Plug-In Hybrid Sand Carving Decorates Vancouver Beach

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Canada, August 2, 2007 (ENS) - Representatives from the City of Vancouver, the Vancouver Parks Board, and World Champion sand sculptor Peter Vogelaar gathered today at Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver to open a sand carving exhibit with an environmental theme. The event was a bright note in a city currently paralyzed by striking public sector employees.

The exhibit on one of Vancouver's most popular beaches was created to showcase the Chevrolet Volt with a full-scale sand replica of the plug-in hybrid concept vehicle.

Sand sculpture of the Chevy Volt on Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver (Photo courtesy GMCL)
The plug-in Chevrolet Volt is designed to eliminate trips to the gas station and produce zero emissions for the driver who travels 64 kilometers (40 miles) a day or less.

"Come play in Vancouver's largest sand box. It's so big you can actually fit a car in it!" said Vogelaar, the architect of Chevy Beach. "What better way to commemorate such an important vehicle and environmental sustainability than by creating a tribute out of sand."

Chevy Beach measures more than 800 square feet, or the equivalent of a Vancouver one-bedroom apartment, and is built with over 50 metric tons of sand.

A team of five professional sand sculptors, including two former World Champions, worked for more than 160 hours to create the sculptures, including the Chevrolet Volt replica, trees, rocks, and a sand castle.

"The Chevrolet Volt is one of the most environmentally conscious vehicles ever designed," said Jason Stainton, marketing manager for General Motors Canada.

Powered by lithium-ion batteries charged by plugging into a common 110-volt household plug, the Volt uses a gas engine to create additional electricity to extend its range.

When drivers need to travel farther than 64 kilometers, a power source that creates electricity from gasoline, ethanol, hydrogen or biodiesel fuels kicks in to recharge the lithium ion battery pack for a driving range of up to 1,000 kilometers. The onboard generator functions while the car is in motion or while parked.

GM announced a fuel cell variant of the Volt concept at the 2007 Shanghai Motor Show in April.

Both are concept cars that are currently not available for sale.

"GM offers more green choices for consumers and has taken an active role in developing environmental technologies ranging from active fuel management and hybrid systems to E85 biofuel and fuel cell vehicles, Stainton said.

The Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid concept car (Photo courtesy GM)
"By showcasing this important vehicle to Vancouverites we are demonstrating GM's commitment to caring for our environment," he said.

The Concept Chevy Volt received lots of attention when it was introduced at the North American International Auto Show in January. At the end of June, the car was awarded the 2007 North American Specialty Concept Vehicle of the Year and the Most Significant Concept Vehicle of the Year at an awards ceremony at the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan.

Accepting the award, Chevrolet Volt lead designer Bob Boniface said, "The Volt is an important vehicle for GM and for the world. Whether your concern is energy security, CO2 emissions or reducing our dependence on oil, it all leads to energy diversity. GM wants to be a part of the solution, that's why we designed the Chevrolet Volt concept."

See it sculpted in sand at the Chevy Beach exhibit, open daily at Kitsilano Beach through Monday, August 6.

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2007. All rights reserved.