The 203 Dwell on Design event at the Los Angeles Convention Center features various modern and eco friendly designed items from artistic digital wall clocks to modular homes. The event also highlights some of the forward thinking designs from several automakers and allows attendees to drive some of the more eco-friendly and very “So-Cal” cars that are coming to the market. Most residents in the L.A. area are used to spending a large chunk of time in their cars and shelling out unthinkable sums for gasoline. As one of the unfortunate residents that spends nearly 20 hours in my car each week I was excited to get behind the wheel and see what the future had in store for the quintessential California driver.
2014 Audi A8L TDI
The Audi A8L as an overall luxury land-barge, is simply a fantastic vehicle and the gasoline model we drove a couple years ago showed that the growing German auto maker can not only compete with the BMW and Mercedes brands, but knock them completely out of the race all together. The TDI moves that to a whole new level and gives the car a 3.0L diesel V6 that churns out 240 HP and an astounding 406 Lbs of torque. The A8L TDI will return a, class leading, estimated 24 MPG city and 36 MPG highway. The 8-speed automatic transmission moves the car along swiftly and any fears of lack of horsepower are immediately wiped away by the smile-widening amount of torque. For the buyer who has nearly $100k to burn on a fantastic luxury sedan and can’t be bothered to stop for gasoline short of 800 miles each fill up – The Audi A8L is waiting for you.
2013 Honda FCX Clarity
The FCX has quietly existed as Honda’s hydrogen powered science project for nearly 7 years now, originally as a concept in 2006 and then as a production car from 2008 forward. The Clarity is offered on a limited lease from Honda to owners who have a void in their life that no regular hybrid can fill. At just over $600/month for the lease (includes insurance and warranty) the owner will need to really commit to the hydrogen green lifestyle and plan their trips near the 7 hydrogen refilling stations in Southern California. A hydrogen fill up will generally run around $20 and give the driver nearly 300 miles. The FCX is a perfectly acceptable car for those who wish their hybrid spewed pure water and baby seals from the tailpipe.
2014 Fiat 500E
As a current Fiat 500 Sport owner I was beyond excited to get behind the wheel of this tiny orange ball of energy. The Fiat 500E offers an electric only motor that powers the car forward with 147 lbs-ft of torque and the car really springs forward when compared to the rather mundane 98 ft-lbs of torque in the standard model. The driving dynamics of the Fiat with the single speed transmission offer a fantastic car for running about town and the regenerative braking system is one of the best I have ever experienced. At a starting price of $31k, the Fiat has a heavy price tag but through various incentives as tax rebates the car can be had for somewhere closer to $20k. Fiat is also offering a $199 lease with only $999 down also and is currently only to be sold in California. With a range estimated between 87 and 100 miles to a full charge the 500E also offers some of the best range in its class. With a lower center of gravity due to the floor-lined battery pack and enough torque to keep you darting around he urban jungle, the Fiat offers a fun and sexy way to be green.
Photography and Content provided by Kylie Browning