Since California is known as a state that embraces all things ‘green’ and sustainable, then it might be expected that the LA Auto Show, held each year at the Los Angeles Convention Center, would feature plenty of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs). This year, the show didn’t disappoint.
Over nine major automakers displayed some version of an alternative fuel vehicle at the event, including Audi, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mitsubishi, and Nissan. And even more strikingly, multiple types of alternative fuel vehicles were displayedfrom fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs), to hybrids (HEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs).
As expected, alt-fuel classics like the Chevrolet Volt and the all-electric Nissan LEAF were on display at the event, but brand new vehicles were also unveiled there.
Support has been growing for fuel cell electric vehicles in the recent years. This trend is evident even within the automobile industry itself. In the past year, major automakers like BMW, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, and Toyota have all begun developing fuel cell technologies. Some automakers, like Hyundai and Honda, have pledged to bring fuel cell vehicles to the U.S. market in the next two years. Others have set their sights on the end of the decade. Either way, a growing interest in FCEVs is evident within the industry itself.
This ‘green’ trend was patently noticeable at the LA Auto Show this year. Two new FCEVs made their global debuts at the show: Hyundai’s Tucson FCV crossover and Honda’s FCEV concept car, based on the EV Fit.
The unveiling of the Tucson FCV crossover at the LA Auto Show signals an important step in Hyundai’s larger goals for hydrogen-powered vehicles like the crossover.
The automaker plans to release the Tucson to the U.S. market as early as next year, making it the third FCEV available for lease in the U.S. (Currently, the Honda FCX Clarity and the Mercedes Benz F-Cell are the only two fuel cell electric vehicles that are available for lease in the country.)1
Hyundai claims that the Tucson crossover will be the first mass-produced FCEV on the U.S. market.
Pictured above is the 2014 Hyundai Tucson FCV crossover. The vehicle will arrive in the U.S. in the spring of 2014 at select southern California dealerships. Credit: Hyundai Motor America.
Honda also introduced their FCEV Concept car at the LA Auto Show that is based on the Honda EV Fit.
“The Honda FCEV Concept hints at Honda’s future direction for fuel-cell vehicles,” said Tetsuo Iwamura, president and CEO of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “While this car is a concept, it points toward a very real future.”
Honda plans on launching the next-generation fuel cell vehicle in the U.S. and Japan in 2015. From there, the automaker will expand its market to Europe.
“The Honda FCEV Concept not only sets our direction for our next generation fuel-cell vehicle in 2015, but for future improvements in electric drive technology,” said Mike Accavitti, senior vice president of American Honda Motor Co. “The advancements we are making are substantial, meaningful and very real.”
North American Debuts and Other AFVs
Two alternative fuel vehicles also made their North American debuts at the show. Audi displayed its plug-in hybrid, the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, for the first time, and Mitsubishi debuted its North American version of the all-electric BMW i8.
Other AFVs on display at the show included Toyota’s second-generation battery-powered RAV4, Nissan’s new Murano CrossCabriolet, Land Rover’s Range Rover Evoque, and Jaguar’s C-X75 hybrid-electric concept car. The future for alternative fuel vehicles seems promising, indeed.
The show took place from November 22 to December 1, at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, CA.
1 According to Honda Motor Company, a small number of FCX Clarity vehicles are available for lease in southern California: http://automobiles.honda.com/fcx-clarity/drive-fcx-clarity.aspx. A small number of Mercedes Benz F-Cell vehicles are also available for consumers in northern and southern California, according to the company’s website: http://www.mbusadigitalmedia.com/fcellsurvey/index.aspx.