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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, I’ll 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 Nova’s/Toyota Corolla’s of the 80’s and 90’s. 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 – 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 17” 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 it’s a trunk like an original Beetle or Corvair. Open the trunk and it’s 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 (Spock’s 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 wife’s ~$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 Tesla’s 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 1970’s). 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 company’s 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 didn’t 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, Hyundai’s 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 (can’t imagine why). The floor model offered a V8 and I about **** a brick when I saw the just under ~$70k price tag…for a KIA! My NREL buddy used to own a Ford (KIA) Festiva, and I commented that little KIA has grown up. I still can’t get over $70k for a damn KIA! 2015 Kia K900 Luxury Sedan | Challenge the Luxury You Know

Anyway, that’s 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. :fed:
 

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Thanks for the reviews! I don't really look much at Kias, but Hyundai has impressed me. My sister has one (I don't know the model) and they are definitely excellent values.
 

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I remember the original mid 80's POS Hyundai Excel's; but they have really cleaned up their act since then. Over the past few years the Hyundai Azera has offered a lot of bang for the buck. For some reason they don't advertise that model much. If they made a coupe version of the Azera I'd get interested. The Genesis coupe seems lacking in equipment that is offered in the sedan version.

I guess Hyundai wants its sister company KIA to go upmarket too. Maybe they are bracing themselves against the eventual onslaught of cheap POS Chinese cars that will eventually hit the North American market.

As I keep telling my buddy at the renewable energy lab that for all electric cars to become mainstream they need a 300 - 500 mile range regardless of weather, and a recharge rate comparable to dino powered vehicles refueling times. The Tesla comes the closest. I also like Elon Musk's entrepreneurial spirit.
 

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If you've never seen a Tesla up close they are quite a striking car to look at. A co worker of mine owns one and drew a crowd in the parking lot when he drove it to work the first time. Very sharp looking car, not like anything else on the road but not over the top different. A few of the detail
bits I picked up on the car-- it has ten total moving parts, instant acceleration from the electric motors and my favorite, the car has it's own web IP address. We joked with the owner about him not being able to drive to work cuz his car had caught a computer virus. He had to get the car from Chicago and was on
a wait list for a few years.


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