December 10th, 2006

Los Angeles Auto Show Goes Green

Alternative fuel vehicles and advanced technology vehicles were a dominant theme at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show. The world’s leading automobile manufacturers gathered in southern California in November to investigate technologies including hybrids, hydrogen fuel cells, ethanol, biodiesel, natural gas, and low-sulfur diesel. One of the show’s highlights was the third annual Design Challenge, a competition in which automotive studios create new, environmentally friendly concept vehicles.

The 2006 Design Challenge featured nine entries, inventively named the

  • Acura FCX 2020 Le Mans
  • Audi Dynamic Space Frame
  • Honda Extreme
  • Hummer O2
  • Kia Sandstorm
  • Mercedes-Benz RECY
  • MINI BioMoke
  • Toyota RLV
  • Volkswagen Nanospyder.

Based on originality, environmental contribution, safety, and embodiment of a “green” lifestyle, the Hummer O2 was declared the winner. This fuel cell-powered concept vehicle included body panels filled with algae. Through photosynthesis, the algae panels transform carbon dioxide into oxygen, which is environmentally safe. When parked, the Hummer’s body panels would fold up toward the sky in order to capture sunlight.

The Hummer O2

The Hummer O2, winner of the 2006 LA Auto Show’s Design Challenge. Credit:

In addition to the design competition, automakers used the show as an opportunity to emphasize their commitment to alternative fuel technology. General Motors Chairman Rick Wagoner announced plans to make electric vehicles the company’s top priority and stated that fuel cell- and E85-powered vehicles are a part of the automaker’s plan to cut dependence on foreign oil. Also at the show, Honda displayed its FCX fuel-cell concept car, and Nissan unveiled the 2008 Altima. In addition, BMW showcased its Hydrogen 7, the first production vehicle powered by hydrogen which operates using an internal combustion engine fueled by hydrogen or gasoline.

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