Los Angeles Auto Show
The Los Angeles Autoshow is known for being one of the premier auto shows in North America, showcasing the latest and greatest innovations in the automotive industry. It has a long history dating back to 1907. The LA Autoshow is mainly known for showcasing cutting-edge technology and environmentally friendly vehicles, such as electric cars, hybrid vehicles, and alternative fuel vehicles. Many significant automakers use the LA Autoshow to unveil their latest models and concept cars to the public. Additionally, the show features a variety of outdoor and indoor driving exhibits, interactive displays, and special events, making it a popular attraction for car enthusiasts and industry professionals alike.
Figure: Autonomous for downtown LA, boosting VW with a reborn Bulli & Scout brand
From LA Confidential* to LA Autonomous?
The LA Autoshow 2022 showcased numerous innovations that continue to evolve automotive into a more significant mobility sector, for example:
- Long seen as a trendsetting market California, home of Silicon Valley in the North and Los Angeles with Hollywood as the world's entertainment capital in the South, continues to lead the evolution of automotive into a more significant mobility sector. The LA Autoshow underlines how California is a trendsetter in autonomous driving, electrification, and mobility services. A 2022 government statistics show that California, with 10 percent of the nation's cars, now accounts for over 40 percent of all zero-emission cars in the US (State of CA 2022). California's 1 million electric vehicles sold surpasses the total sales in the following ten states combined, seven times more than the next closest state.
- Motional arrived in LA with its all-electric Hyundai Ioniq 5 robotaxi. This is the first time a robotaxi is on display at the show, and it will offer many consumers their first look at a fully autonomous vehicle. Motional is an American independent vehicle company founded in March 2020 as a joint venture between automaker Hyundai Motor Group and auto supplier Aptiv. At the show, Motional and Lyft announced the planned launch of a fully driverless ride-hail service in Los Angeles. The LA service will use Motional's Ioniq 5-based robotaxis and will be the first time that residents in Los Angeles can request an autonomous vehicle (AV) in the Lyft app (link).
- Waymo, a Google company operating the world's first autonomous taxi service in Arizona, is preparing for its first beachhead in Los Angeles (Waymo to test driverless rides with employees in Los Angeles, link). Arizona is the second most populous city in the most populous county in the US. At the show, Waymo revealed a prototype for an all-electric, driverless robotaxi developed along with Geely Auto Group. The vehicle is called the Zeekr M-Vision and is based on the SEA-M platform, a development of Geely's Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA) for autonomous vehicles (link).
- Volkswagen is trying to return to its California success story more than half a century ago with two revivals: (1) a new VW Bus and (2) a newly revived Scout brand. The new Bus is called " Buzz" and is considered a successor to the iconic Volkswagen Type 2 in the 1960s. This time it is an all-battery electric minivan. The two vehicles on display are European production models. The US versions will be longer to allow for a third row. The other revival is an entire brand. Instead of entering the highly competitive full-sized truck and SUV segment under the Volkswagen brand, the company is reviving the Scout brand, which it acquired with its purchase of Navistar trucks (Boston 2022). Scout is an American automotive marque named after the off-road vehicle International Harvester Scout, produced in the 1960s until 1980. Scout will launch with an all-electric truck and SUV built in the US.
* LA Confidential is a 1997 American crime film with actors Guy Pearce and Academy Award winner Russel Crowe based on James Ellroy's 1990 novel about the intersection of police corruption and Hollywood celebrity (IMDb, link). The movie was a critical and commercial success with a gross of $126 million against a $35 million budget and a Rotten Tomato score of 99% (Rotten Tomatoes, link).
Boston, W. 2022. Volkswagen Is Bringing Back the Scout, the SUV Pioneer, as an EV - Move is part of VW's effort to boost its US presence. The Wall Street Journal (2022-05-10), link
State of California. 2022. California Leads the Nation's ZEV Market, Surpassing 1 Million Electric Vehicles Sold. Office of Governor Gavin Newsom (2022-02-25), link