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USA: Earth Day Marin shows that sustainable can be cool

Lagoon Park in San Rafael was dotted with white tents Saturday for an Earth Day Marin event that featured local foods, talks and workshops, live music and displays of the latest hybrid and electric cars, including one that dispelled the notion that sustainable can’t be sexy.

With temperatures in the mid-80s, festival-goers strolled the grassy grounds in shorts and sun hats. They didn’t seem to mind standing in the heat of the day to admire a row of new eco-cars from Honda, Toyota, Nissan and Mitsubishi.

A sign on the all-electric Mitsubishi i-MiEV, named the greenest vehicle of 2012 by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, advised, “Don’t drive a boring ride.”

It must have been referring to the car sitting next to it, a silver 2012 Fisker Karma, from Marin Luxury Cars in Corte Madera.

The Karma’s design was supposedly inspired by windswept sand dunes. But, with its low-slung styling, chopped roof (with solar panels embedded in it) and grill that resembles a grinning shark, the 300 horsepower Karma looks more like a retro version of an American muscle car. Maybe it should be called the Karmaro. In any case, it’s a head turner.

“I saw one going down the freeway the other day and it was hard to focus on my driving,” said Robert Cole of Loch Lomond in San Rafael as he ogled the Karma’s water-based paint job, sparkling with flakes of recycled glass. “I had to catch up and take a look at it
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