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Thread: LA Auto Show: M. Eberhard, C. Paine, D. Siry, Bob Lutz/GM, et al

  1. #1
    Member chimpanzee's Avatar
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    LA Auto Show: M. Eberhard, C. Paine, D. Siry, Bob Lutz/GM, et al

    Collection: 2009 LA Auto Show

    I'm sitting in an Outback Steakhouse in Glendale/CA, after leaving LA Auto Show @LA Convention Ctr, having uploaded my cellphone pics using my Macbook Pro + Sprint MiFi card.

    I woke up at 3:30am this morning, just got back from the Baja 1000. Turned on the TV, & CH. 7 (local KABC station) was doing a LIVE report from LA Auto Show. Having missed M. Eberhard + A. Schwarzenegger in 2006 (?) LA Auto Show on Press Day, I decided to head on out.

    Got on-site media-credentials (being w/Getty Images), but unfortunately I missed the Keynote Address by Bob Lutz/GM (who was filling in, given the recent resignation of GM's CEO). So, I headed on out to GM's booth in South Hall, to catch the Chevrolet presentation (Chevy Volt & Chevy Cruze). Got to talk to Tony Posawatz (Vehicle Line Directo, Chevy Volt, Global Electric Vehicle Development), & when I mentioned M. Eberhard (who was my office-mate in grad-school @UIUC back in summer '81), he broke into an enthusiastic mood about how he met ME at 2007 Detroit Auto Show (?). And, how he was impressed by his technical knowledge, & apparently there were some talks between Tesla & GM at the time.

    After the crowd thinned out, I kept shooting (video, stills, panoramas). Lo & behold, I look over & there is M. Eberhard. I shot some video of ME talking with some GM reps. Later, ME zooms over to Bob Lutz (sitting at a table), & a crowd forms.

    Chris Paine (& a woman filming associate) show up..

    like there's a "Who Killed the Electric Car" reunion happening in an instant. Bob Lutz has to run out to get some breakfast, so we all break up to come back later. However, BL has to leave to the airport (emergency), so I am having lunch at the Chevy booth, where C. Paine & company are doing some shooting. Huell Howser (local filmmaker for PBS KCET channel) is there as well.

    I wander over to a threesome, & there is Darryl Siry! And, the woman who appeared on WKTEC, the EV afficionado.

    I introduced myself to DS, since I had recentlyi emailed him.

    I proceed to the Audio media presentation, where I meet M.E. once again.

    The Audi EV (?) has "2 motors per axle", it is a HOT car!!! Beautiful.

    I shot from the Hospitality Booth, for VIPs..very nice. Very impressed by Audi's booth, they are a GOOD company. Then, headed to BMW media presentation.

    Again, a hybrid is announced, along with last year's Mini E

    Finally, headed to Mitsubishi media presentation, where they announce a dual parallel/serial Hybrid.

    Forgot to make arrangements with M.E. for dinner, maybe I can do it tomorrow.

    When I get home, I will get the video up of Martin E. (talking with various people).

    Long day, tired as heck. But, GREAT to see M.E. for the 1st time since '81 (28 years!!). Last time we were together, both us were a couple of STUPID KIDS in college, doing all sorts of crazy stuff. I still remember him in a black T-shirt, commenting on "droopy tits" (don't ask me about context). Also, another summer intern was mischeviously squirting Martin with water, Andrew Chien (son of Dr. Robert Chien, Coordinated Science Laboratory director & Martin's supervisor). Andrew went on to get his PhD in Computer Science @MIT, & ended up a UC San Diego CS Dept. He is now Intel Director of Research & Vice-President of Corporate Technology. "Essential Computing" is his focus, as part of Intel's Exploratory Research:

    YouTube - Intel's Andrew Chien on "Essential Computing" research
    Last edited by chimpanzee; 2009-12-02 at 09:52 PM.

  2. #2
    Holy crap that's awesome!!

    BTW I believe the "EV aficionado" is Chelsea Sexton (EV1 Project and Who Killed the Electric Car).

