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by: STAFF PHOTO - BEE correspondent David F. Ashton gets ready to take a 2013 Smart Electric Drive car test drive.Getting good mileage, preserving the environment – and having fun while wheeling around Portland – were the themes of an Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) showcase they called “Drive Revolution: The Future of Transportation”, on Friday, July 12th, in their parking lot.

“This is a sustainable transportation show we’re putting on,” explained OMSI Event Planner Melony Beaird with a smile.

“It features both efficient fuel-burning vehicles, and some of the newest fully-electric and hybrid-electric cars,” Beaird explained to THE BEE.

But, she pointed out, it was more than just a static car show. “Many of the vehicles are available for participants to take out for a test drive! People will be amazed at how well many of these vehicles perform!”

Sponsoring an event like this is important to the mission of OMSI, Beaird added. “This is one way we can educate the public about making more sustainable decisions – ones that will sustainably impact our lives.”

Honda North America Honda spokesman Chris Martin was on hand, “fueling up” a Honda 2013 Honda Fit EV, making it ready for another test drive. It can go about 80 miles between charge-ups. “When it went on sale last July, a year ago, it was the most efficient vehicle ever rated by the EPA,” said Martin.

Mercedes-Benz was there too, showing off the largest – and the smallest – vehicles in the show. “We’re letting folks try out our 2013 Smart Electric Drive, and our Mercedes-Benz 2013 GLK250 BlueTEC SUV,” explained company spokesperson Diedra Wylie.

While taking the Smart Electric Drive out for a spin, this reporter found the tiny-looking car remarkably roomy. It was also had surprisingly peppy acceleration. It has about an 80-mile range on a charge.

The event was also packed with hands-on demonstrations and activities provided by local organizations. Of interest to two-wheel transportation enthusiasts was the Cascadian Cargo Bike Fair.

“Above all,” Beaird concluded, “Today is all about learning how to make the most of trips around town, and understanding how to shrink our carbon footprint.” The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry – OMSI – is located just north of the Ross Island Bridge, on the east bank of the Willamette River, on Water Avenue. Its big red tower and OMNIMAX Theater dome serve as landmarks.

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