By Nicholas Zarchen,  a Senior at Santa Monica High School, and the Photo & Media Editor for the Samohi school paper, and an Intern at World Team Now.

For my first event since joining our non-profit organization, World Team Now (WTN) as an intern, I made my way through the herds of people trying to make an impact on our earth, one car at a time. As a part of the next generation, walking through Santa Monica Civic Center’s electric and eco-friendly car exposition formally titled; AltCar Expo2012, I realized that these cars are key components of the needed journey towards a more ecological future. As I went to each company’s displays, and listened to each brands’ talk, the magnitude and impact of these cars dawned upon me. I was mesmerized with the lingo and the incredible power and progression of the multitude of cars powered by alternate fuels. But in all honesty, I was impressed by the innovation, the inventions of what seemed to be new technology.  After consulting with Suzanne Maxx, Founder of WTN, I learned from their team’s article in the IEEE, Vehicle Electrification Status and Issues that electric vehicles were not exactly new at all.  My fellow peers who made an appearance from my high school’s Team Marine, and the many adults and children who attended the exposition began to catch on– as I did, in hopes of educating ourselves on how we can reduce our ecological footprint.

I got my share of ecological education and realized that there were various alternate ways of powering cars, like electric, hydrogen fuel cell, and bio fuels.  I discovered there were new policies being put in place, and saw the fruits of incredible efforts of activists, non-profit organizations like World Team Now, governments, corporations and scientists alike. I was inspired by the intelligent and inventive students and experts and was thoroughly impressed and shocked by the numerous new ways ideas presented targeted lowering fossil fuel use.

In addition to me being in the next generation, I am also shopping around for my first car before hitting college next year. Going into the exposition I had an open mind, yet I had apprehensions towards electric cars.  However, after learning about these awesome new vehicles, I have taken the ecological impact into much greater consideration. Logistically, all the cars on display made an impression on me, for all were better than the current condition of cars polluting our air while we pay at the gas pump. Each company had their own take and was utilizing a different energy source, if not using two or more, like the hybrid electric. I was shocked by the vast number of cars and was pleasantly surprised by each one’s efficiency. Yet, the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt impressed me immensely. Not only did the mileage and the workings of the car stun me, the cars are beautiful, stylish, and functional. The Leaf has an estimated 92-106 MPGe and has a sleek body, while the Volt has an estimated 98 MPGe and has a bold design. Despite my quest for the right car, the fact that these two cars are leading the way in the fight against fossil fuels, gives me hope that there will be more to come.  The list of new vehicles WTN published has grown, and it’s exciting to learn that most manufactures will have an alternative car by 2014.

Coming from the perspective of a younger mind, I hope that that the next generation realizes the impact of these new sources and these new cars.  I am thankful that World Team Now helps us better understand the change happening, and I’m happy to volunteer. This AltCar Exposition is just a beacon in the movement for the transition towards total alternative fuel dependency and I hope the switch is flipped for many people in the future. I am so excited to see how these cars progress and how the movement shapes out; there is no doubt in my mind, that they are the future, my future.