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By Miriam Raftery

San Diego (June 12, 2009)—If you thought driving an eco-friendly car meant settling for a small, boxy vehicle, think again. Vehicles powered by alternative fuels on display at last weekend’s Street Smart San Diego show included sleek, sporty new styles, race cars, and electric conversions of prestigious name brand models.

“We’re doing conversions,” said Michael Kadie of SSI Racing ( . “We have a Porsche and a Super Car right now. We also designed an electric semi-truck that’s undergoing testing in L.A. right now.” The company also markets racing vehicles. Do-it-yourself conversions range from $6,000 to $10,000, or $13,000 to $17,000 with labor.

Wild Electric Custom Cars ( creates prototype electric vehicles for companies , among other projects. “We’re doing prototype electric jet skis now,” said Paul Pearson, posing beside a canary-yellow sportscar he designed. “If we ever put it out as a kit, it will be $45,000,” he said.

Other vehicles on display included a fully electric plug-in Mini Cooper and a Toyota gas-electric hybrid. Sanyo exhibited the eneloop bike, an electric hybrid bicycle ( Other exhibitors displayed vehicles powered by solar panels, from pick-up trucks to children’s cars, as well as an electric scooter.

The Fueling Alternatives rebate program provided rebates of up to $5,000 for consumers to purchase or lease new eligible modes of transportation, such as neighborhood electric, electric and compressed natural gas vehicles. Due to popularity of the program, rebates have all been used and are not currently available.

Held at the California Center for Sustainable Energy in San Diego, the event was the third-annual alternative-powered vehicle fair. The products shown all run on clean, renewable “green” energy and reduce or eliminate vehicle emissions, the number one cause in San Diego of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change. For more information, visit

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