Editor’s note: The Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson is attending the Los Angeles Auto Show this week. Here is his first dispatch.
In an interview earlier today, Britta Gross, General Motors’ manager of Hydrogen and Electrical Infrastructure Development talks about working with electric utilities to prepare for the widescale deployment of the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt. As she and the other managers of the Volt project discuss the next-generation vehicle they plan to put into production in 2010, GM’s CEO Rick Wagoner flew down to Washington, D.C. to plead for a bailout for his teetering company.
The mood at the auto show is subdued and uncertain, with mixed messages of machismo, affordability, and environmental responsibility. How the industry handles the great challenges of today will determine its future. As Gross said, “These are tough times for automakers, but a very exciting time.”