Sunday, October 4, 2009
AltCar #4 The Last of its Kind
I spent both Friday and Saturday at the AltCar Expo in Santa Monica. This convention has been showing alternative vehicles to the public for four years now, but little in the way of highway capable cars that the masses can buy.
On Friday night, Gov. Schwarzenegger dropped by with an entourage that included CARB Chair, Mary Nichols, and former CA EPA head, Terry Tamminen, the subject of an earlier blog. I watched as the Gov spoke about his Hydrogen Highway with a smug Tamminen beside him. I had to bite my tongue.
At least the Gov was able to see that the rest of the show included plug-in vehicles almost exclusively, and by the time he left, my hope was that batteries had mostly replaced pie-in-the-sky fuel cells in his mind.
As for the show, it was smaller than last year, both in attendance and vehicles. However, there was a palpable feeling in the crowd that wasn't there in years past. Everyone seemed to understand that this was the last AltCar at which you would not be able to buy a highway capable EV from a major OEM. Thus, the countdown has commenced. By the time of next year's AltCar Expo, several major, and a few minor, car makers will have vehicles in the market.
As a testament to this, the parking lot had a sprinkling of Teslas and Mini Es. I expect that next year's event will have much, much more.