While fuel prices may have fallen in recent months, interest in alternative-fuel vehicles and technologies has not. That’s especially true in the public sector, where mandates to reduce emissions – and dependence on foreign oil – are keeping the drive to find sustainable vehicles and fuel sources on the front burner.
If your job is wheels, it goes without saying that independence from oil is the ultimate long-term goal. How to accomplish that daunting task, however, is not as straightforward.
Enter the Alternative Fuels and Vehicles National Conference and Expo 2009, taking place April 19-22 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Fla. The event, which is presented by the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Institute, not only will showcase the latest in alternative-fuel vehicles, parts and related equipment, but also will include programs aimed at addressing many of the questions and concerns that inevitably accompany the transition away from petroleum.
If the following difficulties sound familiar, attending may very well be a wise investment:
- Untangling fictional claims about and technologies from the facts. Industry experts are ready to tackle any question, to the best of their knowledge, with informed responses in the forum atmosphere of “Eco-Smackdown” on April 20. Earlier in the day, a panel of environmental and automotive journalists is available to help increase awareness and understanding of current green-related industry media coverage with “News You Can Use.”
- Keeping on top of government incentives and credits. “From Regs to Riches” and “Money See, Money Do,” on April 19 and 20, respectively, provide in-depth coverage of federal funding trends under the new administration, as well as what options are available at the federal level, specifics of what different agencies provide and how to go about applying for their offerings.
- Figuring out which alternative fuels and technologies work best for which applications. Divided into two parts, “Finding Your Niche” (April 22) first focuses on criteria for school buses, refuse and other government vehicles; next, airport, transit and delivery fleets get the spotlight. End users will be available for comment on their personal experiences with various facets of switching to eco-friendlier options. Also scheduled are several programs centering on specific fuels and power sources, including biomethane, hydrogen and electricity (April 20) and ethanol and propane (April 21). To conclude the conference on April 22, Leo Thomason presents “Putting It All Together,” including a 10-step plan to alternative-fuel implementation, as a comprehensive program summary.
To commence ceremonies, who better than T. Boone Pickens to deliver a keynote address (“town hall meeting”-style) preceding the opening reception? Pickens, whose celebrity grew during his former career as an oilman, now passionately advocates eliminating U.S dependence on foreign crude. Audience members may even be treated to a few trademark “Boone-isms.”
Starting on April 20, more than 125 vendors will be at the expo hall throughout the event, ready to introduce and explain products including (but far from limited to): natural gas compressors, engines and fueling stations, lithium-ion batteries, hydroxy generators and-certified conversion kits. Ford, Freightliner, Global Electric Motorcars, GM and ZENN Motorcars are just a few companies on the list of booth occupants.
Lastly, no vehicle expo is complete without the chance to test-drive the hot topic. Light-, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, in a variety of models that cumulatively utilize the full scope of available alternative fuels and technologies, are available to try out on April 21.
Two hall mixers, both scheduled in the late afternoon on April 20 and 21, will encourage conversation and idea exchange.
For more information on the Alternative Fuels and Vehicles National Conference and Expo, click here.