    Looking forward to seeing the videos.

  3. #3
    P1370 (Europe)
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    OMG this are awesome news, beautiful pics, great personalities, thank you, looking forward for the videos. Anyway, would be about time for Chris Paine to finish his film with a whole lot of EV's rolling out.

  4. #4
    Electrics are back mpt's Avatar
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    Great writeup; that's Chelsea Sexton in pic4. Chelsea Sexton - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  5. #5
    Member chimpanzee's Avatar
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    M. Eberhard @Chevrolet Booth [ '09 LA Auto Show, 12/2 ]

    I'm out the door to goto breakfast for Media (8"00am..I'm runnng late!!!)

    Franz Holzhausen will be talking later this afternøon,

    Please post on this thread any questions you want me to ask, I will do a video interview with him..

  6. #6
    Senior Member vfx's Avatar
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    Great reporting.

    I was just going to go casually this weekend but you make it sound like I'm missing a lot of cool stuff!

  7. #7
    Member chimpanzee's Avatar
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    cellphone photos & videos from Press Day #2 (Thu, 12/3) at:

    Check the video from Press Day #1 (Wed, 12/2), it's Tony/General Motors (knows M. Eberhard very well, along with other GM execs). I got a ride in a Ford Focus EV, with an engineer (U. of Michigan Aerospace Engineer, M.S. degree, who gives a LOT of technical details), check out the ride-video. I also have it on HD video, will upload it later (as an iTunes video over iPod/iPhone/iTouch). I got so wrapped up after the "Design LA panel discussion (with Franz von Holzhausen/Tesla), that I missed ALL of my schedule 4 rides/drives in a Audi TDI (clean diesel), Mercedes hybrid, Honda Insight hybrid, Ford hybrid. I was given a "courtesy" last ditch ride in the Focus.

    There was a sneak-preview event Thu night, for people paying $140/head. Re-visited the Concourse area (Fisker, Saleen supercars, Spyker, Lotus, Aston Martin). Made some interesting contacts there, including some female models. Everyone there are car fanatics, pretty new experience to me (a recently converted "gearhead fanatic"). Shot some 360/180 degree panoramas of these supercars, should turn out great. Have to wait a while to see them. They will look something like:

    I shot these at 2009 SEMA a few weeks ago. Imagine seeing these on a free iPhone app called Pangea (check it out, download it to your iPhone). I.e., carry it around in your pocket, pull it out & show to friends:

    "This is the New Revolution in Alternative Energy, a VR (Virtual Reality) view"

    I shot a 360/180 panorama of Martin at the Audi presentation on 12/2, so you can also see 1 of M.E. Also, did one for Henry Fisker yesterday. Shot a bunch of panoramas from the drivers seat, in various "super cars" (Karma, Lotus, Spyker, Volt, etc).

    More videos from 12/3 (Thu, Press Day #2) at:

    2009 LA Auto Show
    09laautoshow on

    Interviews with

    - Johan de Nysschen/Audi U.S. President, "Green Car of the Year" Award (clean diesel)

    - Michael McHale/Subaru Director of Communications, Subaru Tourer Concept Car (hybrid electric)

    - Henry Fisker/Fisker Automotive, production Karma & Sunset

    - Franz von Holzhausen/Tesla Motors, "Design Los Angeles: Panel Discussion [ Tomorrow's Cars..Practical Transportation or Groundbreaking Design ]"

    Last 2 are being uploaded as I type, & I'm off now to LA Auto Show..again.

    Spent some SERIOUS time @Fisker yesterday (in Concourse area), & will wrap up with Lotus, Spyker, Aston Martin. Then, get to Porsche. Then, take the Grand tour of South & West Lobbys.
    Last edited by chimpanzee; 2009-12-04 at 11:06 AM.

  8. #8
    Member chimpanzee's Avatar
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    update from Fri 12/4, photos & videos

    I spent a 3rd day (12/4 Fro_, the 1st day for public attendance.

    Collection: 2009 LA Auto Show

    See the set "Day #3".

