Tesla, Toyota unveil new ‘green’ models in Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. — They’re not cheap, but if you’re looking to check out the future of environmentally friendly cars, a few big names are showing off their models in Oregon this week.

Toyota unveiled the Mirai, the first available hydrogen fuel cell car. Mirai is Japanese for “the future”.

The car is only for sale right now in California, starting at $57,000. The Mirai will be available in Oregon in a year.

But it’s already breaking barriers. No more gas, no battery charging. You’d need a hydrogen fill station. The hydrogen gas, stored in tanks in the trunk area, mixes with ambient oxygen in the air to produce electricity.

The only by-product? Water drips, instead of pollution.

“They have zero tail pipe emissions and the hydrogen fuel can be produced in many different ways from natural gas, to water, to any high-carbohydrate waste streams. For instance, sewage or by-products of the beer brewing industry,” said Andrea Lubaway, engineer for the Toyota Technical Center.

Even two-wheelers are getting a makeover.

The Genze is the world’s first electric scooter. It uses a removable battery that charges in any outlet, has a touch screen dashboard and a 30-mile charge range. Genze just opened a store on Southeast Grand Avenue in Portland. The scooters sell for $3,000.

But no car in the green sector has more mystery and sex appeal than the new Tesla Model X, the company’s first SUV. The biggest windshield you’ll ever see. A touch screen dashboard. All electric, with push button handles and incredibly engineered falcon wing doors on the rear row.

The double hinges adjust to tight spaces or low garage height, and allow much more room to get in the backseat, or load kids.

Gary Graunke of Hillsboro, put a deposit on his Model X before he even saw a photo of it. He had never seen one in person, until his test drive Wednesday when the company brought four cars to Portland for customers who have put in an order to check out.

The price on this car? $80,000. But for him, it’s an investment in the environment.

“It’s not really the energy savings that counts, it’s the not putting more green house gases in the atmosphere,” Graunke explained.

Tesla says hundreds of Oregonians have put in orders for the Model X. They are starting to be delivered now.

Feb 25th, 2016