Ecofest Report: Overview
Overall, the 18th annual Ecofest didn't blow me away, but there were certainly some cars I was glad to see up close and some people I was happy to chat with about the state of alternative-fuel vehicles and the projects they're researching and developing. Most notable were the University of Toronto's Blue Sky Solar Race Car Project, the Vehicle Design Summit's human-solar hybrid and the Bicy-taxis. There were, however, other exhibitors that put up some good displays, but for one reason or another they didn't get the star treatment with their own post.
Toyota came proudly showing their colors with the biggest of all displays. On hand were the Prius, the Camry Hybrid, the Highlander Hybrid, the Lexus RX 400h and GS 450h. Unfortunately, the LS hybrid was no where to be seen.
Ford was the only other major automotive manufacturer present, but their exhibit (if you can call it that) only consisted of a single Escape Hybrid parked to the side of the exhibitor area with flyers under the windshield wipers. No spokesman or representative was available to answer any questions.
Myers brought an NmG that was dressed up in high-end audio equipment by Stereo Upgrade. Back in June, Ray Holan provided AutoblogGreen readers with an in-depth analysis of the NmG which can be found here.
The U.S. Postal Service brought two "clean-air" delivery trucks. A gentleman in a USPS uniform told me that one was ran on CNG while the other was a full electric vehicle. He wasn't able to give me any details on either vehicle, but told me to go to usps.com for additional information. A few searches on the site didn't pull up any stats on either of these particular vehicles, so I'll be sure to check back again and see if I can find anything.
Another interesting vehicle was pieced together by Chip Beam and Larry Shilling, the founders of Beaver Energy. The duo showed an old SUV that had been converted to run off wood chips. You can't miss the behemoth fuel feeding system set up in the rear of the vehicle. I wasn't able to get many details about the truck and they don't yet have a website, but I did get the contact information of both men, so you'll most likely be hearing about them in the near future. Do keep an eye out for a feature on them on Discovery's Science Channel. Mr. Shilling mentioned they'll be airing a segment featuring the vehicle in the next month or so.
There was also a BMW 524td running a vegetable oil tank on display, however, the owner of the vehicle was nowhere to be found.
In all, the most optimistic sign of being able to live in a peak oil future was the general positive reaction I observed from the public's interest in their near-term alternatives to fossil fuels.
You'll find additional pictures of display vehicles by clicking the continue link.
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