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This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Mon, Oct 3, 2011

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

The fourth annual Alt Car Expo

Words and pictures by John Grafman Almost 50 years ago, a two-day legendary concert at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium created a revolution, and it’s happening again. Back in October of 1964 the world was ready for a change. The likes of the Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, James Brown, Chuck Berry, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Marvin Gaye, Jan and Dean, and The Supremes were happy to oblige. These bands and several others came together in an unbelievable event known as the TAMI Show. At that time these groups were cutting edge, and didn’t have a fan base of millions. In fact, promoters had to give away free tickets to the local high schools to ensure that all the seats in the auditorium were filled for the television broadcast. Fast forward: The fourth annual free Alt Car Expo is being held on the same hallowed ground—and it rocks as well. It's ushering in a distinct change in transportation with alternative power sources, just as the TAMI Show was an epic turning point in the acceptance of modern music.


The Coda/span> The Alt Car Expo is growing in presence, with action inside the facilities and out in the adjoining areas. Both exhibits feature new products that are in, or close to production. The consumer products range from well-known cars like the Toyota Prius and Nissan Leaf, smart fortwo (both gas and electric models), Ford Escape Hybrid, Honda FCX, and the new Fisker Karma, to lesser-known cars like the Weego LiFe. Also, the soon to hit the road Coda, which is headquartered in Santa Monica, is on hand for those that want to get some seat time. Attendees get a chance to ride and drive in some of those, along with the Chevy Volt, Mitsubishi i, and the Mercedes B-Class F-Cell on a coned low-speed course. Along with the consumer vehicles are a range of industrial or utility vehicles some are designed for speeds of about 35mph, more or less. Good Earth Energy Conservation’s FireFly is one of those. More hauling can be found in products like the ZeroTruck.

The Trexa

The Trexa is a unique concept that offers an electric chassis and battery that resides in an aluminum tube, which is the backbone of the frame. The tube can be ordered of varying sizes that accommodate more battery storage, and suitable to the end users’ wheel base request. So, the buyer needs to provide a body that will drop down and mate up with Trexa platform. This opens the door to all sorts of designs in the future. And the price is reasonable. This is similar to the Meyers Manx dune buggies, which is bolted to a VW Beetle platform. This also works for the DIY kit builders. Sadly, this isn’t available for consumer cars. What is impressive is this gets around the lack of a two-speed transmission, a problem for other electric car companies, by simply having two motors with different gearing at opposite ends of the chassis. While the rain is falling early this year in Santa Monica, the spirits aren’t dampening. This event is more than a flash in the pan, or the whim of some nut balls, and eccentrics. The displays for the ride and drive are sizable, and express how serious the car companies really are. A number of products are well-sorted and worth consider purchasing. I can’t help but reflecting on the TAMI Show after the two days at the Alt Car Expo. Both events signal a new direction in their respective eras. And yes, both rock.

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