Altwheels @ Larz Anderson Auto Museum :: Brookline Mass :: September 18 & 19, 2004

Altwheels Organizer Alison Sander gets prime time coverage with the Bubbledrome microcars

Mercedes & UQM, when's the real SMART 100% EV version coming out?

Mad Max braces himself for the pending oil shortage

Attack of the Killer Boston Segways

Slide Show
1) Jan "The Computer Man"
2) EV Vogelbilt Bike
3) Newton Mayor EV1
4) Stoneham Ford Escape Hybrid
5) Project BioBus
6) Gem 7) Art car 8) Sparrow
9) Nerd Girls PV hood
10) Nerd Girls at work
11) Max Max
12) Conference Bike
13) Sunshine
14) Stephen Russell Keene Public Works
15) Bonnie & Clyde
16) Burke Oil Biodiesel Mania
17 & 18) Smart interior & motor
19) Bicycleman

This was probably one of the best alternative car shows I've ever been to, not because it was that big, about 1600 people on Sunday (Saturday got a bit rained out) but because it was certainly the liveliest. Altwheels at the Larz Museum in fact put public days at EVS or EDTA shows to shame!

The level of excitement and fun was contagious... almost like a carnival atmosphere, where everywhere you looked, some crazy stuff was going on... half-a-dozen people biking full speed down the hill in some weird human-powered contraption, dozens of people lining up to try the many Segways that were there, a panel of Mayors from all over the region praising the great green things they've been able to do... Children touching and opening everything, and precious rare one-of-a-kind Microcar owners totally freaking out... The circus was in town, and it heralds the coming of a new rEVolution, the way it was meant to be, hands-on and infectious.

Biodiesel buses, electric bicycles, the new Ford Escape Hybrid, GEMs, Segways... the Mayor of Newton even parked on the lawn with his bright red EV-1 he won't let GM crush into oblivion! This is a revolution indeed, and I can't praise AltWheels and the Larz Anderson Auto Museum enough for having the courage of putting on something like this... Vegetarian burgers on the grill... books, flyers, business cards... children of all ages, punks, aging hippies, even a curmudgeon poopooing the hitch hiking revival! Real folks with real feelings for what we're doing to the earth... with ecolutions to spare and pitch and praise.

For me getting to drive the Smart for the first time was the hit of the show. 6 speed electronic transmission!!! Set on manual or automatic, no clutch or foot pedal, just Zip to go! This one had a bit of a lag between gears that can't be normal. My guess is that there's probably nobody around to service these promotional vehicles on loan to private individuals properly, in this case New Urbanism developers Blair Galinsky & James Bill of DavisDesign in Somerville, MA. Never the less I got to drive it around the block and put it through its paces. I can't imagine anything more fun to drive in city traffic. Bumper cars for adults! Yippie!

Even though DaimlerChrysler in the USA is still playing hard to get about importing the SMART ForTwo to America, their self-destructive inertia is being circumvented by eager Mercedes European interests intent on landing the "real" Smart to these shores. So with the help of thousands of Smart enthusiasts who have already tasted the future of urbanism while voyaging to France or Germany... SMARTs are slowly finding their way here, imported at great expense by hardcore fans, and soon via Zap. Zip & Zap, a marriage made in auto Heaven.

DaimlerChrysler finally relented and realized GEMs had a market, and to date they've now sold over 30.000 of them in all 50 States. It's time DaimlerChrysler got the picture, and stopped trying to stop progress. There's no future in oil guys... trust me! Take it from someone who has dedicated his life to putting the oil companies out of their misery. You've sold 200.000 Smarts in Europe, I think it's about time you let us Yankees have a crack at'em too!

I got to give my abbreviated Better Motors - Better Batteries workshop inside a tent that was threatening to blow away... very nomadic.... to about half-a-dozen people. I then packed my bag of tricks and headed back home into the real world of bumper to bumper traffic, back to sweet reactionary ExxonMobil lovin' Republican Connecticut. Driving through Warwick I saw a new automotive technology center going up at the New England Institute of Technology.

(Is this how benevolent eco-dictators get started?)
                                                            
Text & Pictures: Remy Chevalier ET webed
Additional Pictures: Jan "The Computer Man" Messek