The LA Auto Show was the natural place for automakers to reveal their new green cars to the public for the first time.
California is leading the charge for the new technology, with sizeable investments from municipalities, government agencies, and the companies building the cars. If a sustainable hydrogen economy is going to materialise in the US, it will be in California.
That said, Toyota was alone in debuting a production-ready fuel cell car – the Mirai – after Honda made a late decision to delay the launch of its rival sedan. With the Mirai, Californians now have a choice of two hydrogen-fueled cars, the other being Hyundai modified Tucson. Deliveries, however, won’t start until the end of next year.
Following in Toyota’s zero-emission footsteps was Volkswagen, which revealed a converted Golf. The ‘HyMotion‘ has a similar range to the Mirai, at just over 300 miles, but no plans for production have been announced.
Volkswagen’s sister-brand Audi had a new take on hydrogen power, showing a plug-in hybrid A7 prototype that mated a battery-electric powertrain with fuel cells. The technology is perhaps the best compromise for travelling long distances without harmful emissions, as owners can charge up at their homes if a hydrogen station is inconvenient to reach. A new mild-hybrid concept also pointed towards a new A9 Hybrid sedan.