By Dean Adams Curtis
Focusing first on the positive aspects of the 2015 Los Angles International Auto Show, we applaud the long-awaited dawn of the hydrogen vehicle age. Unveiled at the show were the 2016 Toyota Mirai, the 2016 Honda Clarity, and the 2016 Hyundai Tucson. These hydrogen fueled vehicles offer zero emissions, tremendously cool 300 mile ranges and three minute fill-ups.
Thanks to forward-thinking western U.S. politicians in California, Oregon and Washington, hydrogen vehicles can now pull into a network of fueling stations that have been built along the west coast. Now that this infrastructure has been built and the hydrogen vehicle age has dawned at the 2015 Los Angles International Auto Show, ever more zero emission hydrogen fueled vehicles will be fueling at these hydrogen filling stations.
Other positive news, two new electric vehicles were on display. Audi revealed their 2016 A3 EV with “e-tron” drive, as well as their very nice near-future e-tron EV Quattro.
Electrification is inevitable,” an Audi representative said during their press conference.
The LA International Auto Show also revealed incremental steps forward that auto industry engineering and management teams can be proud of. Automakers showed off vehicles with engines boasting enhanced fuel economy, as well as new plug-in hybrids that offer longer ranges on electric only power. And enhanced safety innovations provided by collision avoidance and lane change support were also announced.
A Connected Car Expo held in parallel with the 2015 LA auto show displayed Internet, Wi-Fi and satellite connectivity in vehicles, however signs of significant movement into the age of autonomous vehicles were not in evidence.
Yet collectively this year’s LA auto show, like last year’s, was more about fan dancing, jumping-in-place, exterior touch-ups, and balancing-in-place. All of these were on display at the press party prior to the start of the show and served as appropriate metaphors for the state of art in automotive design that was revealed. To make the next LA International Auto Show less of a fan-dance the auto industry will need to truly embrace the zero emission vehicle future, and race to reach it as soon as possible.
Hopefully, now that an international consensus on how to effectively deal with the accumulation of climate change causing greenhouse gases in our atmosphere has been signed in Paris, and Mother Nature is issuing clarion calls about the impacts of the warming, the world’s automotive giants will fast-track their zero-emission and low-emission vehicles into production.
Perhaps we’ll witness this acceleration at the 2016 North American International Auto Show coming up in Detroit.