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Our View: Watts up Saturday

If alternative energy and emission-free vehicles are your thing, you're sure to get a charge out of the Southern Oregon Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Show on Saturday. Sponsors hope you'll show up even if you don't already own an alternative-fuel vehicle, to check out the bikes, cars and ATVs on display and learn about options for gasoline-free transportation.

The event is a cooperative effort by the Ashland Lions Club, ScienceWorks and the Oregon Electric Vehicle Association. And Saturday happens to be the first day of National Drive Electric Week.

With its steep hills, Ashland is an ideal town for electric-powered bicycles, which are among the vehicles that will be on display at the event. A local bike shop owner says the popularity of electric-assist bicycles has taken off.

Besides vehicles designed to operate on electric power, there will be former gas-powered rides that have been converted, such as Pete Jorgensen's 1958 Nash Metropolitan, now all-electric.

With the rising popularity of electric cars, including high-end Tesla sedans — two will be on hand Saturday — and charging stations going in up and down Interstate 5, it won't be long before electric vehicles are a lot more common on the streets and highways. One day, it's likely everyone will be driving something other than gas-powered vehicles as the world starts running out of petroleum.

The show runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at ScienceWorks, 1500 E. Main St. Admission is free, but bring a nonperishable donation for the food bank.