By Julie Thibodeaux     

Event-goers can get behind the wheel of electric, hybrid and natural gas-powered vehicles and check out the latest alternative fuel technology at the Texas AltCar Conference and Expo this weekend. The event, hosted by the Dallas-Fort Worth Clean Cities Coalition, will be held at the Plano Events Centre, 2000 East Spring Creek Parkway in Plano Nov. 2-3.      This is the fourth year for the Texas AltCar event, which has been held for the last three years in Austin.     

“Texas is a hot bed for alternative fuel vehicles,” said Pamela Burns, communications coordinator for the Dallas-Fort Worth Clean Cities Coalition. “We have more propane stations than any other state. In North Texas, we are no. 2 in the nation for the most electric car charging stations per capita.”     According to Burns, Dallas-Fort Worth is becoming a leader in alternative fuels. In addition to the more than 100 public electric vehicle charging stations, Dallas-Fort Worth offers 50 propane fueling stations, 15 ethanol stations, a dozen compressed natural gas stations and several biodiesel stations.    

        Coda all electric with 125 mile range    Test Drive at the Alt Car Expo

On Friday, Nov. 2, the conference is aimed at public and private fleet managers. Cost for the sessions on Friday is $25 in advance and $35 at the door.     

On Saturday, Nov 3, the conference is geared to consumers and all events are free and open to the public. Event-goers can test drive a variety of alternative fuel vehicles, including the new Coda, an all-electric vehicle with a 125-mile range; the Honda GX, powered by natural gas; and the Chevy Cruze Eco, a gas-powered vehicle that gets more than 40 miles per gallon.  “It will be fun to sit behind the wheel of these vehicles and see how they’re different and how they’re not so different from traditional gas-powered cars,” said Burns.     

In addition to the car show, a lineup of speakers is planned.

11:15 a.m.,
Jim Evanoff from the Department of Energy and former environmental protection specialist at Yellowstone National Park, will talk about how alternative fuel vehicles fit into the sustainability program at Yellowstone Park. He will also share how alternative fuel technology has been tested in the park’s extreme weather conditions.    

12:15 p.m.
Jared White of the city of Dallas will talk about the city’s Bike Plan, followed by representatives from the University of Texas at Arlington, who will speak on the university’s bike sharing program.    

1:45 p.m.
An alternative fuel debate will be held by industry representatives who will discuss the issues surrounding alternative fuel vehicles and some of the obstacles the industry faces.         

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Julie Thibodeaux covers environmental issues, green topics and sustainable living for Green Source DFW. Previously, she worked as an editor and writer at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. See Contact her at [email protected]g.