2010 North American International Auto Show Preview

The auto show season is in full swing and we’ve got a little preview from emails we received from show organizers.

Here’s an interesting one for the greenies out there:

Detroit, MI – December 18, 2009 – Media, government officials, the global auto industry and the public will see fresh exhibits highlighting “green” technology at the 2010 NAIAS. The show marks the debut of Electric Avenue presented by The Dow Chemical Company on the main show floor, a 37,000 square-foot area dedicated to showcasing the latest in electronic vehicles and technology.

“NAIAS is proud of the history we have in bringing innovative ideas to a world-wide audience, and the all-new Electric Avenue is going to show visitors from around the globe where the future of automotive technology is headed,” said Doug Fox, chairman, 2010 NAIAS. “This effort allows for more than doing what is trendy by addressing a necessary think-tank of discussion that will dictate where the global auto industry will go in 2010 and beyond. The NAIAS is proud to have a sponsor such as The Dow Chemical Company that understands the value of these efforts. Its endorsements of this activity allow the show to continue to be a thought-provoking leader to an industry with significant worldwide and economic impact.”

This new feature is set to dovetail perfectly with the returning Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) EcoXperience in Michigan Hall that will once again feature a quarter-mile track winding through a landscape designed after Michigan’s natural beauty.

Scheduled vehicles appearing in Electric Avenue include: BYD Auto e6; BYD Auto F3DM-hybrid; Commuter Cars – Tango 600; CT&T United eZone; CT&T United cZone; Edison2 (X Prize); EV Innovations – Wave 2 (X Prize); Green Vehicles Triac; Harvey Coachworks BugE; Li Shi Guang Ming LI’S; Mitsubishi I MiEV; Nissan LEAF; Saba Motors – SABA “Carbon Zero” Roadster (X Prize); SSI Racing – 2SSIC-65 (X Prize); Michelin – Venturi Volage; Michelin – Nissan Mixim; ZAP – Alias (X Prize)

Of course, this list is subject to change…

So my trepidation about all these electric vehicles is their claim that the are zero emission vehicles. The problem with that statement is the way we create electricity: mostly from BURNING coal and natural gas. And as we all should know by now, the burning of fossil fuels is where the theory of global warming gets it fuel. Therefore, I think they should not be able to call these things zero emission vehicles because form most accounts I’ve read or heard, creating enough electricity to power an electric car is just about as bad for the environment as if that car burned gasoline. The only true zero emission vehicle is those powered by people (bicycles) or powered by electricity made not form fossil fuels but from the sun, or possibly nuclear power.

I’ll get down off my soapbox now…

Here’s another interesting email form show organizers outlining more goodies in store:

Detroit, MI – December 24, 2009 – More than 40 glitzy cars and concepts, technology of the future, thousands of journalists and top governmental officials are only the front fender to the vehicle that is going to motor the world’s economy starting Jan. 11, 2010 when the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) opens its doors. While the place to learn about what the international automakers have planned for the future, the NAIAS is ready to once again be a forum on the industry for top leaders.

As proof, a series of symposiums await the world that will feature a look at the past, present and future of technologies designed to move the industry and a global economy forward.

Initial symposiums planned for Thursday, January 14 at NAIAS on the Detroit Hall Stage (main floor) include:

9:30 am – TARDEC presents “Driving Solutions – Commercial Military”

11:00 am – The Henry Ford presents “Electric Cars – Past & Future”

2:00 pm – Center for Automotive Research presents “Vehicle Electrification – From Oil to the Grid”

All, with more updates to come, are part of the aggressive “green presence” at the 2010 NAIAS. Exhibits and features providing the necessary backdrop to emerging technology trends include:

  • Electric Avenue, a 37,000 square-foot area, on the main show floor, presented by The Dow Chemical Company, is dedicated to showcasing the latest in electric vehicles and technology by both traditional automakers and innovative entrepreneurs. The all-new exhibit area will feature nearly 20 vehicles as well as symposiums and special events on an adjacent NAIAS stage.
  • The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) has returned with EcoXperience, which will once again be featured in Michigan Hall, offering a quarter-mile track through a Michigan-designed landscape, where journalists will be able to drive low emission vehicles indoors, while the public can experience the same track by taking rides during public days. The display will feature more than 200 evergreen and deciduous trees; over 600 evergreen and flowering shrubs; over 5,000 flowering tulips, daffodils and hyacinths; approximately 650,000 pounds of stone; and over 130,000 gallons of water flowing through two water features, both with waterfalls.

“To say we are ‘charged up’ about the 2010 NAIAS, isn’t just a pun based on the electric vehicle technology that will be on hand this year,” said Doug Fox, chairman, 2010 NAIAS.  “NAIAS is always about providing the insight and forum for progressive discussion on where the automotive industry is going. It provides exhibitors an opportunity to showcase what they are doing about the future and to educate and inform thousands of journalists, government leaders and the public about technologies that will be available to all of us.”

So not only is there a bevy of cool cars and technology on display at the 2010 NAIAS, but there’s symposiums, meetings, balloting and much more! It’s a veritable cornucopia of events all rolled into one!

Today’s Retro Review (which you should find to be totally opposite of eco-friendly):

2006 HUMMER H1 Alpha

Alpha Indeed

by James E. Bryson

Monsters come in all shapes and sizes. Figuratively and literally. There are the imaginary ones under the bed (they aren’t really there, right?). Then you have the cute ones recently featured in myriad animated movies.

