Earth Day Coalition Promotes Alt-Fuel Technology at Clean Transportation Cruise-in


Fri 8/19 @ 5-9PM

Let’s face it, when it comes to recycling, composting and water conservation, most of us are on board because we’d like to see Planet Earth not die. However, the reason why we’re behind those efforts is they’ve collectively been made easier over the last decade or so.

Perhaps the next big leap in regards to conservation involves taking advantage of alternative fuels. Sure, there are some folks who have embraced the electric or hybrid cars, but the general public is still lagging behind, whether it’s due to cost or just not knowing what’s available.

 In an effort to edify Northeast Ohioans, the Earth Day Coalition presents its 5th annual free Clean Transportation Cruise-In Sat 8/19 at Edgewater Park. The event showcases the latest in alt-fuel technologies and features everything from electric vehicles, Segways and compressed natural gas vehicles, to hybrids and electric motorcycles. All proceeds from this event will benefit the Earth Day Coalition as well as promote the U.S. Department of Energy’s fabulous Clean Cities Program.

CooCleveland talked to Clean Transportation program director Christina Yoka about the unique Cruise-in.

First of all, what exactly is the Clean Transportation Cruise-in?

The event is a way to promote different forms of transportation. So that’s looking at walking, biking, public transit. For those that are driving, what are the vehicle options out there that have less of an environmental impact? So there will be a lot of electric vehicles and electric hybrid vehicles that are currently on the market. We started this event five years ago as a way of educating the public: What are the transportation choices that are out there? What are those transportation choices that are out there that are consistent with the Department of Energy goal?

Is there anything new planned for this year’s Clean Transportation Cruise-in?

It’s been pretty consistent but one of the different things this year is we’re going to have four different musical acts (Jul Big Green, Shawn & Shelby, and Nate Jones performing as a duo with Jessica Shetler). So from 5-9pm we’ll have local bands playing. We do now have local food trucks at the event, and we try to make it as family-friendly as possible with yard games and things for anyone who happens to be at Edgewater Beach. They’ll be able to have fun with their kids while also checking out the transportation choices.

Over the past decade or so, how has the conversation regarding clean transportation changed?

We’re looking at a lot of personal choice now. If you look at the way our community is structured, it’s difficult for somebody to live and work in the same place. So if you’re living outside of the community you work in, how do you get there? People need to work and make a living. How if you live in the suburbs, outside of downtown Cleveland, how can you get into downtown without having to drive a vehicle? And if you are driving a vehicle, what are your options for making the least environmental impact. That’s where we’re going with it now, personal choice.

How has the electric car technology evolved?

There are different types of electric vehicles. You have your full electric vehicle, which will just be a plug-in electric vehicle. And those would be your Nissan Leaf or Tesla. And then you have your hybrid electric vehicles that don’t require a power source. That’s while you’re driving they have systems in them that can regenerate that energy that you need. The cost of those vehicles is coming down, as the public demand for it has gone up. So what you’re looking at, with a hybrid vehicle, you might be able to get 600 or 700 miles per one tank of gas.

Granted, solar power is growing, but it seems like some folks feel as though an electric car defeats the purpose by still having to use fossil fuel to charge.

We should definitely think about what our energy source is, and that will impact the greenhouse gas emissions that are attributed to that vehicle. So it’s a valid thing to look at. Fortunately what we’re looking at, as we move more towards renewable energy sources, is a much better option. Right now I believe a Camry hybrid, their miles per gallon would be about 38 miles per gallon compared to a traditional vehicle that gets 28 to 30 miles per gallon. So you are definitely increasing the vehicle range for lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Finally, how long until the entire body of a car will be nothing but solar panels?

One of these days we’ll be there. But no one has that crystal ball and can tell for sure.

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