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Electric cars dazzle, by Christine Pratt

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Yep. They’re electric:

Electric and other alternative-fuel vehicles turned more than a few heads Thursday at the national Odyssey event hosted by Wenatchee Valley College — and not only for their environmental attributes.

Sure, these vehicles burn little to no gasoline, making them lower-cost to operate and friendlier for the earth, but they also look great!

A cute little Ford C-Max hybrid parked just west of the fountain was one of only six in the entire state. With its electrically assisted drive, it gets 47 miles per gallon. Its technology is similar to the now ubiquitous but constantly evolving and improving Toyota Prius, which was also well represented at the event.

Right alongside were a few brand new all-electric Nissan Leaf hatchbacks, compact and futuristic looking.

And Chad Schwitters’ all-electric Tessla Model S sports car looked fast even when parked. With a price tag of about $90,000, but all the performance, roominess, bells and whistles of a luxury car, its earth friendliness almost takes a back seat.

For the more “plain vanilla” types, the all-electric CODA sedan, by CODA Automotive of Los Angeles, disguises its high-tech drive system in a chassis that looks like any regular ‘ole compact car.

The college was one of 160 places nationwide — and the only place in Washington — to commemorate National Alternative Fuel Day, Oct. 18, with a snazzy vehicular display.

Blake Murray, director of the college’s Automotive Technology program and event organize, was in technological heaven Thursday, explaining to onlookers how the different vehicles functioned.

“The whole purpose of Odyssey is to educate the public on the importance of alternative-fuel and advanced-technology vehicles, Murray said. “If we can get (young people) interested and on board, I think that’ll will win the battle.”

It seems as if many of them are hooked already. Criminal justice students Juan Osorio and Alberto Sanchez, poured over the sporty Chevy Volt hybrid on display, marveling at how it can travel 100 miles on only 2.1 gallons of gas.

Osorio is from Mattawa but moved to Wenatchee to attend class at the college. He said he’d own one if he could afford the car’s $30,000+ price tag. “We get tired of pumping gas,” he said. “I was commuting from Mattawa, but it got expensive.”

Alberto give him a suggestion. “You should have bought an electric car,” he said.