Report from the District: Washington Auto Show

By Jesse Sokolow on 24 January 2014
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Some Green Car Award winners

Porsche and Audi were two of the Green Car Award winners

The Washington Auto Show dates back to 1921, when a group of local car dealers and distributors organized an exhibition to make the public more aware of the virtues of the increasingly popular automobile.  Since then, the event has grown into a showcase of entertainment, interactive displays, demonstrations on upcoming technology, and of course – cars.  Despite a foot of snow that kept many journalists at bay, we were there to take a look at some of the new cars and announcements from the nation’s capitol auto show.

Ford announced new projects and studies for the upcoming year, including a partnership with MIT and Stanford to conduct research focused on advancing automated driving.

Meanwhile, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced that there would be $50 million in funding for fuel-efficient vehicles.  The funding supplements the Department of Energy’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge, a program that launched in March 2012, with the intent of making plug-in electric vehicles more affordable and convenient in the next decade.

Joining the environmental chorus, Toyota discussed its accelerated goals for fuel-cell technology in it vehicles over the next two years.

Nissan and FedEx took the stage to discuss their plan for zero-emission deliveries.  FedEx will begin testing Nissan’s electric vehicle, the e-NV200, in Washington D.C.  The electric cargo van is based on the NV200, a traditionally powered vehicle that made its debut at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show.

In addition to the news and announcements, a small number of awards were also presented to automakers.  The Cadillac ELR received the Green Car Journal’s 2014 Green Car Technology Award, most notably for its Regen on Demand technology, a new way to generate electricity from braking at the will of the driver.  Hendrick Automotive Group founder Rick Hendrick received the Keith Crain/Automotive News Lifetime Achievement Award.  In the past 19 years, Hendrick Motorsports has won 11 NASCAR titles.

Meanwhile, it was announced that the 1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe will become the first automobile to be recorded under the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Heritage Documentation.  The documentation will be permanently archived in the Library of Congress.

The Washington Auto Show opened to the public on Thursday, January 23, and will remain open through February 2.  Over 700 vehicles from more than 40 manufacturers will be showcased.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)