DES MOINES, Iowa — It’s a new day at the All Iowa Auto Show, but it was right here at the Iowa Events Center, three years ago, that the world shut down.

“Saturday night the news came out,” remembers James Mauer of the All Iowa Auto Show, “that Sunday we wouldn’t be able to operate so we ended up ending it a day early.”

Few industries were hit harder by COVID, or have had a longer road back.

“We went into inventory shortages,” Mauer says, “microchip challenges, transportation issues, and kind of all culminated into a very odd last two-and-a-half years.”

Even three years later, you’ll see no Toyota, no Kia, no Nissan, no Lexus, no Hyundai, and no British cars at the show — they’re all still too low on inventory.

What you WILL see, is a lot of EVs.

“Three years ago, we had one electric vehicle at this event,” Mauer says, “and now we have an entire electric section. We have an electric truck (the Ford F150 Lightning, we have a Rivian…”

Iowa’s ethanol industry might be pushing back, but there is no stopping EVs. They’re cleaner, quieter, faster, cheaper to run…and the auto show will have guest speakers teaching the crowd all about them.

“There’s still a lot of education necessary in the electric vehicle segment,” says Mauer, “How far do they go? Where am I gonna charge it? What are they like? Are they hard to drive? So we even have one that folks can test drive.”

“The proliferation of electric vehicles — even if it takes longer in Iowa — it’s coming.”

And so is the return to normal in the auto industry itself — a bit of which you’ll notice at the All-Iowa Auto Show, this weekend.

It runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.