    Went back to Concourse Hall to wrap up my coverage there (still photos, panoramas, HD video, interviews, etc). I ran into a really interesting couple (2 friends, Tech industry incl Aerospace), who had an invite to Fisker Automotive booth.

    Jim/TSI & Eric, Fisker Automotive booth [ '09 LA Auto Show, 12/4 ]

    I think they summarize the viewpoint of many sophisticated/well-bred TMC readers (who are Tech & Green Energy supporters). Very intelligent viewpoint & good quotes.

    Lotus, Spyker, Aston Martin, Saleen were impressive again..gotta love those high-end "supercars"!!

    [ this is the Saleen model who I'm working with later on today ]

    L.A. Laker Girls made an appearance at the booth, for some promotion. AC Green (Laker great) also made an appearance. Met & interviewed some Laker fans, who are also Automotive enthusiasts, including families with kids.

    I am trying to project how Automotive is a family type "Entertainment Experience", not just a male-oriented gearhead specific demographic.

    Checked out the large expansive Ford display (West Lobby):

    1) Fiesta
    "cellphone on 4 wheels", console was Tech'd out..Microsoft based Bluetooth connectivity. Amazed at how "Personal Entertainment" is being integrated into the "4-Wheel package"

    2) Mustang
    maintaining the brand name, with some Tech upgrades

    3) Taurus
    same as Mustang. The key FOB, lets parents change the code & set the top-speed limit (to control the crazy teenagers)

    4) Raptor, modified F-150 (pickup truck) for Offroad Racing fans
    had a driving simulator (with complete hydraulics to simulate rock&roll), this is the niche-market I'm familiar with (see SCORE, I just got back from the 2009 Baja 1000, before I decided to do the '09 LA Auto Show at the last minute).

    I know the driver for the Raptor, Rob M. (arguably the BEST offroad racing driver today, Desert or Short-Course), he drove the Trophy Truck #3 (Riviera Racing) in the videos in the above URL. Here's some sample of his driving at his previous team (Vildosola Racing/Ford, wealthy Mexicans in the Transportation Industry):

    SCORE: Contingency, Rob MacCachren interview [ SCORE '06 Primm 300 ]
    Vildosola Racing: TT #4, Qualifying [ BITD '06 Parker 425 ]
    CORR Racing: R. MacCachren Pro 2 #29 (Fri) [ CORR 9/07 Antelope Valley ]
    CORR Racing: R. MacCachren Pro 2 #29, practice (Fri) [ CORR 9/07 Chula Vista ]
    CORR Racing: R. MacCachren Pro 2 #29, pit-area (Sat) [ CORR 6/07 Chula Vista ]

    Vildosola Racing: Vildosola TT #4, start [ BITD '06 Las Vegas 300 ]
    SCORE: Trophy Truck, MM27 Lap 4 [ SCORE '07 Primm 300 ]
    [ he's in the black truck TT #3 at the end of the video, FLYING thru MM25 (making everyone elses pass look like they're "standing still")

    Rob M did a stint in a Jimco built TT (Trophy Truck), which was a Development Partner for Xtrac. The latter being the 2nd transmission vendor that Tesla Motors tried (this info was passed to me by M. Eberhard on 12/2, when I met him @LA Auto Show, Chevrolet booth). Xtrac is BIG into Auto Racing (Indycar, Offroad, Rally, et al), but like M.E. pointed out to me, they are not set up for High Volume mfg'ing (like a Borg Warner, who I believe is the current mfr for the Tesla Roadster 1-speed). An Xtrac offroad racing Development Partner successfully developed a multi-speed gearbox (like Tesla Motors, they went thru a difficult period of breakage in 2007), which led to a breakthrough win in 2008 (San Felipe 250)..followed up with multiple wins in 2008 & 2009. They just got 2nd in the recent 2009 Baja 1000 (missed out on the Season points championship by a few points), & I was hanging out with the team (with some killer footage). The owner is originally from Denmark (just like Henry Fisker), a very intelligent guy. He designed the hydraulic clutch as an add-on to the Xtrac transmission. The driver is a famous German rally champion, whose brand-name brought over many European based sponsors.

