The L.A. Auto Show has been an exciting event this year. It is the
100th anniversary of the show and there were so many wonderful choices
of new environmentally friendly vehicles, you will turn green with envy
when you see others driving them on the street! Wednesday marked the
opening of the event for media members and there were some big names
there to kick it off with style.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was present and spoke about the push toward making L.A. the largest “green” city in the U.S. He presented the Auto Show with a commemorative plaque for their 100th anniversary as well. The highlight and keynote speaker was General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner. The topic of the day was new energy for automobiles.
Wagoner brought up the scary fact that in 2030 we will need 70% more energy than we did in 2003. What a scary thought! Well, GM has committed to a plan to help increase the development of alternative energy sources. Wagoner said, “The key, as we see it at GM, is energy diversity. We believe the best way to power the automobile in the years to come, is to do so with many different sources of energy.” Bravo! We like the sound of that! But what does that mean?
It means GM, Ford, and DaimlerChrysler announced they will double their production of vehicles capable of running on renewable fuels by 2010. In fact, General Motors plans to make half of their annual vehicle production bio-fuel capable by 2012, provided there is a decent supply of filling stations out there for us. So write your Senator and Congressperson!
The theme was green throughout the show this year for sure. Shortly after hearing GM’s commitments, we heard Ford announce their plans to expand their clean vehicles, including more work on the hydrogen fuel cell option. The all-new Saturn VUE Green Line was debuted by Jill Lajdziak (Saturn’s General Manager) and this particular model uses a “two-mode” hybrid system which provides—get this!—a 45% increase in fuel efficiency over the standard VUE. Whoa! That’s a huge jump. Think of all that extra cash… you could buy more lattes, or more holiday gifts for the family, or put it into a savings account!
What if you could plug your car into an outlet in your garage and reasonably recharge the battery at night before work, just like you would a cell phone? Well, line up for the Saturn VUE in a few years, which will be the first vehicle with a “plug-in” system. Hmm… should they go with a two- or a three-prong plug? And what about a DC adaptor so you could charge your car from… your other car? Maybe that’s getting too carried away!
One last little note on this whole trend toward helping the environment. There was an interesting little interaction between a few “activists” who called GM CEO Rick Wagoner out on his commitment, trying to nail him down on this plan. They were skeptical of this turnaround, and we are a little as well. While we applaud the push toward green autos, we wonder if the rubber will meet the road. We truly hope so.