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MotorWeek Video Transcript: 2007 DC Auto Show

Jessica Shea Choksey:With consumers still mindful of high gas prices, and a new Democratic Congress expected to debate new fuel economy mandates, the 2007 Washington Auto Show was the scene of two major, fuel saving, clean air, vehicle introductions.

Following keynote remarks by Daimler Chrysler Chairman Dieter Zetsche (De-ter Ztez-cher), the Chrysler Group unveiled the first diesel heavy duty pickup truck that meets the emission standards of all 50 states. On sale in March, the new 2008 Dodge Ram Heavy Duty, powered by a 6.7-liter Cummins turbo diesel engine, meets the strictest standards three years before the 2010 EPA mandate.

Ford Motor Company unveiled an imaginative fuel-cell hybrid vehicle.  The Ford Edge with HySeries Drive operates without the need of an internal combustion engine. It uses electric drive motors that are powered by plug-in batteries, recharged overnight on household current. While range is limited to 25 miles, an onboard hydrogen fuel cell generator can recharge the batteries on-the-go for added range.

The U.S. Department of Energy also used the DC show to encourage automakers to stay focused on the long term goal of reducing US dependence on imported oil.

Assistant Energy Secretary Alexander Karsner announced that DOE intends to spend $17 million to support the development of plug-in hybrid vehicles and improve the efficiency of engines that run on E85 ethanol fuel.

Alexander Karsner:We don’t need hundreds, we don’t need thousands, we need millions, millions of cars on the road, available to consumers, so that people have greater fuel choice, and vehicle choice, and that the cars that people want are efficient, are easier on their pocketbook, and are greater for the aggregate good of the environment.

Choksey:Karsner, and members of Congress, also toured the show, taking in the ever widening array of flexible fuel, hybrid, and fuel stingy vehicles already available.

Organizers of the Washington Auto Show expect it to become an even bigger showcase for environmentally friendly vehicles in the future. And that’s it for this week’s MotorNews.