    Lesson Learned:
    "European Sophistication" is a winning package, both in Offroad & Alternative Technology (Fisker Automotive). I was VERY impressed by what I saw at Fisker at this years LA Auto Show, I think they will SUCCEED & be a factor in getting America (& the World) onto the path of Alternative Energy ("the Road Ahead, the Road Behind")

    It was pointed out to me by the Houston dealer for Stryker, that the startups like Tesla & Fisker have to "get their cars out on the road, in terms of Production". This "physically-based Viral Marketing" will create interest/hype ("wow, where did you get that..I want one") & referral business:

    "the best Advertising, is a SATISFIED CUSTOMER"

    Fisker made an announcement about their projected production numbers for their 2011 (?) target date. H. Fisker told me he thinks Hybrids has real potential for mass-market solution. The EV solution is still hampered by stress/worry about range ("running out of juice") & re-charge times, which will require more R&D in Battery Technology.

    I asked a few fans at the Fisker booth today, about why they liked the Karma. They all like the "curves", i.e., the sophisticated styling. In the end, a car purchase is made based on "Emotion" (not just practicality or Environmental friendliness). This term was used by Johan de Nysschen/Audi, to describe their EV supercar (E-tron, due out in 2012).

    I like the term used by a P-51 racer (aviation):

    "It's PURE SEX. Just open the throttle, & LET IT FLOW [ gas thru the venturis of the carburetor ]"

    The supercars in Concourse Area are JUST THAT..Pure Sex. I met & talked with a couple of attractive women (who looked like movie-stars) checking out the cars (wealthy, who currently drive $200K price-point cars), their dress/style stood out from the crowd. You could tell they were "bucks up", their Style projected Sophistication. I heard Ron Howard made a run through the Aston Martin booth.
    Last edited by chimpanzee; 2009-12-05 at 09:33 AM.

  9. #9
    Member chimpanzee's Avatar
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    Did the John Force NHRA autograph signing event @AAA booth (Kentia Hall)

    John Force Racing/NHRA, AAA booth [ '09 LA Auto Show 12/5 ]

    Right next door (looking over the AAA sponsored Sam Hornish/Penske Racing NASCAR Dodge), was Al & Eds Autosound booth. Lo & Behold.. a yellow Tesla Roadster.

    Spent a couple of hours there shooting HD video, panoramas (Tesla, Lamborghini, Ferrari, BMW, et al):

    Tesla, Ferrari, Lamborghini @Al & Eds booth [ '09 LA Auto Show 12/5 ]

    Then, went back to Concourse Hall to finish up with Saleen cars

    Collection: 2009 LA Auto Show

    Click on Day #2 (12/5 Sat) to see more pics.

    I officially became a "motorhead addict" at this years 2009 SEMA show.

    [ M. Eberhard was one since I knew him at grad-school @UIUC, 28 yrs ago. When he 1st came on board to our office, THAT DAY I found myself in his apartment (lined with books..he' s a great reader & book worm) courtesy of a ride in his '67 Mustang ]

    It's getting worse at the 2009 LA Autho show, the supercars (Lamborghini, Ferrari, Saleen, Spyker, Tesla, Fisker, Porsche, et al) are all giving me visual orgasms.

    I will go back next week to follow up with Porsche (they have a hall all to themselves). Today, it's the 12th Annual John Force Car Show in Yorba Linda..yep, more exotic cars.
    Last edited by chimpanzee; 2009-12-06 at 12:28 PM.

  10. #10
    Head Moderator / Administrator doug's Avatar
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    Off topic stuff is being moved. Yes everything is related to everthing, but for the good of the forum and its readers there has to be a semblence of organization. That should not be a hard concept to grasp.

    Moderators do not have time to continually parse though to find the bits that may be on topic.

    Last edited by doug; 2009-12-08 at 03:42 PM.

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