It’s not just if, but when, alternative energy vehicles will become a standard mode of transportation, organizers of the upcoming Alternative Car and Transportation Expo believe. For many, that time is now.

Continuing its push to promote green energy alternatives and environmental sustainability, the City of Santa Monica is sponsoring and hosting the upcoming Alternative Car and Transportation Expo, showcasing the latest breakthroughs in alternative energy vehicles.The expo is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, December 9th and 10th, at the Santa Monica Airport Barker Hangar, 3021 Airport Ave., Santa Monica. Admission is free.

Guests at the expo will have a chance to ride in and test drive new electric, hydrogen, natural gas, biodiesel and ethanol vehicles, some of which have never before been available to consumers.

A car rally and opening ceremony, including a parade of all participating alternative vehicles, will take place at 10:30 a.m. Friday, December 8th, beginning at the Santa Monica Pier and ending at Barker Hangar.

The event will include actors James Brolin, Alexandra Paul and Ed Begley Jr.

About 100 alternative fuel vehicles will be showcased, including hybrid, electric, hydrogen, compressed natural gas, plug-in hybrid, high mpg gasoline, ethanol and biodiesel. Segways, electric skateboards, bicycles, mopeds, two- and three-wheeled scooters and other eco-friendly vehicles will be on display.

Car manufacturers and alternative and green fuel advocates will showcase and discuss new technologies, viable sustainable fuel alternatives, health solutions, urban planning and renewable energy.

“This is an ideal opportunity to view the cleanest and most fuel-efficient vehicles, and also a chance to advocate the long-term benefits of public transportation and transit solutions available now to lessen environmental and health concerns we face,” says Craig Perkins, environmental and public works director for the City of Santa Monica.

“We have viable options available now and this expo is the ideal forum to share tools with the public to make cleaner transit decisions.”

Highlights of the event include a new car lot where attendees can purchase alternative energy vehicles. New alternative energy vehicles are available for purchase and used ones will be auctioned.

Left Coast Conversions will perform on-site conversions, switching out an internal combustion engine of a 1970s era gas guzzler with lithium polymer batteries. California Air Resources Board is expected to sign off on the conversion.

An alternative fuel sports car will be unveiled — a two-seat convertible sports car called the Electrum Spyder, manufactured by the Universal Electric Vehicle Corporation. Priced at $69,995, the Spyder can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in under five seconds, and has a range of 300 miles, organizers say.

Also at the expo, the Society of Automotive Engineers will display a collection of the latest high mileage prototype cars.

Environmental, health and alternative fuel seminars will be held throughout the two-day event and will include Assemblymember Fran Pavley, National Center for Smart Growth professor Reid Ewing and World Council for Renewable Energy chairperson Angelina Galiteva. Key- note addresses will be provided by former CIA director R. James Woolsey, author Edwin Black and former head of the California Environmental Protection Agency Terry Tamminen.

Information, (310) 390-2930.

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