Today I have the opportunity to walk the floor of the 2009 LA Auto Show as the Press Days kick-off. As always at major auto shows, I feel the continued and increasing relevancy of the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE.
The industry continues to show innovation and progress towards increased vehicle efficiency. GM kicked off the morning with an emphasis on efficiency, showing off the Chevy Volt and discussing plans to bring the Volt's first production vehicles for sale in California. In fact, Bob Lutz's morning keynote highlighted a partnership with Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to bring 100 Volts to CA in late 2010 for a real-world test fleet (for more info, check out Sebastian Blanco's post on Autoblog Green). In addition, Volkswagen showed off the World Premiere of the Up! Lite, with claims of 70 MPG/highway for the concept vehicle.
Despite these industry announcements, we still urgently need a new generation of super-efficient, desirable and affordable vehicles to reach the market more quickly than the change we see happening here. When I walk the floor of today's auto show, I'm reflecting often on the vision and amazing accomplishments to date of the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE Qualified Teams...the work the Teams are doing to prepare their vehicle entries is so important and exciting. I can't wait to see more of our entrant vehicles as the competition events near, and I am sure the competition will knock the socks off of the automotive industry and the general public!
Here are a couple of shots from this morning's announcements:
Volkswagen Up! Lite