A series of other thoughts about NAIAS 2018

January 19, 2018 by  
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Let’s start out with my in-the-moment string of notes during the Press Preview at this year’s NAIAS (Detroit Auto Show). This covers the main ideas about this year’s program at the time. I’ll add a few more comments and expanded thoughts at the end. Not sure if it’s an actual color trend, but there’s a lot of orange at this year’s #NAIAS #NAIAS2018 Attendance seems down and space more open at #NAIAS2018. Things just seem off this year. First thought it was decline of auto industry. There’s been gap-filling of various kinds over the last few years, suppliers and related fields, but not the vacant corridors this year. The concept of automotive ownership may be starting to decline, but it’s not to that level yet. More media info is being released directly from the companies’ media sites directly – cheaper and easier than preparing press kits. The political environment can’t help. I don’t have #NAIAS info, but my personal impression is that foreign journalist turnout seems low. Even the “rides” are empty. Maybe journalists are all jaded, and these will fill during the public show. But lotsa folks standing around. There’s a hominess to a number of the displays. Wood flooring, even on the turntables. And a giant cozy shadowbox wall display. Maybe fewer booth babes (of the stand next to the car on the turntable variety) at #NAIAS2018 Don’t know about public show in comparison. Pretty sure this display was also at #naias2017 so there’s some recycling going on, even if -green- is no longer part of the program. Again, I don’t have specific numbers, but there seem to be fewer cars per display. There’s a subduedness, even in all the flash &bombast Outrageous seems to be the antithesis of #NAIAS2018 There’s too much of it in the world already, and adding to it won’t go far. They get it. Not sure if #NAIAS is relevant to @ecogeek anymore. Transport is an important element in a greener world, but carmakers have moved on. It wasn’t the first thing that occurred to me, but gradually, I had the growing sense that this was not nearly as full of a show as previous years.  There are several things that could be causing that, and it’s likely some combination of all of those factors.  (And I could be completely wrong, the numbers might be different, but it’s my sense of what I observed this year.)  I’m fairly certain that foreign coverage was down from previous years.  The increased travel difficulties (getting a visa at all, let alone a working visa) mean fewer reporters.  A few years ago, I recall the big, welcoming banner in the giant media room with flags of many nationalities.  In 2011, I wrote elsewhere : “The polyglot nature of the show is reinforced both by the numbers of national flags hanging from the ceiling overhead as well as the languages one overhears walking through the room.”  There was none of that in 2018. The cost of travel could be another factor.  With the big automakers increasingly running their own media, the handouts and press kits are in decline.  Now, all a writer needs to do to get lots of press releases and images is go to the media website of the company (media.carcompany.com or some such) and download all the information they need.  No travel and dealing with Michigan winter required. Could it be that ownership of automobiles is beginning to decline, and with it a waning interest in cars in general?  I’m not sure that we are quite at that point yet, but there could be an overall fading of interest in cars, and a matching reduction in the amount of coverage that media outlets are willing to provide for it.  Even the local TV and radio stations, that have had a notable presence at recent years’ shows were less present this year. There were cars to be seen, of course, but very much a less compelling show, especially for an EcoGeek.  Sure, there are still electric vehicles as part of the mix, and some ongoing forward steps from a couple of the companies that seem to be doing some things toward being greener.  But, at the end of the day, not a strong show, and not one with much in the way of green news at all.

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A series of other thoughts about NAIAS 2018

