Word started spreading yesterday afternoon that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger would be making an appearance at the LA Auto Show this morning, and that he might even use the appearance to announce a new biofuels initiative. Fifteen minutes before he appeared, one of his people also said an announcement was coming. Unfortunately, all the buzz was wrong -- the Governator did appear, and praised the show itself (this is the 100-year anniversary), the automakers there, and the state's initiatives to minimize emissions spewed from millions of California cars, but announced no new plans for biofuels. He was joined by executives from BMW, GM, Tesla, Honda and Daimler-Chrysler, as well as a representative of the Union of Concerned Scientist. We all received a press release noting the governor's environmental achievements.
Needless to say, we were a bit disappointed. The governor's appearance did, however, underscore the theme of environmental impact running through the show, and variety of strategies (some really impressive, some notably disappointing) the auto industry is implementing to address personal transportation's heavy environmental footprint. So far, we've seen lots of hybrids and fuel cell concept cars, so were happy to see the Tesla Roadster (an electric vehicle) get prominent placement at this morning's news conference. One point that industry reps have also been making throughout the show -- fuel cell cars are electric cars. We don't know if these means that hydrogen represents the primary means by which car makers will pursue electric vehicles; we do know that they're pretty excited about it in spite of the long timeline projected for commercial viability of fuel cell cars.Again, Shell Oil has sponsored my trip, and asked us to post this disclaimer:
Shell has underwritten Jeff McIntire-Strasburg's travel expenses to attend the LA Auto Show. Jeff is not required to blog about Shell products or initiatives. The only Shell requirement as a condition of underwriting these expenses was to include this disclosure of this relationship on Treehugger.