Attendees of the Chicago Car Present on July 15, 2021 get into a Ford Mustang Mach-E for a check ride in the electric crossover outdoors of the McCormick Spot Convention Centre.

Michael Wayland / CNBC

CHICAGO – Jim Nierman yells with excitement as he gets out of an electric powered Mustang Mach-E crossover following a check drive at the Chicago Car Present.

“Oh my God! … I have driven a lot of electric powered cars and which is great,” said the significant college car shop instructor. “It was like a rocket ship.”

Nierman, 54, is one particular of tens of countless numbers of people predicted to attend the 5-day party, which is the very first major car exhibit in the place since the coronavirus pandemic commenced in spring 2020.

It is really not a standard Chicago Automobile Clearly show. It is really about half the measurement and time of a regular present, but automakers this kind of as Ford Motor, Volkswagen and other people are seeking to make the most of it. That includes showcasing new electric powered autos.

Aside from displaying automobiles inside of the McCormick Put Conference Heart, automakers are providing take a look at drives and rides in new electric powered cars. Vehicle executives believe that these kinds of experiential internet marketing initiatives are one particular of the vital initial techniques to rising EV adoption.

“A ton of customers haven’t experienced that possibility mainly because of Covid,” Ford Main Promoting Officer Suzy Deering mentioned about going through the Mach-E. “With Mach-E, people are blown absent.”

Ford was between the automakers most impacted regarding car launches, which includes the Mach-E, all through the pandemic. An ongoing semiconductor chip scarcity also has emptied a lot of dealer a lot, building it complicated for shoppers to practical experience new cars.

Deering claimed getting individuals into the Mach-E and permitting them to see new EVs these types of as the Ford F-150 Lightning pickup, which is anticipated to go on sale future year, is essential for people today to comprehend that EVs are genuine and not science projects.

“You will find misperceptions about EVs and you can find also, candidly, just no perceptions, suitable? That individuals just never recognize,” Deering explained. “It is a seriously crucial piece for us.”

‘Butts in seats’

Car exhibits are significant for automakers to flaunt their latest cars, and extra importantly, get “butts in seats” — an outdated adage for the finest way to market cars and trucks.

“Vehicle displays are important to consumers since they can store 1 car from a different all beneath the same roof without any income stress,” stated Michelle Krebs, govt analyst at Cox Automotive. “It truly is also significant to get individuals butts in seats simply because, by and significant, present day autos are all quite fantastic, so it comes down to their notion of the brand name but also how the automobile suits them.”

Volkswagen’s exam travel booth on July 15, 2021 at the Chicago Automobile Exhibit outdoors of the McCormick Put Conference Middle in Chicago.

Michael Wayland / CNBC

Bronco vs. Wrangler

Aside from EVs, Ford is going head to head with Jeep with regards to off-road classes at the Chicago Vehicle Show.

At the Chicago Car Display, Ford is debuting a 30,000-sq.-foot off-highway impediment observe its contacting the “Built Wild Bronco” mountain knowledge,

Michael Wayland / CNBC

Ford debuted a new “Created Wild” out of doors obstacle study course for its Bronco SUV at the occasion, which it expects to use at potential exhibits. Jeep has offered rides at its “Camp Jeep” at such activities for the earlier 17 several years.

“It is one of the coolest factors below,” 15-yr-aged Henry Lata mentioned soon after driving in a Jeep Gladiator Mojave via the course. “I like autos.”

Both programs aspect substantial metallic hills and hurdles showcasing the capabilities of the motor vehicles.

“We get to demonstrate off what our vehicles can do,” said Jim Morrison, head of Jeep’s North American operations. “We’ve observed rivals arrive and go but, a person of the points we enjoy is when they open up the door, individuals race to Camp Jeep.”

Henry Lata, 15, (still left) and Sarah Lata, 45, (middle) journey in a Jeep Gladiator Mojave pickup with a skilled driver by an indoor obstacle system known as “Camp Jeep” at the Chicago Automobile Clearly show.

Michael Wayland / CNBC