The best time to catch this show is on it’s opening day – today. It wasn’t anywhere as packed at it will be this weekend. For me this meant I could walk the showroom floor fairly leisurely, take my time to check out the coming year’s models and chat with the various representatives about their new models.
I felt the overall energy or theme (if there was one) this year was one more of refinements, enhancements, and low key releases of new tech. Most new models seemed to be more evolutionary than revolutionary. There’s nothing wrong about that. I think it’s a good thing actually. What this meant was that almost every automaker had a better, improved product offering overall. I was hard pressed to find a vehicle with poor build, fit or finish. The designs all held their own. Quality was decent to very high throughout. I couldn’t help but think to myself “how traditional mainstream automakers have come a long way”.
Some of the latest alternative fuel vehicles on display included the Toyota FCV – a car I often wonder what it really accomplishes, considering Hydrogen is still a very expensive fuel, cumbersome to store, FCV power trains are about as complicated as internal combustion power trains but most mind boggling of all, the fact that most Hydrogen is derived yet again from fossil fuels. “At present, 95 percent of America’s hydrogen is produced from natural gas. Through a process called steam methane reformation, high temperature and pressure break the hydrocarbon into hydrogen and carbon oxides — including carbon dioxide, which is released into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas.” [Popular Mechanics]. So it really doesn’t address the bigger problem. It will be interesting to see if this goes anywhere or it ends up being just another road show for the automotive industry lobby in the capital, not unlike the rest of the vehicles at the California Fuel Cell Partnership over the last couple decades.
Cadillac ELR EV caught my eye. Great design and style. This is a vehicle I will have to research further. Overall Cadillac put on a good showing as always. There were a few Teslas on display as well. Almost every major automaker had some kind of Hybrid on display. The Polaris Slingshot was also a very interesting piece. I would like to test drive one for sure.
I also got to check out an Aston Martin Rapide for the first time. Rick the representative from Aston Martin Walnut Creek was gracious enough to let me take a closer look at this piece of exquisite art on wheels. Below are what I considered the highlights from the show. I hope you enjoy them and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.