Today a couple of friends of mine from the renewable energy lab and I went to the Denver auto show, which is similar to the Chicago auto show; but smaller.
Anyway, Iíll try not to bore you with stuff on average cars that us mere mortals can afford; nor on the exotics that were present (e.g. Bentley, Aston-Martin, Ferrari, Maserati, Porsche, etc); but on a couple of things that I found of interest.
The first and most impressive to me was the Tesla model S 4-door sedan. The Tesla is an all electric car made in the former GM/Toyota joint venture factory known as NUMMI (New United Motor Manufacturing Incorporated as I recall) in the bay area of California that produced non-descript Chevy Novaís/Toyota Corollaís of the 80ís and 90ís. Now the model S is a niche market vehicle with a high price tag of about $100k per pop; but of all the pure electrics on the market it comes the closest to my criteria of a vehicle that has a 300 Ė 500 mile range and can refill (charge) in a period of time comparable to a dino fuels powered car to make all electrics viable as a replacement for traditional internal combustion engines. I loved the minimalist simplicity of the vehicle; both mechanically and interior wise. The center stack is a large 17Ē touch screen that appears from a few minutes of sitting in the car to be relatively intuitive and possibly in HD. There were few mechanical controls. Open the hood, and itís a trunk like an original Beetle or Corvair. Open the trunk and itís a trunk. All the mechanicals are out of sight. This vehicle comes the closest to the statement Mr. Spock made to Chief Engineer Scott in the original Star Trek series (Spockís brain) of warp drive engines the size of walnuts. I just wish the car had the 4-camera 360-degree view offered by Nissan/Infinity that my wifeís ~$25,000 - ~$28,000 Rogue has. Unlike most manufacturers, Tesla has company owned stores instead of franchised dealers, which the union infested states of the Midwest and east coast have heartburn with, and are trying to block Tesla from setting up shop. Also on Teslaís website I noticed they list Supercharging (aka rapid charging) stations that reminds me of Mercedes-Benz publishing a list of diesel stations for their customers at that time (circa 1970ís). At the Tesla website, Solar City is mentioned as a partner. Solar City, Tesla, and Space X were all founded by billionaire Elon Musk. I think the companyís namesake Nicola Tesla would be proud. Tesla Motors | Premium Electric Vehicles
2 or 3 years ago, we noticed that Hyundai was attempting to move up-market with their ~$70k Equus luxury 4-door sedan. Unlike Honda, Toyota, and Nissan that set up separate upscale brands (e.g. Acura, Lexus, Infiniti); Hyundai didnít create their own upscale brand name. Given how much bang-for-the-buck Hyundai was offering in the Azera sedan; I can only assume the Equus offers a similar amount of goodies that would cost over $100k from M-B, BMW, and others. https://www.hyundaiusa.com/equus/comparison.aspx
Anyway, Hyundaiís little sister company KIA (Killed-In-Action as I call it) has done the same with the K900, which is known as the K9 in the non-English speaking part of the world (canít imagine why). The floor model offered a V8 and I about **** a brick when I saw the just under ~$70k price tagÖfor a KIA! My NREL buddy used to own a Ford (KIA) Festiva, and I commented that little KIA has grown up. I still canít get over $70k for a damn KIA! 2015 Kia K900 Luxury Sedan | Challenge the Luxury You Know
Anyway, thatís my report on the 2014 Denver auto show.
p.s. Although the Denver auto show is nowhere near the European versions; there was a decent amount of 2-legged eye-candy on display.