Local News

Alternative fuel vehicles go on tour

Posted April 15, 2009 10:16 p.m. EDT
Updated April 16, 2009 9:56 a.m. EDT

North Carolina State University and the NC Solar Center are taking a group of alternative fuel cars on tour in an effort to educate the public.

The groups say the alternative fuels cars could help the economy and reduce our nation’s dependency on foreign oil.

“Driving Clean and Green: A North Carolina Tour” features 32 cars that run on natural gas, propane, electricity or bio-fuels. The caravan will stop in Greensboro and Charlotte on Thursday.

The tour will also feature hybrid vehicles, including trucks and a school bus.

Some small cars on display at the kickoff event Wednesday at N.C. State on Wednesday run only on electricity and can haul up to 1,000 pounds with no engine needed.

“You basically got tires and batteries, that’s it," said John Yoxtheimer, of Carolina Industrial Equipment.

The vehicles start at $20,000, can go up to 25 mph and cost a few cents to charge.

A plug-in SUV on display claims to get 100 miles per gallon.

“It is very possible you could use that vehicle for whole week and the engine never comes on,” said Joe O’Neill, a clean transportation specialist at the Solar Center.

Heavy duty hybrid Volvo trucks are designed to utilize power hook-ups, but truck stops don't offer them.

“We would potentially save a billion gallons in diesel fuel,” said Skip Yeakel, of Volvo Trucks.