Friday, December 8, 2006

Santa Monica AltFuel Expo Sets up

Spent the day at the press event and setup for the Santa Monica AltFuel Expo, being held in conjunction with the LA Auto Show. One can be quite encouraged by the 30 odd alternative fuel cars of all shapes and sizes. I should feel heartened that battery electrics predominated, if you include NEVs and bikes.

I drove the AC Propulsion eBox (thank you, Tom), my first time behind the wheel of the ACP system. No real opportunity to let it rip in our pokey NEV-dominated parade on city streets, but as impressive as everyone says. A real car, by any measure. Phoenix Motors AltairNano powered SUV was the other full BEV. I hope to find out more tomorrow.

The production of Neighborhood Electric Vehicles and electric bicycles is picking up. ZENNs and Miles Motors and scaled down pickups and jeeps from companies I'd never heard of. But this is unlikely to have a large impact on the availability of full BEVs.

A few bio-cars were there. Honda with the remaining CNG vehicle from a major and two hydrogen fuel cell cars. Daimler Chrysler's FCV made an appearance.

And everyone was well behaved, as requested by the organizers. No internecine altfuel warfare. Ed Begley is representing Phoenix's BEV, but spoke optimistically of a clean hydrogen future. An actress was introduced and praised for her altfuel vehicle, which she said was a Lexus Hybrid SUV. Grumbling about her gasoline-powered altfuel car remained unspoken.

It remains to be seen how such fuel ecumenicism actually advances alt fuels into the real world marketplace. Lots of good words about fighting global warming and ending petroleum dependence. Yet each makes its most minimal contribution as all are essentially relegated to the future (or past) equally.