The message on the lips of every major auto executive at the LA Auto Show this year essentially seemed to boil down to: "Trust us, we're green." And, truth be told, most companies did make some effort to stress their green credentials by featuring an interesting array of upcoming/concept clean vehicles. Too bad their efforts - for the most part - fell flat on their faces.
As many commentators have noted, there seems to be somewhat of a disconnect when companies that are out trumpeting their green message to consumers are also furiously lobbying the government against imposing higher fuel efficiency standards. That's not to say none of the models on display didn't catch our eyes (peep VW's space up! blue above, for instance).
The big attention grabber was Honda's FCX Clarity, the Japanese firm's first production hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. Based on the FCX Concept, some of its more notable features include a range of 270 miles, an average fuel economy of 68 mpgge (mpg gasoline equivalent) and a 25% boost in power-to-weight ratio.
Image courtesy of Siel
GM's beefy Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell vehicle also raised some eyebrows - mostly for portraying itself as an eco-friendly vehicle despite its tremendous girth (consumers still want big SUVs, company officials insist). The Equinox will get a modest 180 miles per tank of hydrogen; GM plans on letting selected individuals in New York City, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. test-drive 100 vehicles over the next few years.
Image courtesy of AutoblogGreen
As our bud Hank Green from EcoGeek so finely put it, our brains almost exploded upon seeing Chevy's Tahoe win the "Green Car of the Year" award. While it's true that Chevrolet has made progress in some areas - particularly in improving the Tahoe's paltry fuel economy (still not-so-hot at 21 mpg) - we still don't quite know how to feel about a SUV winning the award. Given the state of the competition, however, we can't really say that any other car on display swept us off our feet.
Sure, there were a bunch of cool, pie-in-the-sky concept cars but, as Siel notes, none of them are exactly forthcoming. Those that will soon be "available" will only be deployed in small, test markets and limited to "select" customers.
The LA Auto Show: a mixed result, at best.