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Electric car turns heads at clean energy conference in St. Cloud

Jon Hunter of the American Lung Association demonstrates plugging in an electric car at the Clean Energy Resource Teams conference in St. Cloud Wednesday. / Dave Schwarz,

Sleek, shiny and black, the Chevrolet Volt parked Wednesday in the corner of the exhibition hall at River’s Edge Convention Center wasn’t attracting big crowds.

But the car did turn a few heads of passers-by at the Clean Energy Resource Teams conference, signaling a small but growing interest among buyers in electric vehicles.

The Volt was one of three alternative-fuel vehicles on display at the statewide CERTs conference, which highlights successful energy-saving projects for Minnesota communities. The conference featured workshops on solar, wind, geothermal and other renewable energy sources.

The cars included the plug-in electric hybrid Volt, a biodiesel-fueled Volkswagen Jetta TDI and a flex-fuel Ford Focus that can run on ethanol blends.

Automobiles are the largest source of air emissions in Minnesota, said Jon Hunter, manager of the American Lung Association in Minnesota’s clean fuel & vehicle technologies program. His organization wants to see more businesses and local governments purchase alternative-fuel vehicles for their fleets.
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