Digital News Report – The North American International Auto Show is making the headlines, but maybe for something you wouldn’t expect. After a year of economic malaise, the auto industry was saved by the Cash For Clunkers program and bailouts from former President Bush.
This year public officials are walking the show. Besides featured technologies like lightweight advanced steel in the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Transit, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis are making the rounds.
After spending $80 to bailout the businesses, government officials have taken a special interest in the automotive industry. “We’ve seen ideas turned into policy turned into product,” Pelosi told reporters.
After receiving $50 billion in bailouts, General Motors is trying to rebuild their image. According to Dow Jones, they have already paid off $6.7 billion in loans. The company says the government will make a lot of money off of those loans.
The future is hybrids and then possibly all electric cars, according to industry experts. Toyota is perusing this avenue and the company expects hybrids to become the norm. Today Toyota unveiled their newest addition, the FT-CH dedicated hybrid concept. They plan on introducing plug-in hybrids (PHVs) and battery electrics (BEVs) in model year 2012. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCHVs) may hit the global markets in 2015.
New this year is the “Electric Avenue” showcase. This is a 37,000 square-foot area presented by The Dow Chemical Company, and dedicated to showcasing the latest in electric vehicles and technology. There are nearly 20 vehicles on display there.
By: Tina Brown