Santa Monica Alternative Car Expo 2006
By Noel Adams
On Saturday December 9, 2006 the City of Santa Monica, CA hosted an alternative fuel vehicle show that showcased a host of alternative fuel vehicles including Electric, Plug in Hybrids, GNG, Biodiesel ethanol.
The Expo was opened by Ed Begley Jr. at the Santa Monica Pier where Universal Electric Vehicles announced that they have started taking orders for their Electrum Spyder electric sports car.
This was followed by
parade of alternative fuel vehicles traveling the three miles from
the Pier to the site of the Expo in the Barker Hangar at Santa
I enjoyed just walking around the displays and it was nice to renew a few old acquaintances such as Paul Scott and Chelsea Sexton, who were managing the Plug-in-America booth. Plug in America is one of the most active groups dedicated to getting out the word about Electric Vehicles and Plug-in-Hybrids. They were giving a lot of information to the crowd about these vehicles and were also selling copies of Who Killed the Electric Car and Sherry Boschertís new book ďPlug-in Hybrids: The Cars that Will Recharge AmericaĒ.
Talking of Who Killed the
Electric Car, the Petersen Automotive Museum had their EV1 on
display. This bright red sports car was originally leased by Chris
Trexler who drove it from Los Angeles to Detroit. The car is now
non-operational since GM removed the batteries and most of the
electrical components before donating it.
I stopped by the Universal
Electric vehicle stand to admire the Electrum Spyder. The Electrum
Spyder is a very good looking open topped roadster with a range of
about 140 miles using NiZn batteries. I asked them if they had been
through crash testing procedures and they told me that as a low
volume manufacturer they had three years to complete crash tests and
were planning on selling cars during that period. For safety their
production cars will be fitted with air bags.
Chevy Ethanol vehicle
There were a couple of plug-in Prius on display including the one from Greg Hansenís company Energy CS, and a second one from Plug in Partners. And also a Prius that had been fitted with solar cells to help keep the battery charged. These cars didnít seem to be getting too much attention, probably because the Prius is such a common site in the LA Area.
Left Coast Conversions
were also there and they were actually converting an old Triumph
sports car to electric during the show. They were drawing a large
crowd and I couldnít get near enough to snap a decent photograph.
After spending about an
hour looking around the different displays in the Barker Hanger I
went outside again to check out the ride and drive. This was
actually quite disappointing as manufacturer after manufacturer told
me that they werenít giving test drives.
Myers Motors were giving
Test drives of their single seat NmG but at the time I was there it
was out of service being recharged so I didnít get a chance to drive
Honda were giving rides of
their fuel cell vehicle but they had a film crew shooting video of
one of the cars and line for this was long for the other so I
decided not to wait to drive it.
Miles Motors had one of their ZX70 electric cars there but they werenít giving rides. Feelgood also had a ZEN there but that also wasnít participating in the ride and drive.
The same can be said for the two Xebras that were being displayed by Los Angeles ZAP dealer Little Radio EV, and the Columbia ParCar Summit, though there was a Dynasty IT Sport that was being taken on the test track which I had already driven on a previous occasion.
In the end I did manage to snag a test drive in the California Roadster, which I really enjoyed, even though it was just a couple of laps around the Car Park.
Scott Robinson Honda was
there offering test drives in the Honda Civic CX CNG and the Civic
Hybrid, and Toyota had a lot of Prius on display. Now, I drive a
Prius regularly so I wasnít that interested in testing a Hybrid and
the CNG driven car didnít appeal to me either so I decided it was
time to leave.