I attended the Washington Auto Show early this week for the Public Policy days where industry heads and D.C. policymakers came head-to-head to talk “cars.” While there, I got a sneak peek at the latest models (the new Mercedes-Benz E Class ranking on top of my list) and learned a lot about what manufacturers are working on to improve their products.
While I always enjoy all-things-cars, the WAS Public Policy days focused on more than the latest styling, gadgets, and in-car technologies. To offer a broad-stroke summary of what I learned, the consensus amongst industry leaders seems to be that green is more than a pathway to the future. Unfortunately, the $64 million question remains, “How do we get there?”
Over the past 3 to 5 years, there has been a great deal of talk about the next big thing in the auto industry. Enter the “green” vehicle. Manufacturers have spent millions of dollars and countless hours pondering how this trend (and if it will remain just that – a trend) will shape car buyers’ and drivers’ futures.
For those of us mulling over our next car purchase – typically the second largest transaction we make in our lives – I want to know how many of you are either a) seriously considering some sort of hybrid vehicle or are b) ONLY considering a hybrid for your next car. Fill in the poll to the right of this post to respond.
Allow me to take a cue (pun not intended – you’ll get it at the end of this sentence) from my childhood and refer to the wisest of all decision-makers – the Magic 8 Ball. (Don’t worry. My fate doesn’t actually depend on a water-filled sphere.)
Ok, so if I were to shake up the Magic 8 Ball and ask it, “Will my next car purchase be a hybrid?” the answer would probably be, “Ask again later” because I’m not 100% sold on the green theme. (GASP! I know.) However, YOUR inquiry could have resulted in the M8B responding with either a “Signs point to yes” OR “My sources say no.” I imagine that for the majority of American consumers, however, the response would be “Cannot predict now” because, well, not even the Magic 8 Ball can predict what the future of “green” vehicles will be.
The “green theme” may represent all that is fuel efficient, but what I really want to know is, “Will you go green?” Does all of this media hype actually persuade consumer choice? Can a market transformation such as the switch to electric cars truly be legislated by Congress and/or the U.S. government?
I welcome your comments and thoughts about what YOU think the future for the green car industry is. What features do you think will be most valuable in a car that runs mostly or solely on battery power? Distance, reliability, recharge time? Take the poll to the right and then leave your comments below.
Thinking about consulting your Magic 8 Ball first? No worries – I already asked M8B, “Should this reader respond via the poll and a comment?” and it responded, “It is decidedly so.”Happy participating!!