Event-goers to the AltCar Expo will get the chance to test drive alternative fuel vehicles in the Ride & Drive area.

Photos courtesy of AltCarExpo.





March 26, 2014

By Rita Cook 

Want to keep up with the latest alternative fuel vehicles? Check out the fifth annual Texas AltCar Expo March 27-29 at the Irving Convention Center. The three-day event is being hosted by the Dallas-Fort Worth Clean Cities Coalition, a private and public partnership aimed at reducing petroleum consumption.

According to organizer Christine Dzilvelis, the first AltCar Expo was held in Santa Monica in 2005. Since then, Texas is only the second state to host the event, a sign of its progressiveness in regard to new technologies.

“Texas is actually a leader in alternative fuel use,” she said.

Dzilvelis reported that Dallas-Fort Worth Clean Cities Coalition stakeholders are responsible for displacing more than 100 million gasoline gallon equivalents of petroleum since 2005. 

“Texas also leads the nation in propane auto gas availability,” Dzilvelis adds. 

The Texas event began in Austin, but moved to Dallas in 2012 to take advantage of its role as a transportation hub. Dzilvelis said its location makes it ideal for the symposium designed for fleet managers and municipalities, which is held prior to the public event.

As for the reason behind the event, its purpose is two-fold.  

“First, it's to present useful information to fleet managers and municipalities about ways they can move their operations toward more environmentally friendly energy alternatives without sacrificing performance or financial goals,” Dzilvelis explains. “Second, it's to showcase the benefits of the vast array of alternative energy vehicles and solutions that consumers can adopt in their everyday lives.”

Above, AltCar Expo showroom. Below, a Nissan LEAF at the Ride & Drive area.

With a variety of automobiles and trucks being showcased at the expo – including a Roush propane van, a Via Motors electric van and a Honda Civic CNG  – organizers are expecting a large crowd. This will include not only consumers from across the DFW region, but also other Texas cities and neighboring states.

There will also be a Ride and Drive area that Dzilvelis says will give event-goers the chance to get behind the wheels of alternative vehicles, including the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt,

“We expect manufacturers to make more than a dozen vehicles available in the Ride and Drive area for consumers to test drive.”

The first two days of the expo will be geared toward commercial fleet managers and municipalities, as well as policy makers and purchasing departments.  

“Vehicles include not only automobiles and trucks, but also construction equipment, school buses and even commercial lawn mowers,” Dzilvelis says. “This year, there is a particular focus on propane autogas.” 

Right, Commercial and utility vehicles with alternative fuel options.

Thursday will feature the Propane Engine Fuel Summit. This program will highlight vehicle and fueling options as well as user successes with propane.  

Friday will delve into the other alternative fuels and information on incentives, best practices and how to implement infrastructure with John Davis, host of MotorWeek, delivering the keynote.

As for what the public can expect on Saturday, March 29, visitors to the expo will see a variety of exhibits focused on alternative energy and energy conservation for transportation and homes. 

John Davis of MotorWeek delivers the keynote on Friday.

Tickets for Thursday, March 27, are $25 in advance. Cost includes the program as well as breakfast and lunch. On Friday, March 28, tickets are $35 in advance. Cost includes conference admission, Ride and Drive and the Expo Hall. On Saturday, March 29, the expo is free and open to the public.

More information on the AltCarExpo. 

 Rita Cook is an award-winning journalist who writes or has written for the Dallas Morning News, Focus Daily News, Waxahachie Daily Light, Dreamscapes Travel Magazine, Porthole, Core Media, Fort Worth Star Telegram and many other publications in Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago. With five books published, her latest release is “A Brief History of Fort Worth” published by History Press. Contact her at rcook13@earthlink.net.

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