Mt Washington Auto Road Alt Energy Summit Featured Largest Gathering of Alternative Energy Vehicles ever in New Hampshire, with more than 50 electric cars, motorcycles and bicycles taking on the Northeast's highest peak!
PINKHAM NOTCH, NH-
Sparrow at the Summit
It was surely the quietest (and most fuel efficient) line of vehicles ever to ascend the Northeast's highest peak. "Mt. Washington Auto Road Alt Energy Summit" which took place this past weekend at the Mt. Washington Auto Road, drew more than 50 different electric cars, motorcycles and bicycles, as well as many alt energy related exhibitors. A great turnout from the public also showed that the idea of generating power more efficiently is now in the mainstream. The Alt Energy Summit drew major manufacturers, electric vehicle associations, industry suppliers and individual "makers" to what was the largest gathering of its kind in New Hampshire.
Among those in attendance was famed inventor Mike Corbin, 70, who brought his Electric Sparrow vehicle all the way from California and drove it up the mountain, repeating his effort in the original Alternative Energy Regatta 39 years ago. The dramatic difference between what he drove then and the vehicle he is going into production with today illustrates just how far the technology has advanced. "It has been a whole new world since the birth of the lithium ion battery. We could barely crawl up the mountain 40 years ago and now it's no problem," explained Corbin. There were 40,000 electric cars sold in this country last year and we're looking at over 200,000 this year. We were before our time, but our time came back!"
Perhaps nothing illustrated this point better than the representation of the major automotive manufacturers who participated in this event. Banks Chevrolet with the new VOLT, Twin City Ford brought the new Focus and Fusion; Tesla Motors was represented by two owners who brought their S Models (which can get over 250 miles per charge; and the MIT team attended with their Porsche and ebike. Organizations in attendance include: Solarfest (the renewable energy festival that takes place in Vermont each year), the Berlin Area Renewable Energy Initiative and New Hampshire Electric Cooperative, which served as Presenting Sponsor of the event.
Another notable exhibitor was Foxfire Energy of Vermont, which specializes in the engineering, sale, installation, and servicing of Renewable Energy systems, including photovoltaics, Solar/ Wood Heating, and Wind Power in both on and off-grid applications. As always, there are uniquely compelled individuals who find new ways to indulge their passion for alt energy. Mark Stewart, 65, of Cambridge, MA brought his electric assist, capsule covered bike, the ELF. He has driven it more than 1,000 up the East Coast and regularly commutes to work in it throughout the winter. "It saves money and keeps me in shape, too!" Stewart said enthusiastically.
Nancy Rae Mallery, publisher of the Green Energy Times (based in Vermont), attended the event and related her story of living in a 100% solar powered house. "I only use 1/3 of the power I can generate and have had no loss of efficiency in 12 years. A system that cost $10 per watt 12 years can be had for a fraction of the cost today. People don't generally realize how far the technology has evolved and how much they can save. Events like this can help get the message out!" Mallery noted.
Another inventor, riding what he called the "world's most advanced skateboard" took on the Auto Road with his electric powered contraption and found it a bit challenging. "The incline and the winds are definitely a factor," explained Robert Worobey, 24, of Westerly, RI. As a former president of the Robotics Club in high school and a graduate of the Coast Guard Academy (specializing in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering), Worobey has always been drawn to technology. "It started with me wanting a vehicle to get around with that didn't need to be registered or insured...and standing up you can see everything coming!" he said.
Amongst this gathering of mass produced electric cars and one off inventions, one vehicle stood out from the crowd: the 1899 steam powered Stanley Locomobile that made the first ever automotive ascent of the Auto Road. It was a special goal of Auto Road GM Howie Wemyss to have this vehicle up and running for the Alt Energy event. "When this automobile was invented it was a form of alternative energy to what was on every road in America-horses!" Wemyss noted. "It has been wonderful to see such a turnout for a subject we all hold near and dear to our hearts here at Mt. Washington-conservation, wise use of natural resources and environmental protection. We're already looking forward to next year".
Pursuant to that, Wemyss has purchased and put the first propane powered stage into service, and the Auto Road currently generates 80% of its needed power from an onsite hydro power generator. Add in the Smart Electric Drive car that is used for town runs and the installation of an electric charging station at the base and it becomes clear that the Mt. Washington Auto Road is focused on a sustainable future.
"This is undoubtedly the largest assemblage of electric vehicles ever to come together in New England and we're very proud of that," said event director Ted Dillard. The response across the board has been tremendous and we want to thank our sponsors and everyone who participated. Seeing all these vehicles together really makes the point: We have the technology and all we need now is the will to put it into use-and the cost incentives are really making that happen".
For more information about the "Mt. Washington Auto Road Alt Energy Summit" event at the Mt. Washington Auto Road call Event Director Ted Dillard (978) 621-5178 or online at www.mtwashingtonautoroad.com