Rivian electric pickup truck concept (left) and Jeep non-electric 4WD .
The Two Faces of the LA Auto Show
By Bill Moore
Union of Concerned Scientists USA senior engineer David Reichmuth visited the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show and shares his perspective.
Maybe the thing that stands out most, for me, at least, about David Reichmuth's comments about the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show was its two-faced nature: the one face, a 'green one,' it showed the world media, and the other face, the public one, still shackled to the "I.C.E. age."
The auto industry is confronted by a conundrum: it needs to sell lots of gas guzzling trucks and SUVs to afford to invest in the next generation of electric vehicle technology. That dilemma is no more visible than the transformation Reichmuth witnessed after first attending the show's press days and then when the show opened to the public. Gone or nearly so were most of the electric cars, production or concept. In their place were the company's current crop of tailpipe draggers.
It's pretty obvious that traditional carmakers are trying to generate positive media "buzz" about their plans to roll out, a few as soon as the next five years, dozens of electric cars models. Daimler is said to be planning to buy $23 billion worth of electric car batterries. VW announced it will soon have the capacity to build 15 million EVs. General Motors said it's planning up to 20 different EV models based on a new platform by 2023. How much of all this is real and how much is simply "vaporware" time always tells.
For Reichmuth's full perspective on this year's show, be sure to listen to our full interview using the embedded MP3 audio file below, or download it to your network for playback on your favorite mobile device.
Originally published: 12 Dec 2018
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