BMW at the LA Auto Show 2018

LA Auto Show 2018 - BMW The Los Angeles Auto Show is a premier vehicle showcase of the latest from automobile manufacturers. The 2018 LA Auto Show did not disappoint.

The LA Auto Show offered lots of new BMW’s for Bimmer-files (like myself) to take in this year. Lots and lots of beautiful Bimmers to gaze upon. They had everything from the BMW X7 debut, to the fan favorite, M5. I managed to get some video of the latest from BMW.

Walking through the LA Auto Show and into BMW mecca

The South Hall is where BMW made camp. Their area was huge and even had a competition ready BMW race car on a second floor overlooking the entire Hall. It was like walking through a corn row field filled with Bimmers. Really cool seeing the i8 too.

The BMW X7 debuts at the LA Auto Show

The new X7 is HUGE. It looks and feels bigger than an X5. The Bimmer sport ute resembles a Lincoln Navigator, but a whole lot nicer. Thinking that it would be much nicer to be driven around in this car than it would be to actually drive the behemoth around.

The BMW M5

The M5 is my all time favorite BMW. Not a fan of the red color but all the bells-n-whistles make up for a lack-luster shade. This is one of the ultimate “sleepers” right out of the box. Give me launch control and access to 600+/- horsepower and you’ll see a happy boy.

The LA Auto Show is a place for auto manufacturers to show off their latest duds. But for me it is where I can see the newest BMW’s. Come to the show for what ever reason you like: new cars, test rides, latest info, whatever! At the very least come and see lots of vehicle eye candy. It is a multi day event that should be experienced by anyone that is a car fan.

If innovative mobility solutions are more interesting, then check out my time at LA CoMotion last month.

LA CoMotion is the Future of How We Get Around

LA CoMotion 2018 entrance day

LA CoMotion was a multi-day event in the downtown Los Angeles Arts District. The overarching theme of the event is mobility and making it easier and more affordable for people to access. The majority of solutions involve batteries and charging concepts. However, some other aspects of mobility were shown. Examples included a Formula E race car, underground waste management systems, and software that will enable vehicles to communicate with “smart city” grids and other vehicles on the road. LA CoMotion brought together the leaders in the mobility space to share ideas and see what others are developing around movement.

Concept of Shared Mobility

Shared mobility is a topic that is heard often and in great detail at LA CoMotion. And, it means different things to different groups of people. Some view this as an Uber or Lyft solution while others view this as vehicles that are not owned at all. This no vehicle ownership concept is shared, on-demand vehicles that people can “order” as needed. There certainly was a wide spectrum of ideas around mobility presented at LA CoMotion.

The concept of a “sharing society” goes back to the earliest of times with clothes, tools, monies, etc. being shared among family members and close knit groups. A more modern concept of shared mobility is public transportation – buses, light rail, subways, and trains. Sharing is about convenience, cost, and re-purposing, so shared mobility is not really a foreign concept coming from the historical sharing society perspective. However, LA CoMotion wasn’t just about high level mobility options. There were some displays that showed what the future looks like right now!

Exciting Mobility Vendors

ABB Formula E, the global, all electric, FIA sanctioned, open wheel racing series was represented at LA CoMotion. Dragon racing had a Formula E season 3 livery on-site at the event in the Arts District downtown Los Angeles. Formula E and all the teams involved are pushing battery technology and electric power unit development to the max racing in this world class series.

Dragon racing Formula E race car

Not only are electric power units being developed for the racing world, but they are also being integrated into recreational life. Bosch is involved with lots of different facets of industry. So, it’s no surprise to see Bosch working with Raleigh, an industry leading bicycle manufacturer, to produce high-performance, electric powered mountain bikes. And, there is even an electric mountain bike race in Monterey, California at the Sea Otter Classic. Spencer Powlison of Velo News writes an account of his experience at the e-MTB race.

Bosch electric mountain bikes

Electric bicycles were introduced to many attendees of the show this year. However, a speaker on one of the mobility panels mentioned that last year no electric scooter manufacturers were represented at LA CoMotion. In contrast, this year that is almost all the vendor booths that could be seen at the LACOMO18. Lime and Bird were two big scooter brands that were offering information and test rides.

