Tai Robinson Reports from
2004 LA Auto Show

January 2 -11, 2004

The GM Hy-Wire

Saturday 10, 2004 - Today amongst a huge public turn out for the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show was a protest staged by Global Exchange outside on Figuero Street to honor the OEM's with awards for achievements such as worst MPG, most hated vehicle, most squandered resources, etc... There were over 100 protesters with signs, flyers and chants. As well a string of Prius', Insights, civic hybrids, and Rav 4 EV's paraded around the block. Every time a Hummer drove by on the street it was greeted with loud heckles and boos. There was also support from both the Spanish and English speaking bus riders of the LA Metro.

While outside was under control, trouble broke out inside the show. It was reported that two protesters mounted the top of a Hummer in the GM display area of the South Hall and began to jump about and try to inflict damage while shooting and making a scene. These two unidentified individuals were reportedly apprehended by show security and escorted to the LA City Police who were also in strong attendance to manage the pedestrian crowds and vehicle traffic.

Upon my personal investigation of the damage to the Show Hummers I could find no dents or serious destruction. I did get another lead from a member of show security that they thought the vehicle to sustain abuse was the blue Cadillac Escalade EXT. After inspecting that vehicle I found that it may have been handled a little ruff today. All the truck bed covers had been removed along with the rear midgate window and cargo cover.

There were quite a few scuff marks in the bed and to the top of the bed
rails, but no dents in the roof. Overall the event was not too disruptive and
show attendees continued about with their own barrage on the displayed vehicles swiping anything that was not bolted down including floor mats, ashtrays, dome lights and control knobs from the interiors of just about every manufacturers automobiles.

January 9, 2004
- The Diesel/Electric Mercedes debuted in Detroit and we are not going to get to see one here in L.A. It is based on the E-series sedan and will only be available in Germany according to Daimler-Chrysler personnel. Mercedes is
putting their turbo diesel motor in the Dodge 3500 cargo delivery van, but this is
not going to be the hybrid as earlier sources pointed too.

The F-cell from Mercedes is going into evaluation mode here in Sacramento at the California Fuel Cell Partnership this April. It is reported that this vehicle gets 90 - 100 miles per full tank of fuel and it holds 4 kilos of hydrogen. This is the concept vehicle that one both special awards at the Michelin Challenge Bibendum, one for design and one for engineering. Both of these same awards in the production class went to the Prius.

Today the handlers of the GM Hy-wire upped the performance figures of their
vehicle. It is now reported to go 600 miles on the 3 kilos of hydrogen it
stores on board and its top speed has been increased to 100 m.p.h. After
personally driving the vehicle at the Challenge Bibendum I know both of these figures to be untrue. Even in ten years when GM expects 2% of their vehicle sales to be fuel cell powered an efficiency of 200 miles per kilo is not likely to be
obtained, especially in a heavy car that has very high electrical demand for
the passenger compartment.

Honda has decided not to bring the Kiwami to the show, but did unveil their
2005 model year Accord hybrid and four door truck based on the Pilot in Detroit
the other day. Unfortunately we will not get to see either of these vehicles
in L.A. Expect these vehicles to be an early release, available this fall at
a dealer near you.

I got to take a sneak peak at what Subaru has been working on. A pure
electric car and a gas/electric hybrid roadster. These concept vehicles look hot
and could bring a much needed "green" car presence to the companies lineup.

Yesterday two people got arrested after climbing to the top of Magic Johnson's new building across Figuroa Street from the entrance to the Convention
Center. They displayed a huge banner on the building that said "shame on Ford for helping support the addiction to foreign fossil fuels." Tomorrow, Saturday
the 10th of January there is expected to be a large turn out of hostile
protesters in front of the convention center.

The group is expected to be comprised of city bus riders and hybrid vehicle drivers. I would so much rather see positive use of energy and have these people accept their own personal responsibility to take care of what we got. They themselves need to make the cut from finite resources and switch to renewable fuels and sustainable transportation. It no longer matters what vehicle you drive. What is important is the fuel you chose to run it on. With the introduction of the HydrogenHummer people can now have their SUV and be proud to drive it too.

January 8, 2004 - The Honda Kiwami is the best fuel cell car out there. The word means the best, or primo.  It was debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show and is coming here. The Lexus RX 330 luxury hybrid is debuting in Detroit on the 4th but will be here the 6th.

This is a low res camera on my cel phone with no flash so the lighting is real bad downstairs for the scooters and OKA. The pretty girl was signing her picture on a poster of other girls around a formula car, or champ car, whatever races at Long Beach. Will have to go visit booth again to find out more.

Not yet an EV or HEV, but innovating great new marketing strategies, the Scion booth is right next to us and the kids bring their parents to show 'em these cars that they like. The Scion is only available in CA for now and the kids love 'em. The parents are like "yeah, right" and then they ask how much? $17,000 with 30 miles to the gallon. Then the parents are hooked and very interested.

The online ordering and building your own Scion is very popular with the kids. They get to build their dream, see what it would look like and then order it. The whole approach is definitely geared to the kids just about to get a drivers license and it is working.

The kids like this one. All suede interior, wide body kit, carbon hood and
roof, air suspension for lowering, yellow tinted windows, serious engine
upgrades, pumping sound system and owned by a DJ.

They are going to have to sell these all over the country soon. Scion has a little game online just about to start. You start a string of pictures you take of Scions and keep adding digital pictures to see how many different, unique digital pics you can get. Friends and other people can join your string or start their own. There are prizes for the longest strings. I already have a dozen or so to start my string with!

Governator Visits OKA Booth

Front to back, the Honda FCX, Insight,
Civic IMA Hybrid and Civic GX (natural gas)

H2 Hummer, Green Hummer & H2TOY

$85.000 Tango
0 to 60 in 4 seconds!!!
Remember the