Parade unit ready to roll electrically |

Parade unit ready to roll electrically

Jeremy Heiman

Solutions to pollution will be rolling in Aspen’s Fourth of July parade.

Electric cars, trucks and an electric shuttle bus, and possibly some hybrid vehicles powered by electricity and gasoline, will have a space among the floats, bands and marchers.

Aspen architect Jake Vickery is organizing the alternative-fueled parade unit. “It’s sort of a counterpoint to the old Harley thing,” he said.

Vickery said he will have three electric cars and a bus in the parade, and he hopes local owners of a couple of small electric pickup trucks will join the procession as well. Other people who own alternative-fuel cars or even electric scooters and bikes are invited to join in.

“It’s nice to recognize these people for being kind of forward looking,” he said.

Vickery said he hopes to have a Toyota Prius and a Honda Insight in Aspen for the parade. Both are newly released production hybrid cars. Their makers claim they will go about 70 miles on a gallon of gasoline.

The all-electric vehicles, made by Global Electric Motor Car, are intended for in-town use only, and have a top speed of only 25 mph. Their exhaust emissions are zero and they are very quiet, Vickery said.

The three cars and the bus are owned by Vickery’s sales company, Rocky Mountain Electric Vehicles. Vickery said his company hasn’t sold many electric vehicles so far, and those he has sold were sold for dealer cost, to get them on the street.

“Right now, it’s like a nonprofit,” he said.

One of the pickup trucks is owned by the Aspen Alps Condominiums, which uses it for routine maintenance work, Vickery said. The other is owned by Aspenite Melinda Goldrich.

Goldrich said she likes using her electric vehicle for driving on short trips around town with her dogs in the small pickup bed.

“It’s just a comfortable thing to drive around town, compared to a full-sized car or truck,” she said.

“It’s real quiet and real smooth. You’re not all cut off like you are in a car,” Goldrich said. The vehicles are open-sided, with a roof supported by a curving tubular structure.

Goldrich charges the vehicle’s battery by plugging it in at her home. She said she can’t tell the difference in her electric bill.

Vickery’s bus is leased to the Roaring Fork Transit Agency, which will test it on its Aspen Music Festival route this summer. RFTA General Manager Dan Blankenship said RFTA is testing the bus because the agency is exploring the possibility of using electric vehicles on more routes in the future.

RFTA drivers are currently being trained to drive the bus, Blankenship said. The training is both for routine operation and to allow drivers to learn some skills specific to electric vehicles.

Vickery said he’s looking for people willing to drive his cars or their own alternative-fuel vehicles in the parade. Anyone who’s interested can call him at 925-3660.

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