Nevermind The Jetsons: Cars May Not Fly (Yet), But The Future Of Transportation Looks Very Electric
Last weekend, Long Beach Convention Center hosted the self-proclaimed biggest electric vehicle festival in North America. Cue Doc Brown and Marty McFly: From hoverboards and e-bikes to a sleek, solar-powered vehicle that isn’t yet on the market, the expo was a glimpse into the future of transportation.
A catchy ad slogan said: “Save the world. Have fun doing it.” Kids zipped around on electric go-karts, scooters and skateboards. Adults test-drove the latest sedans and sports cars from the biggest auto brands. There was no familiar revving of engines or purring of motors — electric vehicles are pretty darn quiet.
Many who attended came for family fun and a taste of the future, but also to find practical alternatives as gas prices skyrocket.
“What’s happening right now with the gas prices being so expensive … and the technology I think is there right now,” said Tomi Lin of Irvine, who is considering his first electric vehicle purchase.
“Just trying to save gas because L.A. gas … it’s like insane,” said Ricardo Gutiérrez of downtown L.A., who bought a Tesla in 2019 but sold it and was looking for something newer and faster with a bigger range.
“Gas is so high, so now it's like, well, this is the new movement and this is something that I'm interested in looking into in the future,” said David Torres, who commutes two hours each way from Riverside to Anaheim for work.
Torres was eyeing a two-seater EV that can go up 80 mph, is legal on the freeway and sells for about $18,000. He was also looking at scooters and bikes he could take on Metrolink instead of driving to work.
“For an extra car around town or even going to work and back — that's the way to go now,” Torres said. “It takes me two hours to get home every day, then wear-and-tear on a car, let alone the gas. Electric makes more sense now."
“Things have changed,” he added with a laugh.
There were also more futuristic vehicles. Robert Frame came from Rancho Cucamonga to check out an aerodynamic, solar-powered vehicle that looks less like a car and more like something straight out of The Jetsons. It’s not yet on the market. Frame is on the waitlist to get one from the San Diego-based company, Aptera, as soon as 2023.
A former solar panel installer, Frame sees solar-powered cars as key to a sustainable future.
“I just think that's something that we need to be moving towards, away from fossil fuels and climate change,” Frame said.
Nearly 30% of California’s total greenhouse gas emissions are spewed from passenger vehicles: in other words, our gas-guzzling cars and trucks, according to the state Air Resources Board.
Though manufacturing EVs isn’t free of environmental consequences, experts agree more electric vehicle adoption is key to curb planet-heating emissions. The Biden administration aims to have 50% of auto sales be electric by 2030. California plans to phase out new sales of gas-fueled cars by 2035.