Blog: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

Kelli B. Kavanaugh is Model D's development news editor and writes a weekly column, Green Space, for metromode. In light of the North American International Auto Show, her blog will focus on the the automotive industry. But she is liable to write about any environmental issue that comes to mind.

Post No. 3

Green overload, green overload! It seems like every single article I've read in the past week has talked about the greening of the North American International Auto Show, the Big Three's new commitment to alternative energy and blah blah blah.

Forreals, it is great to see every manufacturer include green elements in their displays. But we also saw the pick-up battle continue, with the Dodge Ram, Ford F250 and Toyota Tundra going toe to toe.

A lot of talk was about the fact that there was no Chevy Volt this year -- meaning a singular vehicle that captured the world's attention like the Volt did in 2007.

In my estimation, the biggest announcement was not about a vehicle or a technology, but that General Motors is investing into an Illinois ethanol company that will produce 50 to 100 million gallons of fuel a year by 2011. The best part is that the company, Coskata, will use waste products to create the fuel rather than corn or other food products. (I'm of the belief that the whole corn thing is a house of cards.)

What is revolutionary about this -- think about it -- is that an vehicle manufacturer is getting into the fuel business. I think this is a very strong strategy for GM, and I would not be surprised if it becomes more common industry-wide.

Tomorrow, I'm going to talk about some of the trends that stood out at the NAIAS, so today I'll conclude with a few snippets of green stuff that I just couldn't fit into one of my categories. Jerks.
  • Plymouth-based Johnson Controls introduced a headliner (it's the fabric on the interior of a  car's roof -- I had to look that one up on Wikipedia) called Ecoband that uses natural materials like hemp, flax and knaf instead of fiberglass along with a soy-based adhesive.

  • Some Cadillac Escalades will have LED headlights.

  • A limited number of Honda customers in California will start test-driving the fuel cell-powered FCX Clarity later this year.
Next up: diesels and plug-ins and luxury, oh my!