The Electric Cars of the LA Auto Show
By EV World
According to a premature report in the Wall Street Journal, General Motors and Chrysler weren't supposed to be at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show, except they were.
Not only where both companies present and accounted for, they also made a major effort to assert their green credentials; Chrysler, especially. The number three Detroit automaker rolled out a quintet of electric cars, not including a pair of GEM neighborhood electric vehicles strategically stationed as sentinels at the front of their display area. Prominently featured were the Chrysler EV minivan, the Jeep Wranger EV, the Dodge EV and the Dodge Zeo concept car.
The center piece of General Motor's display was the Chevy Volt and on hand to explain the car were key members of the development team, including Bob Boniface and Tony Posawatz. EV World conducted video interviews with both Boniface and GM spokeswoman, Britta Gross, who was busy conducting an interview in fluent German. The company also had their two-mode Sierra Hybrid pick-up on display, as well as their Opel/Saturn Flextreme concept car, complete with dual Segway scooters stowed underneath.
Besides the vehicles featured in the Flash-based slide show, Hyundai had several of its fuel cell Tucson SUVs taking part in the Ride & Drive. Mitsubishi had at least as many i MiEVs scurrying about the drivingcircuit around the Staples Convention Center in downtown Los Angeles.
Not included in this slide show are BMW's micro-hybrid and Mercedes Blue Tech hybrid, as well as Ford's Fusion and Milan full-hybrids. Toyota also introduced the Lexus RX 450h, an upgrade of the original 400h. Time didn't permit us to photograph all of these.
Curiously, despite the central role of all-electric cars in Nissan's product strategy going forward, the company had not a single EV on display, which was a disappointment, especially after Carlos Ghosn's keynote address to the Motor Press Guild.
While there is a growing consensus that electric-drive vehicles will figure prominently into carmakers' future product plans -- Toyota will be debuting a all-electric concept car at the Detroit show in January -- there remains a wide chasm between promise and reality, one made even wider by the industry's current economic woes.
It was Ms. Gross who pointed out to EV World that GM is developing the very car Congress is asking for at a time when lawmakers are dragging their heels in approving a bailout package for the industry. It would be tragic to have the company fail just as they were readying the Volt for production, was the implication of her words.
Watch for video interviews with nearly a half-dozen show participants including representatives from GM, BMW, the X Prize and AC Propulsion.
Please note that you will need to install the Flash player in order to view the POPUP SLIDESHOW WINDOW.
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