Lime Scooters LA CoMotion 2018 Bird Scooters LA CoMotion 2018

Secondary Vendors Leading Mobility Innovation

It wasn’t just all about vehicles and hardware of the future at LA CoMotion. There was a company that focused on developing the software that would enable vehicles to communicate. Autonomy, a company based in the the United States and Romania, is focused on secure vehicle-to-vehicle communication as well as connecting with “smart cities” and smartphone apps. Smart cities incorporate things like traffic signal sensors along with road and lighting sensors. To quote their promotional material… “We are creating the blockchain network where self-driving cars can communicate with each other, with the road infrastructure and with your smartphone apps.”

Autonomy company

Also, mobility can include the things that get in the way of vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Items like trash cans, dumpsters, and refuse collection vessels can clog up thoroughfares and prevent the efficient flow of traffic. Underground Refuse Systems has adopted trash management techniques long used in European cities. They use receptacles buried underground and specially modified trash collection vehicles to help lessen the eyesore of trash bins. This subsequently secures the receptacles from pilfering and speeds up collection times of trash routes. The receptacles are also “smart” and can let workers know when it is time to empty or if there is a problem with the trash receptacle. Future mobility solutions will look at concepts other than vehicles.

Underground Refuse Systems LA CoMotion 2018Future of Mobility is Electricity

Modern mobility will be driven by electric power units. This will be seen in public transport, cars and trucks, along with personal transportation modes like bicycles and scooters. These innovations will soon be seen in every day commutes as vehicle batteries and components evolve through things like Formula E and electric rally cars.

There was a long row of mobility vendors and sponsors at LA CoMotion 2018. Looking over the vendors at the conference, it certainly looks like electric scooters, bicycles, and skateboards will be in the forefront of shared mobility. As mobility options are explored and efforts like Formula E are pursued, a world of innovative options will be available. And, with incorporating ideas of efficient refuse management and seamless communication between moving objects, it will be amazing to see how future concepts will impact future mobility.

LA CoMotion entrance night

LA Traffic Killed My Desire to Drive and Turned Me Onto Metro

I’m a car guy who loves motorsports and almost every aspect of automobiles and mechanized transportation… heck, I fell in love with a BMW before I could even drive. But, LA traffic killed my desire to drive, ever.

Driving something: a tractor, lawn mower, motorcycle, car, truck, whatever, has always been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Now, that has all changed. In the last year I’ve probably driven less than 20 hours total per month. And, in the past 6 months, I drive less than 8 hours per month. That might sound a bit sad coming from a person that absolutely loves cars and the art of driving, but Los Angeles will kill the drive to drive.

LA is a town that loves cars and has a strong, deeply entrenched automotive community. The community encompasses enthusiasts and manufacturers alike. There is a lot of “car stuff” going on here. But, with that, there is the LA TRAFFIC.

Not being a SoCal native, I had NO idea that 8 lanes (in one direction, 16 total lanes) could ever actually stop. The pure volume of vehicles on the road at times makes it impossible or nearly impossible to actually move. I never really had any idea how bad traffic could be until I moved to Los Angeles. There can be traffic jams any time of the day, night, or week, not just the traditional “rush hour” times. These nightmare traffic situations also make it almost impossible to plan accurate arrival times and being late is something that I really don’t like to do… ever.

I figured a work-around for LA traffic

So, hating unexplained LA traffic jams and regularly being late TAP card for Los Angelesto meetings, appointments, dates, etc., I decided to investigate and try another form of transport. Yes, I went with the public transport route and jumped “onboard” with Ⓜ Metro Los Angeles. Trains, buses, and walking have become my new norm for getting from A to B in LA.

Part of the draw is the trains. I am fascinated by them (remember I mentioned liking mechanised transport) and have had a love affair with them since I was a child. MetroLosAngeles makes it possible for me to avoid mind blowing LA traffic, be around trains, and actually get to places pretty much on time.

Don’t get me wrong, my love for cars and motorsports is not dying, but I do appreciate being punctual and not being driven insane by idiotic traffic situations in LA. So, Metro is my go-to option for getting around Los Angeles. I encourage anyone to give it a try regardless of car ownership or apprehensions about using public transport because it is affordable, safe transportation where you don’t have to stress about sitting in traffic and wasting your life away. Plus, they are active in social media and always LIKE or comment on my tweets. Here’s an example:

LA Metro tweet like

Please feel free to comment below with your transportation story.

LYFT is in Los Angeles

Addendum: If I do need to get somewhere that is not public transport accessible or would take years in a public transport commute, then I defer to LYFT (Not Uber) for personalized point-to-point transportation.