Now in its 14th year, CEC’s Green Car Show is the largest showcase of efficient, alternative-fueled vehicles between Los Angeles and San Francisco. This year, the groundbreaking Toyota Mirai Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle and high-performance Tesla Model S P85D will headline the show, as well as the latest alt-fuel vehicles from Chevy, Ford and Nissan.
Attendees will have the opportunity to test drive some of the cars, including the Tesla Model S, at the show’s Ride & Drive, on the corner of Micheltorena and Santa Barbara from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 18 and 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 19. In the Owner’s Corner, festival goers also can speak directly with local drivers about their experiences with electric and electric hybrid vehicles. Jordan BenShea will be showing her Ford C-Max Energi, which she charges at home with rooftop solar.
To build awareness about new high-efficiency vehicles, CEC keeps a close eye on new alternative fuel developments. Here are some of the trends we’ve been seeing in 2015:
- Hydrogen is getting some more attention: major manufactures – most notably Toyota – are betting on a new kind of alternative fuel revolution with the release of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles (HFCV). The California Energy Commission is also investing funds in a network of strategically located fueling stations and infrastructure. So far, $36 million has been awarded for the construction of hydrogen fueling stations in California; one of the stations will be built here in Santa Barbara.
- The number of battery-powered electrical vehicles continues to grow, and the technology is improving: there are now over 20 different electric vehicles on the market, many of which get the equivalent of more than 100 miles per gallon.
- The driving range of electric vehicles is increasing: Tesla’s Model S 85 kWh and P85D can be driven 250 miles between charges. Chevrolet is following suit with their Bolt – an affordable electric vehicle with a 200 mile driving range – that is slated for release in 2017.
- Electric vehicles are more affordable: With federal tax credits of up to $7,500 and a California state rebate of up to $2,500, electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf can cost as little as $18,500. Many affordable leasing plans ($220/month) are also available for electric vehicles, with the $2,500 California rebate covering the down payment.
The annual green car show is part of a larger effort by CEC to accelerate the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles in our region. We are also working with regional partners such as Central Coast Clean Cities to develop a regional Alternative Fuels Readiness Plan. Through these partnerships, CEC is promoting the deployment of more alternative fuel infrastructure and laying the groundwork for new transportation systems that will move us away from fossil fuels.
Electric, hydrogen, and other alternative fuel vehicles have enormous potential for reducing emissions of both local air pollutants such as nitrous oxide and global pollutants such as carbon dioxide. If you’ve been thinking about an EV for your next car purchase, or simply want to learn more, stop by CEC’s Green Car Show at the 2015 Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival on Saturday, April 18 from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 19 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Santa Barbara Street. There’s no better way to learn about driving clean and CEC’s #ChooseElectric initiative.