So it's time to go...I'm sitting in the airport waiting for my (ever so inefficient) airplane so that I can increase my carbon footprint by like 50% for the year...and I have to wonder...was it worth it?
The Los Angeles Auto Show is about showcasing green technology, and in a year when the greenest new car gets 21 mpg (though, it is a giant SUV,) there obviously wasn't too much happening right now that was interesting.
Sure, we're getting a new small car in America from Chevy. There are a couple new hybrid versions of existing vehicles and soon we'll have the first hybrid full-size truck in the form of the Silverado. But this year's show was a lot more about the future than the present. That's something I can appreciate, even if it's a little bit disappointing.
There aren't going to be enough hydrogen fueling stations in the Los Angeles area to support fuel cell vehicles for at least another five years, and other areas of the country are far behind them. But car companies are preparing for that future, and Honda and GM both have plans to get fuel cell vehicles into the hands of consumers (GM this winter, Honda next summer.) While both Volkswagon and Toyota were showing off their own fuel cell concepts.
And as I continue to chat up fuel cell engineers and tell them that their technology, with current infrastructure, is unfortunately DOA, they insist on reminding me that we can't solve this problem instantaneously. The hydrogen economy is going to take a long time to take off...if it ever does.
But everyone agrees (except Toyota) that the Volt is a game-changer. Once the technology is delivered, it will work for everyone who has a 110 volt plug in their house. In America, that's everyone. It will decrease gasoline consumption by as much as 90% for everyone who uses it and the technology (GM insists) exists and only needs to be modified and molded into the form of the car.
So, much to the chagrin of fuel cell engineers who have spent a full decade and a billion dollars developing their technology, the real story of the green future of cars was only announced a year ago. Electric cars! Who would've thought...besides all of us, who've been asking them to invest in battery technology for the last decade. Finally it's caught on...so, for now, we're gonna stop complaining.
EcoGeek's coverage of the LA Auto Show was underwritten by the General Motors Company, which, we agree, is very strange since we say some fairly mean things about them with some regularity. The only condition of their assistance (travel and lodging) is that I disclose it, which, of course, I would have done anyway.
written by Rubab, November 16, 2007
written by FallenKnight, November 16, 2007
written by jules, November 17, 2007
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