The L.A. Auto Show was last week; and like any auto show, there was a lot to take in. Most of it, however, we can distill down to five important points.
1. The Pace of Change Is Picking Up
Mercedes has always been at the leading edge of car technology. Unusual luxury items that come in a Mercedes now will likely be options or standard on your car in five to 10 years. Mercedes pioneered everything from in-car navigation to rear-mounted cameras.
And car technology is changing so quickly that in order to keep that edge, Mercedes is actually substantially overhauling the E-class series, with everything from new materials science to new toys built into the car. In other words, technology is moving so fast in cars that even the most staid carmakers have to refresh more extensively to keep up.
2. Electric Cars Are Here To Stay
If you read the car press, at least the business side, you’re probably under the impression that electric vehicles were just a fad that, yet again, America wasn’t ready for. Sales targets have been missed and forecasts are being cut, so why expect anything to change?
Fuel emissions regulations, that’s why. Apparently many car companies see having electric, or partially electric, vehicles in their lineups as an effective method of hitting both state and federal emissions targets. The federal regulations call for a 54.5 mpg by 2025. So electric vehicles aren’t just a fad… they’re here to stay, and many suspect that the low sales are due to infrastructure problems, not consumer disinterest.
3. Car Companies Expect Diesel to Get Far More Popular
European car manufacturers have been dragging their feet about bringing their diesels to America, mainly because Americans are notoriously picky about gas prices, and diesel can be expensive.
But they’ve had a change of heart. Audi is bringing diesel options to several models and Mazda is making a diesel option available for the Mazda 6. It’s all part of hitting that 54.5-miles-per-gallon emissions touchstone: Diesels are just more fuel-efficient. More importantly, diesels can be powered on non-fossil fuels with far less conversion.
4. Car Companies Have No New Concept Cars
It’s not that there wasn’t plenty of neat technology and design on display, but as Jalopnik noted, there were also a lot of concept cars that were a bit… stale. The L.A. Auto Show featured a lot of the same cars we’ve been seeing, and frankly they’re not that impressive anymore. If you want to impress us, guys, stop showing off the concepts and start building them. It’s way more impressive to buy these things, anyway.
5. Acura Thinks There Is No Such Thing as Too Many Headlights
We’re not kidding. The Acura RLX is fairly restrained in most respects, but somebody in the company loves headlights. A lot. Because the RLX has sixteen of them.
Yes, 1-6. True, they’re LEDs, not sealed beams, but that’s still a heck of a lot of headlight for a car! Who knows… maybe their increased safety will reduce auto insurance rates.