Highlights from the Washington Auto Show’s Industry Media Day

The Washington Auto Show’s Industry Media Day, held on January 23 prior to the show’s public opening, featured media availabilities from four major OEMs covering a diverse range of the new automobile market – Toyota, Ford, Honda, and Maserati. In addition, owing to its reputation as the nation’s Public Policy Show on the auto show circuit, Media Day featured some major regulatory agencies and technology leaders announcing new initiatives and policy developments.

In addition, The Washington Auto Show’s media day’s afternoon program was an awards show of sorts, with U.S. News & World Report announcing the winners of their 2020 Best Cars for the Money Awards, and Green Car Journal honoring the winners of their awards for the 2020 Luxury Green Car of the Year and Green Car Technology of the Year categories.

Check out each of the links below for a full recap of many of the day’s newsworthy events:

  • Energy Department Leadership Announces $300M Transportation Research Initiative – U.S. Department of Energy Under Secretary Mark Menezes announced a large-scale research and development grant program to support new fuel cell and battery technology in automobiles, designed to promote energy-efficient vehicles. Under Secretary Menezes’ keynote address kicked off eight hours of panels, speeches, and announcements from policy leaders, automakers, and tech innovators.
  • Uber Advanced Technologies Announces Partnership in D.C. to Begin Data Collection Process Required to Operate Self-Driving Cars in the District – A capacity crowd gathered to hear a lunchtime presentation from Uber Advanced Technologies CEO Eric Meyhofer, who announced that his organization would begin the process of collecting data in Washington, D.C. to eventually develop and deploy self-driving vehicles on the roads of the nation’s capital. The manual process will involve intricately mapping the District’s surface roads, highways, and alleys, to help build out the infrastructure that will one day allow cars to operate on the city’s roads without physical drivers in them.
  • Federal Communications Commission Board Member Michael O’Rielly Discusses Various Inter-Connected Vehicle Technologies in Fireside Chat – Michael O’Rielly, one of the three members of the Republican majority on the Federal Communications Commission board, participated in a fireside chat with S. News & World Report reporter John Vincent during the afternoon portion of Industry Media Day, and the two talked about cellular vehicle technologies like C-V2X and DSRC, and the different ways that the technologies can help foster increased development and end-point adoption of inter-connected vehicle technology. Commissioner O’Rielly delivered his views on these matters, and what the FCC board, under the leadership of Republican chairman Ajit Pai, plans to do with interconnected technology in the near future.
  • U.S. News & World Report Announces its 2020 Best Cars for the Money Award Winners – For the first time, U.S. News & World Report held a major awards ceremony for one of their “Best Cars” categories at The Washington Auto Show. The Industry Media day stage was flanked by the 11 award-winning vehicles, which were announced by U.S. News executive editor Jamie Page Deaton. The awards highlighted the news outlet’s picks for best values covering multiple vehicle classes, a range of engine technologies, and various-sized cars, SUVs, and minivans.
  • Two Categories of Green Car Award Winners Revealed at Media Day Green Car Journal senior editor Cam Benty presented two Green Car Awards at the 2020 Washington Auto Show’s Media Day – for best Luxury Green Car and best Green Car Technology. The award winners were honored on the main stage during media day and their offerings were displayed near the stage in Hall E of the Convention Center for the duration of the day.