Bronx Community College Hosts “Clean” and “Green” Car Show at Lehman College

More than two dozen vehicles showcase the latest in fuel efficiency technology

October 16, 2012—The future is coming to the Bronx–on four wheels. On Friday, October 19, the Center for Sustainable Energy of Bronx Community College (BCC) of is hosting its Eighth Annual Alternative Vehicle Technology Conference and Expo on the campus of Lehman College.
Time: 8 am to 3 pm
Place: Lehman College, Lovinger Theater
250 Bedford Park Blvd. West
Bronx, New York 10468

The theme of the event, “Innovation and Opportunity,” will be explored by local political and business leaders and nationally recognized innovators of environmentally sound transportation–and will be demonstrated in an automobile show featuring some two dozen planet-friendly vehicles.
“It all stems from a commitment to a cleaner, greener future,” observes Dr. Michael Seliger, a BCC Associate Dean and co-founder of the Center for Sustainable Energy. The stature the conference has achieved over the years is reflected in this year’s choice for keynote speaker: Francis J. Murray, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the public benefit corporation devoted to serving as a catalyst to advance energy innovation and technology, works to transform New York’s clean-energy economy and to empower people to choose clean and efficient energy as part of their everyday lives.

Other speakers will include Congressman Jose Serrano, an early and avid supporter of CSE, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, and BCC President Dr. Carole M. Berotte Joseph.

“We are proud of BCC’s Center for Sustainable Energy and its role in contributing to both public awareness and a greener, healthier borough,” says President Berotte Joseph. “This conference has grown in each of its eight years, to the point that it is seen as the premier event of its kind in the region.”

As with any auto show, the stars are the cars. The 20 to 30 vehicles that will be on display in front of Lehman’s Lovinger Theater come in every shape, size, purpose, and ecologically logical power source. Among the standouts:
•    A New York City cab of the future, accessible to disabled Gothamites AND powered by compressed natural gas
•    A hybrid electric street sweeper on loan from the city’s Department of Transportation
•    All-electric motorcycles that actually look like motorcycles
•    The battery-powered Coda Sedan, enthusiastically reviewed by Motor Trend magazine
•    A Honda hybrid being exhibited by Zip Car, the car-sharing company that includes alternative technology vehicles in its fleet
•    Three different green vehicles from GM, a major supporter of the conference.

Though the conference will draw some 300 participants, Dr. Seliger predicts many students and other passersby will take some time to “ooo” and “ah” at the celebrity vehicles.

Lunch will be salmon, provided by Down East Seafood–and delivered by one of the company’s electric “box” trucks, the first of their kind in the city (a similar Pepsi Cola truck will be part of the Expo). “We have great love for what Down East Seafood has done with those electric box trucks,” says Seliger. “They really were pioneers.” In honor of that achievement, Down East Seafood will be receiving the conference’s Sustainable Energy Pioneer Award. The Bronx is also a winner–Down East inspired the makers of the truck, Smith Electric Vehicles, to open a plant in the borough. A representative from Smith Electric will chair the day’s first panel.
The speaker making the longest journey will be Dr. Aaron Socha. An assistant professor of chemistry at BCC, he is currently on a special leave of absence in California, where he is working on biofuel production. Dr. Socha will be part of an afternoon panel on batteries and other new technologies for alternative vehicles.
“I think we are going to see a growth in electric vehicles,” says Seliger, a development for which BCC is uniquely prepared. “Bronx Community College is the only college within CUNY to have an Automotive Technology degree program,” Dr. Seliger notes with pride. “And happily, it now has an alternative energy track . We’d like to see that expertise expanded so that it can be shared throughout the region.” Clement Drummond, who heads the BCC Automotive Department, will moderate a panel on the topic.

Ultimately, the Alternative Vehicle Technology Conference anticipates a time when today’s fossil-fuel-devouring delivery trucks and automobiles will be viewed as a vanishing “alternative” to the vehicles on display at this year’s Expo, which will then be known simply as “cars.”