As electric power drives and the technology behind autonomous vehicles start to merge, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is starting to become as much of a launch pad for concept cars as the Detroit Auto Show.
Here are some highlights from the sublime to the ridiculous, with videos and links for those who want the full story behind each creation.
is the brainchild of Henrik Fisker, who designed and launched the Fisker Karma electric vehicle in 2011 but ran into difficulties with the bankruptcy of it’s battery supplier.
FIsker Inc. was formed in 2016 as a relaunch of the Fisker brand, with its flagship offering being the Fisker E-Motion. The EMotion is exquisite looking, with butterfly wings and a sexy form you would expect from the guy who designed the Aston Martin Vantage and 1999 BMW Z.
What makes it even more intriguing is that Fisker Inc. announced in November of 2017 last year that they are working on a solid state battery that offers “Breakthrough technology will enable dramatically longer ranges of more than 500 miles on a single charge and charging times as low as one minute – faster than filling up a gas tank.” according to the company’s Press Release.
Byton is one of the most notable and aggressive of electric vehicle manufacturers in China where CNBC reports “The governmental push has spawned 20 new electric vehicle start-ups in Shanghai alone over the last three to five years.”
The electric SIV, yes, S-I-V for Smart Intuitive Vehicle that the company introduced at CES may be most notable for its incorporation of a wide variety of smart car technologies including video screens that display live feeds from cameras on the sides and rear of the car – in the middle of the steering wheel and on a multi image screen that stretches 1.3 metres/49 inches across the entire front ‘dashboard’.
Hyundai’s foray into hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles was announced some time ago, but was not given a public name until CES: NEXO. The model is part of the Korean manufacturer’s goal of introducing 18 eco-friendly models to global markets by 2025, running the full gamut from hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles to hybrids to plug-in hybrids to battery electrics.
NEXO is Hyundai’s second-generation of commercialized fuel cell electric vehicle, improving on the Tucson FCEV by increasing power and acceleration and an estimated driving range of 370 miles, 105 more than the Tucson. The NEXO will be available in select markets around the world starting in early 2018.
This Vancouver-based company (which announced its application filing for NASDAQ Capital Markets listing last October) launched the single seat three wheeled all-electric SOLO at CES as part of the Innovation and Tech Today Pavilion.
The definitely distinctive looking car is designed to appeal to the 80 percent of Americans who commute to work alone in their personal vehicle. Retailing at $15,500 USD, the 100-mile range SOLO’s lithium-ion battery system requires only three hours of charging time on a 220-volt charging station or outlet.
Jerry Kroll, CEO of Electra Meccanica defines the car’s mission and target audience memorably: “We want to show – not simply tell – our audience that we are doing our part to invest in a cleaner planet for future generations. Essentially, the SOLO has two doors, three wheels and one overarching mission – to close the last gas station.”
Find out more on the Electro Meccanica website
This concept brings new meaning to the concept of concept car. Imagine a full sized room, a ‘pod’, that snaps on to an equally full size autonomous electric skateboard which drives the car to your destination where the two are detached. The ‘skateboard drives somewhere else (presumably to pick up another room-sized pod) while you have a meeting, or whatever you like, until you summon the skateboard to pick you up again.
As they say on the Rinspeed website: the pod can even be useful when stationary: it can be anything from a variable shopping pod or a spacious camping pod to a cozy cuddling pod and even provide a breathtaking, fully connected user experience for the occupants of the passenger cabin. The sky is here the limit for the possible applications.
M-B describes this as a “New vision of of urban mobility and individualised, highly flexible, totally efficient local public transport. The smart vision EQ fortwo is a cool two-seater and, like all smart models, scores with a maximum of room in a minimum of space.”
This is a car conceived to operate at Level 5, the highest level on the self-driving scale. Users will be able to manage the 30-kilowatt battery-powered car from their smartphone and share expenses with other passengers who are picked up based not only on their destination but also on a profile established from such data as musical preferences and Facebook likes.
“The basic idea is that cars should make use of themselves in the city,” Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler AG’s Board of Management, told Forbes magazine.