December 8, 2006

Alt Car Expo: A Day at the Beach

The Media Event/Ride-n-Drive for the two-day Alt Car Expo was a fun day at the sunny, warm Santa Monica beach - half a city and a parallel universe away from the gargantuan Los Angeles Auto Show. Touted as the "most comprehensive presentation ever of alternative fuel vehicles" it was a day for the media to ask the organizers questions about trends in fuel, life style, social commitment, and mobility - all the things this quixotic town is known for.

On display was an incredible array of tinkerer answers to the central question - what fuels and vehicles will be the "killer apps" that will help wean America from its addiction to oil? More that just cars were on view - electric bikes and scooters, a two-wheeled Segway, 3-wheelers, wagons, golf carts, and a minibus were on hand. Converted Toyotas and Hondas sported an array of fuel alternatives - biodiesel, fuel cells, hydrogen, electric, natural gas, solar, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids. During the expo a standard Triumph sportscar will be converted to all-electric by Left Coast Conversions.

On hand to kick off the event was the legendary poster boy of "walking the walk", Ed Begley, Jr. Ed is so identified with environmental issues that he and his wife (Rachelle Carson) are about to hit HGTV cable television as a reality show Living with Ed on January 1, 2007. Activist/actress Alexandra Paul from the movie "Who Killed the Elecric Car" was also on the pier to support the cause and answer press questions.

Perhaps the most exciting component of the two-day expo will be the free topical seminars. The featured speakers and panelists include Schwarzenegger-Cal/EPA appointee and author Terry Tamminen, Assemblywoman Fran Pavley who authored California's Global Warming Solutions Act, and ex-CIA chief James Woolsey.

At the conclusion of the press event, the attendees were invited to test-drive the vehicles by participating in a caravan to deliver them to the Expo site at Barker Hanger of the Santa Monica Air Center. Those wishing to attend the free event Dec. 9-10 will find it at 3021 Airport Ave. from 9am-4pm.

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