Electric bus in Zermatt, SwitzerlandEnlarge Photo
Gasoline and diesel fuel today power almost every one of the 1 billion vehicles on the planet.
But what would it be like to live in a town with no gas-powered cars at all?
The little Swiss skiing village of Zermatt may be one of the few places in the world where it's possible to experience such a world.
It has long been car-free, but it has now added public buses for transport of people and goods--and the fleet is comprised entirely of locally built electric-powered "Zermatt buses," with a distinctive shape and a deep sky-blue paint job.
The resort area proudly describes the buses on its website, noting that with up to 30,000 visitors visiting the village each year, growing demand for clean transport led to the creation of the locally built plug-in vehicles.
Now, about 500 of the electric buses have joined the throngs of pedestrians, and the four remaining horse carriages that used to be the dominant mode of transport for both people and cargo.
Several Alpine resorts have also tested electric rental cars for visitors, including the now-defunct Think City two-seat battery electric car.
A vacation in Zermatt, granted, is a pricey way to experience emission-free living.
But it's nice to know it's there, isn't it?
For the flip side of a gasoline-free world, by the way, we recommend Nissan's clever ad for its Leaf electric car that imagines what the world would be like if many more things were powered by gasoline.
Like coffeemakers, and photocopiers, and dental drills, and computers, and televisions, and digital music players, and ...
Watch the ad below.
Then imagine the crystal-clear skies of Zermatt with the gentle hum of electric vehicles in the background.
And not a gasoline engine anywhere.