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October 02, 2008

More Choices than Ever Before – The Alternative Cars of the Future

electric vehicle charge station America imports about 70 percent of its oil, costing over $700 billion dollars a year. This last summer, Al Gore challenged America to “commit to producing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources within 10 years.” We know that the energy crisis will not solve itself; therefore, we must do what we can to reach this goal and free America from its dependency.

This year, the Santa Monica AltCar Expo featured nearly one hundred energy efficient vehicles as well as demonstrated new cleaner technologies. Attendees were able to ride and drive many of the vehicles on display, allowing them to see and feel the difference. For those of you who missed out, the Expo will also be held at the Palmers Event Center in Austin, Texas, on  October 17 and 18.

Pedal Your Energy Savings
trioBike A great way to protect the environment while keeping mobile is to ride a bike instead of driving. One of the vehicles on display at the Expo was trioBike, a bicycle that also doubles as a stroller developed and tested with cooperation from the Danish National Consumer Agency. It is guaranteed to be one of the safest carrierbikes available. It is lightweight, impact resistant, fire and weather proof, and easy to maneuver. The material used is a sandwich construction of UV stabile and vacuum formed ABS. It is 40 times stronger than a bike helmet and can hold up to 175lbs, or two children between the ages of zero and nine years old.

The stroller is equipped with comfortable seats, a sun shade and two five-point safety belts. It also connects to the bike with two quick releases, taking about a minute to switch the brakes and detach or reattach. The vehicle has its own unique patented braking system designed for ease of use when braking and assembling. The trioBike is a perfect way to run local errands while taking the kids out and getting exercise. You could also detach the stroller and take the kids to the store and use it to hold groceries or just use the bike for ride.

The New Volt Takes You Farther
General Motors celebrated its 100th birthday this month with a new Extended-Range Electric Vehicle (E-REV), the Chevrolet Volt also displayed at the Santa Monica AltCar Expo. Aerodynamics was one of the key motivations for the design of the Volt, especially since it plays a big role in driving range.

Chevy Volt
The 16-kWh lithium-ion battery provides electricity for trips up to 40 miles. The battery works with a gasoline/E85-powered engine generator that sustains charge. When the battery is depleted, it can extend the car’s range for hundreds of miles so consumers do not have to worry about running out of electricity. Because of its charging technology, the Volt can be charged in less than three hours on a 240v outlet. Moreover, GM estimates that the unique system only costs two cents per mile while under gasoline- and emissions-free battery power. The Volt is scheduled for production at the end of 2010.

ble Bikes
One of the most impressive motorcycles at the Expo was Zero Motorcycles’ off-road X Electric Motorcycle. The biggest perk is that it is completely biodegradable and landfill safe because of its salt-based construction. That means it uses no oil, mercury or lead! The Zero X also emits no fumes or smells, mean
Zero Xing that it is safe for owners to bring the light-weight bike (145 lbs) into their apartments to charge. This bike is the new wave of off-road vehicles. It is easy to handle and not noisy, which intimidates many female riders. The bike’s lithium-ion battery charges in one to two hours and holds for up to 40 miles or two hours of ride time. It also can submerge in water, handle jumps and can reach 60 miles per hour in four seconds. The Zero X is available for purchase and can be legalized for the bike lane. The street0legal electric motorcycle, the Zero S, will be available for purchase in January 2009.

A Second Chance
Over the last three years, the Santa Monica AltCar Expo has been the hub for alternative energy vehicles in the United States. This year the Expo displayed over 100 alternative vehicles for attendees to test drive as well as talk with representatives for each vehicle. The wide array of vehicles also included custom-made electric cars using both lithium-ion and nickel batteries, hydrogen powered, and custom designed air-powered vehicles and new technologies for public transportation. Because of the AltCar Expo’s success, this year it will also be held at the Palmers Event Center in Austin, Texas, on October 17 and 18 from 10 am to 5 pm. The Austin Energy AltCar Expo and Conference will include many of the vehicles exhibited in the Santa Monica Expo as well as a variety of speakers and panel discussions.

Alyse Speyer
By Alyse Speyer
AskPatty Contributor

Alyse Speyer has a BA in Literature from the College of Creative Studies in the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has several published poems in the 2008 Spectrum and a short story published on She was also an editor for 2008 Into the Teeth of the Wind, a UCSB poetry publication. She speaks Spanish, French and has an understanding of Catalan. Alyse currently works as a freelance copywriter and blogger and writes for a variety of fields. She specializes in Search Engine Marketing and Optimization, web copy and editing.

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