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As always, I enjoyed the 2012 North American International Auto Show. It's getting so normal to see production ready EV content from most manufacturers that it's not even really worth mentioning anymore. Contrast that with even 5 years ago when it was all pie-in-the-sky hydrogen this and hydrogen that. And what may be even better is that the public reception of EVs has changed drastically. Partly likely due to manufacturers showing production ready cars instead of rolling science experiments with ridiculous features. Gotta' stop by the local Nissan dealership to try out a Leaf, the Mitsubishi lot next door to drive a iMiEV and the Chevy dealer down the road to see about a Volt. Sad to say that the Volt seems to be the most polished and well thought out "EV" (it's really a pluggable hybrid) of all the new releases. And it should be, for $50,000! But it's battery pack is too small for anything but short in town runs, and when running on the gas engine it's fuel economy has half of my 2000 Insight. So I don't see it being much competition for the upcoming plugin Prius.
Probably the most stunning visual for me at the show was the Camaro Hot Wheels Concept. I admit I'm a sucker for luminescent greens, so to see this thing glowing across the hall was an experience. The colour is created by candy coating an underlying chrome plating. The work to plate the entire body and then lay that candy down perfectly must have been staggering. Over at Ford, I found the silly side-pipe imitation noise makers on the 2013 Boss 302 frankly hilarious. I'm not sure what's worse...those things or the fact that Ford runs a pipe from the airbox into the cabin so the occupants can hear the engine noise. They make a truly nice car (the latest Mustangs) and then go and do this? And while I'm on the topic of automotive stupidity, I can't finish without mentioning the 2012 Honda NSX concept. No Honda, just please no. If you are going to call something the "NSX", it should at least have something, just one little thing, in common with the original. Maybe I'm just bitter at Honda because of what they did to the Insight.
Relatively few visitors do (considering the number of people the show sees) but I always wander over to the Denso exhibit. A lot of what's shown there are the components that make up current and future vehicles, and some surprising innovations can be found that few people are even aware of. Maybe I'm weird because I'm excited by a slightly improved O2 sensor. I'm OK with that.
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