Still Plugging Electric Cars at NAIAS 2016

January 13, 2016 by  
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Nobody is trying to save the planet with green cars anymore. The days of green cars being featured at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) seem to be over.  Gone are the days of rainforest themes and bamboo floors and ostentatiously placed recycling bins.  But we’ve been reporting that for the past few years . We’ve continued to note the decrease in emphasis on the importance of fuel economy, resource conservation, emissions reduction, and similar features that make a car “green.”  Green is now passe.  Or green has become mainstream.  It’s probably a bit of both. This is not to say that everything has gone back to the way it was.  Regulations for fuel economy have pushed things to where a small, chunky SUV had the kind of unheralded fuel efficiency that would’ve been one of the selling points for a small sedan a few years earlier.  So, in that sense, the entire industry has gotten greener.  But it’s gotten rolled into the ordinary business of selling cars. The one thing which is a green car element that was repeated across many manufacturers’ displays this year was the electric vehicle charging station.  Rather than being surrounded by a special display drawing attention to the “green” car, in most instances, the rechargeable vehicles were identified primarily by having that company’s power unit standing beside it (often with the unit plugged in to show the connection).  Audi, BMW, Nissan, and Porsche are among those with this kind of display.  Having a matching branded charging station in one’s own garage is one thing, but the interoperability of different chargers needs to be assured for the uptake of electric vehicles to continue to grow. Instead of everyone trying to establish their green credibility, this year the feature that most manufacturers seem to want you to covet is having the ability to connect your phone and your car.  Rather than embedding complicated systems into the vehicle itself, they are instead taking advantage of the nimbler technology of the smartphone, and making it easier to pair that with your new vehicle. The other thing that was striking to a long-time auto show attendee was the number of shifts in space between different manufacturers.  While some companies’ presence was in the same part of Cobo Hall where they have been in previous years, there were moves among several companies major companies with their displays in very different places from where they had been for the last few years.  Does being in a different place mean anything significant?  Maybe not.  But at the same time, it seems emblematic of a shift in the landscape. Tesla, which had been the brash upstart at the show a few years ago and maintained a presence for several years, was not a part of this year’s show at all.  More surprisingly, Toyota’s presence was reduced to a small counter with just two people standing behind it, although sub-brands Scion and Lexus had a presence, and they evidently had a bit more to reveal during the continuation of the show on Tuesday. Luxury brands seemed to be a bigger presence than in the past.  Both Cadillac and Lincoln displays were disconnected from the rest of their respective parent companies, and were across from one another in about the space around where Tesla had been in past years.  A “luxury lifestyle” magazine (with a handful of high-end cars in their display) had a space easily as large as some of the less mainstream exhibits from previous years, such as VIA, or BYD, or last year’s car printing 3D printer.  There seemed to be a new emphasis on exclusivity, while also an overall reduction in the size of the footprint than in previous shows.  While last year there were many technological displays on the lower level, this year it was just the US Army (also present on the lower level last year) and the automotive design program of Lawrence Technological University. But the number of companies with more than one electric or hybrid vehicle seems like this year’s notable trend.  BMW, for one example, has three different vehicles (i8, i3, and 330e), all for different market segments, with plug-in capability.  That, as much as anything, seems to be the green trend to watch for the next couple of years.

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Still Plugging Electric Cars at NAIAS 2016

7 hot new green cars just unveiled at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show

January 12, 2016 by  
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Breezy rooftop stable made with repurposed railway sleepers tops sublime Mexico home

January 12, 2016 by  
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The Lexus LF-FC is a liquid metal future machine powered by hydrogen

January 11, 2016 by  
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No automaker is pushing hydrogen cars harder than Toyota – and the company’s luxury offshoot just unveiled the fuel cell vehicle of the future. The Lexus LF-FC concept features opalescent curves, an all-wheel drive fuel cell power system, and a holographic interface that lets you control the car with a wave of your hand. Read the rest of The Lexus LF-FC is a liquid metal future machine powered by hydrogen

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Mysterious metal “space balls” found in Vietnam turned out to be space junk

January 11, 2016 by  
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After hearing what they thought was thunder, some Vietnam residents discovered three mysterious metal orbs ranging in size from just 9 ounces to 99 pounds. The spheres reportedly fell from the sky and two of them landed in residential neighborhoods, causing locals to run in fear. Government officials say they believe the strange round objects are actually space debris , and local residents can rest easy knowing the orbs are no longer dangerous to them. Read the rest of Mysterious metal “space balls” found in Vietnam turned out to be space junk

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The new 2017 Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid is sharper, sportier, and packed with tech

January 11, 2016 by  
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Chrysler unveils world’s first plug-in hybrid minivan

January 11, 2016 by  
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2016 BMW 330e plug-in hybrid can travel up to 22 miles in EV mode

January 11, 2016 by  
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Just like Audi and Volvo, BMW intends to electrify most of its mainstream models. Buyers can already purchase the X5 plug-in hybrid, and starting this spring, BMW plans to introduce a 3-Series plug-in hybrid called the 330e. The 330e will ease buyers into the electric lifestyle with a 22-mile electric-only driving range, while an efficient four-cylinder will keep them going for a total driving range of 373 miles. Read the rest of 2016 BMW 330e plug-in hybrid can travel up to 22 miles in EV mode

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2016 BMW 330e plug-in hybrid can travel up to 22 miles in EV mode

Audi Unveils Allroad Shooting Brake Hybrid at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show

January 13, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Audi Unveils Allroad Shooting Brake Hybrid at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “solar energy” , 2014 detroit auto show , AUDI , Audi Allroad Shooting Brake , audi hybrid concept car , automotive , Car Design , detroit auto show , eco car , electric car , electric vehicle , ev , green cars , green technology , green transportation , hybrid , hybrid car , NAIAS , NAIAS 2014 , north american international auto show , renewable energy , solar powered car , sustainable transportation        

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Audi Unveils Allroad Shooting Brake Hybrid at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show

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