April 12, 2007 4:00 AM PDT

Green is gold at Cool Product Expo

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To Melissa Miranda, a student at the Stanford School of Business and one of the expo's organizers, sustainability is important part of promoting the future of business.

"It's something I wanted to incorporate," Miranda said, "because it's a different take on what an innovative product is from the traditional electronic gadget."

Indeed, the room was packed with products touting their eco-friendly credentials. They included Bambu, an all-bamboo line of kitchen items, like spoons, plates, chopsticks and more; the Frisper, a green take on vacuum-sealing bags used for saving food that allow multiple re-uses of the bags; and the OptiBike, an electric-powered bicycle that allows a rider to add 20 miles an hour to their own pedaling speed and can go 30 miles on a charge.

Miranda pointed to the Tesla Roadster, the all-electric sports car, as the ultimate example of attractive design mixed with green sensibility.

"It's the epitome of the sexy car," Miranda said, "but yet it's all electric. It's sustainable, but sells itself on being a beautifully designed car."

In fact, green cars were in full force at the expo.

Other examples included the VentureOne, a three-wheel car that comes in either a hybrid or all-electric version. The hybrid can reach 100 miles per hour and get 100 miles to the gallon.

According to Venture Vehicles co-founder Ian Bruce, the hybrid VentureOne--which is classified as a motorcycle--has only a four-gallon gas tank, yet has a range of up to 400 miles.

What makes the VentureOne special is its tilting technology, in which the body of the vehicle rotates left and right on curves, depending on which direction the car is going.

"It's the excitement of a motorcycle," said Venture Vehicles co-founder Howard Levine, "with the safety of a car."

The VentureOne should be available in the United States in two years, starting at $18,000.

And another green car on hand was the WrightSpeed, an all-electric sports car that can hit 100 miles an hour in 6.8 seconds.

"It combines all the things I like," said designer Ian Wright. "It's a performance car, using high-performance electronics and software. And you can build a company around it. And you can do all that while saving tons of fuel. What's not to like?"

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