Then there are the monsters of the road; the tractor-trailers traveling the highways of America and the land yachts of this generation, the SUV.

It was that last bit that got us going on this tangent: we got to spend a quasimodo-esque week with a more-powerful 2006 Hummer H1 Alpha wagon. And for anyone even remotely familiar with the HUMMER brand, you know that these vehicles were first conceived as a civilian-use military truck. And we can honestly say that it’s still not far off the military family tree.

“Alpha represents HUMMER performance taken to its ultimate extension,” according to HUMMER general manager Susan Docherty. “That means improving HUMMERs already-unmatched off-road capability, along with enhancements to fuel efficiency and driving comfort on the road. As the original HUMMER, the H1 is the perfect vehicle to mark the start of the Alpha series.”

Here, here!

And let us tell you that the big dog Alpha lives up to its name in every way, shape and form. It is the king of whatever road it travels, or makes as the case may be, and it commands all in its vicinity to come closer an ogle its righteousness…or maybe that was just our perception.
It seemed that everyone out in the world could do nothing but stare at the H1. A few brave souls came by and asked questions or made comments but no one commented on the gas guzzling nature of the Beast, as we eventually referred to it.

It’s just as well they didn’t, since the H1 we drove came equipped with the new-to-HUMMER-for-2006 6.6-liter Duramax turbo diesel that makes a chest-thumping 300 horsepower and foundation-rocking 520 lb.-ft. of torque, about 95 and 94 more than the previous 6.5-liter turbo diesel, respectively. We’re talking enough power to tow almost anything this side of a fifth-wheel or to pull that stubborn old stump on your back 40 out of its resting place and drag it into the pond for the fishies to enjoy.

The only drawback to the gobs of power is the fuel mileage…let’s just say that if you need to ask then maybe you shouldn’t. Or, to put it another way, the H1 doesn’t list its mileage numbers on the vehicle sticker, like any other heavy-duty truck. What we can sya about the mileage is the we got about 500 miles between both tanks…and with about 50 total gallons used, you could say the Beast got around 10 miles per gallon of diesel fuel. But that is mere conjecture and not necessarily based on any real events (names will be changed to protect the innocent!).

Inside, the Beast was decked out in fashionable (for taking over third world dictatorships) leather in a stylish two-tone treatment. We liked the feel and comfort of the driver’s seat as well; once we figured out how to get it adjusted to our dimensions. And once we got used to our left arm rubbing the door; it is that close in there.

To give you a better idea how tight the driving quarters are in an H1, there are no airbags, and if there were, they might take your head off because you practically sit on top of the steering wheel. Don’t get us wrong, though. The driving position was comfy and all controls were well at hand, especially the radio controls, which weren’t even in the same hemisphere as the front passenger…Can you say “I have the Power” over the radio?! (he he)

But then, between the seats, there is a great expanse, not unlike Siberia in its vastness. This great space in the passenger area has a lot to do with the running gear and other vehicle systems tucked high into the frame for Mt. Everest-like ground clearance.
For even better protection out on the trail, our test truck was fitted with an off-road package that included a tubular-steel ladder to protect the already hidden running gear…talk about some serious off-road attributes!

And, so as not to let you forget you’re driving a Beast of a machine, setting the parking brake was akin to curling 15 pounds; too bad it worked on just one arm.

And let us also not forget all the other nifty features a vehicle like this provides for your driving and pillaging pleasure: Of note was the cool door stays on the rear of the Beast. These handy little rubber booties accepted the male counterpart form the doors so that there were immobilized in the open position, leaving the doors out of mind for loading or unloading your gear or those spare parts your buddy needed to get his Jeep unstuck.

Another fine feature that came with the Beast was the Central Tire Inflation System. The CTIS allows the driver (since no one else can really reach the controls) to adjust, front or rear, the air pressure in the tires to maximize traction, no matter what situation you might find yourself in (see the Jeep comment above).

And now, about that price…Again, if you really need to ask, then maybe the Beast is not for you.

Our black diamond tester started at $139,771, which includes the Duramax diesel; Allison automatic; Goodyear GSAs; dual tanks; CTIS; heated front seats; Monsoon sound with six-disc changer; trailer towing package; heated windshield and mirrors; power locks/windows and keyless entry; two-speed lockable transfer case and a rearview mirror with compass, temp readout and map light.

Add to that our vehicles off road package (12,000-pound winch; front and rear electronically locking axels and 17-inch two-piece aluminum wheels) at $5,726.00, a tire upgrade for $100 and a $1,025 destination charge and you get a total as-tested price of $146,622.00. Or, something no mere mortal can hope to afford without winning the lottery.

The bottom line is, if you want people to stare and have that macho, he-man feeling, and need to haul a lot of stuff or like to fell trees, the H1 Alpha is your ride.

Today’s Car of the Day:

It’s the Fisker Karma, first shown at the 2008 NAIAS:

fisker_karma fisker_karma (2)

The Karma is a plug-in hybrid that uses a gas generator to extend its range to a reported 300 miles. The manufacturer claims 0-60 times of less than six seconds and all of this in a very luxurious cockpit that coddles its occupants.

fisker_karma (3) fisker_karma (4) 

Lead The Future indeed!

For more info, check out Fisker.com


Published by

James E. Bryson

Cars make the world go 'round!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s