LA Auto Show: 4 Green Cars to Watch, and One Absentee
The 2015 Los Angeles International Auto Show is right around the corner, kicking off the domestic major auto show season. It is a chance for folks in the LA area to see the latest debuts from automakers. There will be vehicles that have debuted abroad making their American premiere, and there will be outright international unveilings. It is an exciting time for car fans. With the recent scandal involving Volkswagen and its diesel engines, many who watch green technologies are looking back to electric vehicles, hybrids, and other alt-fuel cars to see where they can fill the void. Check out the latest green cars debuting in LA and you can decide for yourself. BMW 330e
Take all the fun-to-drive characteristics of the BMW 3 Series, and toss in a hybrid drivetrain and you have the BMW 330e. The drivetrain combines a 184-horsepower gas engine with an 88-hp electric motor to put out a combined 252 horsepower. The 330e can travel 25 miles on electric-only power, and when it has to kick in the gas engine, it can travel a total of 373 miles on a single tank. No word yet on price, but you can expect the car to arrive in dealers by spring of next year.
RELATED: See images of the BMW 3 Series ActiveHybrid
BMW Fuel Cell Car
BMW has officially announced the 330e, but things have been a bit more murky for the vehicle you see directly above. This rather odd looking vehicle is said to be BMW’s newest fuel cell car, and the information was obtained from leaked Chinese patent office documents. Rumors have swirled that it is either a hydrogen fuel cell car, or has a small-displacement gas engine mated to a hybrid drivetrain. Jalopnik has even reported that the vehicle may get as many as 706 miles per gallon. Whatever the drivetrain, and whatever the actual fuel economy, you can expect it to fall under BMW’s “i” brand, with the i3 and i8.
RELATED: See Six Sports Cars Coming to the LA Auto Show
You may have heard of the Honda FCX Clarity, and even the emergence of hydrogen as a potential automotive fuel source. Well the forthcoming Honda Clarity could be one of the realest examples of a mass-market hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. Hydrogen vehicles are basically hybrids, but with the gas engine swapped out. The only byproduct is water, and what makes the LA auto show an important place for it is that California is one of the few places in the country with a truly growing hydrogen infrastructure. Now, if you could only get over that look.
RELATED: See more images of the Honda FCX Clarity
Speaking of cars becoming a reality, Elio Motors is a company has been showing off concepts for a while, we’ve been waiting for the real thing to arrive. If reports are to believed, such a production vehicle, dubbed the D5, is slated to arrive at LA. Elio claims the $6,800 commuter car will have a 0.9-liter three-cylinder engine that makes a scant 55 horsepower, but returns a claimed 84 miles per gallon. We’ll have to see if this three-wheeled car is the real thing, or just another pretender.
RELATED: See more images of the 2014 Elio
Diesels (or, Lack Thereof)
It is worth noting one particular type of drivetrain, not for its presence at LA, but for the fact of its absence. The Green Car of the Year will be announced, and notably not present among the finalists are any form of diesel engine. In the past, the Volkswagen TID Diesel engine has been a finalists and has even won in years past. Following the Volkswagen diesel scandal, diesel engines are nowhere to be found among the Green Car finalists, and (save for trucks and commercial vehicles), we’d be very surprised to find any passenger cars with diesel engines on display at the LA Convention center next week!