It’s hard to imagine that Alt Car Expo 2016 has been around for about a decade. Much has changed since then and while Alt Car Expo no longer brings too many local transportation oddities and geniuses, it has attracted many of the biggest players in the electric vehicle and renewable energy fields.
This year was no exception. You could experience driving cars from pure battery to hydrogen operated, as well as a few truly ingenious services that should further alleviate our ever growing congested traffic problems. But Alt Car Expo is also a place where you can talk to meet companies, engineers and new services. And this year brought again a few innovative services.
Say Hello to WaiveCar at Alt Car Expo 2016!
Yes, we know, we know. You thought of it. I thought of it. We all thought of it, but we never did anything about offering free EV rides. WaiveCar lifted the gauntlet and met the challenge with what we’ve been waiting for a long time. How about a free EV ride for the first hour or so?
WaiveCar provides a system we are all familiar with. A digital display advertises on top of the car, as you can see from the picture below, giving you an hour to two of free, pure, unadulterated EV driving. And should you chose to go on, you are able for a very reasonable price.
How it works. Search the map on our mobile app and locate cars in your area. Then, pick the closest car with an adequate charge level. Then simply hit “Book Waivecar” and and voila, the app guides you to the exact location of your Waive Car. But beware that you will then have 15 minutes to get to the car before it is made available again for someone else.
How much? WaiveCar rides are free for the first 2 hours then $5.99/hr after that. If taxis advertise and make you pay, why not WaiveCar?
Don’t Waste That Driveway. Pavemint is Here
The other terrific service we found at Alt Car Expo 2016 is Pavemint. I don’t know about you, but my driveway sits mostly unused most of the time. I thought about renting it, but I don’t know who to, nor where to turn to. Pavemint offers this service as a win-win situation.
If you’re lucky enough to live near the sea, downtown, or any place where people fight for a parking spot on weekends, then how about renting your driveway? Pavemint takes the load off by providing a list of driveways available at your final destination. One of the first questions I asked was about EVs. Can they rent and charge? And the answer was a resounding yes, if it’s available.
The benefits are obvious. You drive from far away, most likely fighting traffic. You’ve already spent over an hour with an anxious crew, maybe even over-exited kids. And the worse part is yet to come. The dreadful parking hustle at the end of the ride! Now that you made it, you have to find a place to park… ideally close to your destination. Pavemint takes car of all this by allowing you to reserve your parking spot.
How it works. When you first visit Pavemint, you are asked to choose whether you will become a driveway host or simply use the system to rent a driveway. If your driveway is not in use during the day, or if you own a parking lot that is empty after business hours, the Pavemint Project makes sense. Pavemint hails itself as a community that makes it possible for residents to make money and help the environment by renting out their parking spaces. It’s a win for you, a win for drivers, and a win for our city, and a big win on reducing traffic and smog.
GM Chevy Bolt Takes Center Stage
It’s no secret we are eagerly awaiting the Chevy Bolt for a few reasons. My wife and I are thinking about our next EV and on paper, the Chevy Bolt meets almost all criteria. Up close the car looks nice, intelligently designed. The exterior continues that Volt electric pattern design, which integrates nicely on the Bolt. The interior was designed with Lyft or Uber in mind, with hard seat backs, perfect for kids and rowdy pickups.
We won’t bore you with details you already know. 236 mile range, we hear 300 by GM employees hypermiling in cities. Depending on where you live, after incentives, the car comes slightly above $30,000, which isn’t bad considering its performance.
So far we like it so much, it will most likely be our next car.
KIA Optima Plug In Hybrid and Soul EV
Although KIA didn’t offer rides of the new Optima Plug In Hybrid, PHEV, the car was there and looks very similar to the hybrid version externally. The only difference are the PHEV side marking replacing Hybrid. We look forward test driving the car. The Soul EV still continues to attract its fair share of interest. We liked our week long test drive, which we covered on CleanTechnica.
Toyota and Honda Still Pushing Hydrogen
Toyota and Honda’s hydrogen philosophy raises a lot of questions, especially when compared to the pace of battery development and breakthroughs. Both companies presented their hydrogen Toyota Mirai and new Honda Clarity, as well as highlighted the many improvements to the technology, which is mandated by their Japanese government. A very lively and enthusiastic Dan Neil asked pertinent questions to both companies, sometimes putting them on the hot seat. It was informative, but the company representative were not amused at all, despite applauds and laughter in the room.
Final Words on Alt Car Expo
Alt Car Expo is always a great event to attend. It is probably one of the only ones where you get close to cars, new technologies, and shake the hand of the CEO or inventor. I don’t know of too many events that will let you do this.
We highly recommend you check out the Santa Monica Alt Car Expo next year again.