oritz of Foreign Affairs Auto. He says, “The integration of electric vehicles will be driven by consumer demand.”

As owner of Foreign Affairs Auto, Florida’s 1st Smart Dealership, Mr. Ortiz provides first-hand perspective of the changing demographics he sees at his dealership of the typical green car enthusiast, and advises new dealers contemplating carrying green autos what it takes to make it a success.

When asked how his interest in green cars and electric cars developed and how he became Florida’s 1st Smart Dealership, he responded, “I was attending a University in Rome in 2003 when I began researching bringing a Smart Car to the US for my personal use. I contacted Daimler Chrysler and they repeatedly told me it was not available in the USA. A few months later I came across a company in Santa Rosa, CA named ZAP. ZAP had spent millions to make the Smart Car legal in the USA so that it could pass all DOT and EPA regulations. My family and I flew down and signed a formal license agreement and became the first dealership to offer the Smart Car. We had an amazing two years but were informed by Daimler they would be importing the cars and marketing it on their own and brought our Smart Car era to an end.

“It left us with a sentimental void but opened our eyes to an enormous market with Florida residents seeking fuel efficient earth friendly vehicles, so we began our search for the next Smart Car. Continuing our relationship with ZAP, we decided to go even greener with their electric vehicles.”

Mr. Ortiz also noted a change in demographics of the green car enthusiast as consumers come to terms with $4.00 gas, opening it up to a larger more mainstream audience. He is also convinced that the market for EVs will be driven by consumer interest and demand to have a cleaner and more fuel efficient vehicle, not the diminishing fuel reserves. ZAP has one of the largest and growing distribution systems in the USA for 100% electric vehicles.

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