At the recent 2014 LA Auto Show all sorts of new fuel efficiency ideas were on display. If any of these ideas goes mainstream, the future cars we buy will be a LOT different. Here are the latest trends.
Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Vehicles
Sitting on display at the front of Toyota’s booth is one of the most talked about cars of the year – the Toyota Mirai. Why is it getting so much attention? The car eschews gasoline in favor of hydrogen.
After decades of working on it, Toyota is moving forward with the Mirai with real plans to offer the hydrogen-powered car to the masses. Currently, Toyota plans to sell roughly 3,000 models by the end of 2017 with the first ones hitting the market in early 2016.
Toyota is currently working on helping to develop the critical infrastructure to make this car feasible. This is the key reason behind the low sales projections. Toyota is betting long-term hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles will catch on.
While Toyota has a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle ready to hit the market soon, VW unveiled its own Hymotion hydrogen concept vehicle at the show. The VW Hymotion is basically a Golf with a hydrogen fuel cell.
VW doesn’t seem to as sold on hydrogen as Toyota. Their concept vehicle isn’t going to be offered to the public until the infrastructure is built out according to VW.
If/when the infrastructure gets built out, VW says they are ready to “flip a switch” and begin offering fuel cell vehicles.
Luxury Plug-In Hybrids
Another big trend from the 2014 LA Auto Show is luxury plug-in hybrids. All luxury makers seem to be getting on board with plug-in hybrids and their marketing is starting to show it.
For example, Porsche was touting the fact they have more luxury plug-in hybrids than any other maker. While the cameras may be on the new 911, Porsche is quickly becoming an automaker with lots of powertrain choices.
Not to be out done, BMW announced a week after the show, they will have three new luxury plug-in hybrids hitting the market soon.
While luxury plug-in hybrids may not be in everyone’s budget range, the reduction in fuel costs will make them more feasible for many buyers. Also, the used car market is sure to boom with lower entry costs and better fuel economy.
Variety of Alternative Fuel Sources
One of the big fuel efficiency trends going forward is going to be choices. For example, with VW’s Hymotion vehicle, buyers will be presented with more choices than ever before. Looking at just the VW Golf, buyers may have several powertrains to choose from including: standard V6 gasoline, turbo-charged gasoline, diesel, hybrid, electric and hydrogen fuel cell powered.
This will ultimately make things a little more interesting for used car buyers. In the past, when gasoline engines dominated the market, picking out a powertrain wasn’t an option. That world is about to radically change with a plethora of options.