AltWheels — Green Up Your Ride

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Mass transit, bicycles, hybrids, all will get you there with less pollution than the traditional gas guzzler. But there are lots of other options, and in Boston this weekend, the 4th annual AltWheels Alternative Transportation Festival will showcase them all. The 10-day event started last weekend with a symposium at the Museum of Science, and continues this weekend with a fair at City Hall Plaza.

Vehicles on display include a compressed natural gas Honda Civic GX, an Austin Mini converted from diesel to run on vegetable oil by Greasecar, an all-electric Toyota RAV4, a gasoline/electric Toyota Prius hybrid, and an electric/ hydrogen fuel cell hybrid maxi-scooter from Vectrix. A tricked-out VW concept bus from Volkswagen’s Silicon Valley research lab is making its debut at the show. The bus, called Chameleon, features lithium-polymer batteries, surfboards lined with solar panels and an electronic bumper sticker. Antique alternative vehicles will also be featured, including a 1920s Stanley Steamer and a 1914 electric vehicle.

“Our goal is to introduce several different engineering solutions to the problem of shrinking energy sources, high costs, and pollution,” said Museum educator David Sittenfeld. The Museum will feature special programming on sustainable transportation and energy through September 28th. Activities for kids include a launch of hydrogen-fueled rockets.

AltWheels visitors will be invited to explore the “Green Energy Freedom Trail,” an eco-version of Boston’s historic Freedom Trail, and try out sustainable-food samples. Besides the public events, a series of meetings among a broad, public/private coalition of automakers, municipal organizations, transportation professionals, environmental and educational leaders, and bike and walk groups, will work to find real solutions to our addiction to oil.