It’s set to be a big year for the auto industry and 2022 got off to a fast start at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Traditionally focused on televisions, video games and audio gear, CES has become a major auto show in its own right in recent years.
Well over a dozen cars and concepts made their debut in Sin City this week. Some, like the all-electric Chevrolet Silverado EV, grabbed plenty of headlines. Vietnamese startup VinFast drew a large crowd — at least by COVID-restricted standards — for its unveiling of five battery-electric vehicles. But odds are that you missed some others, like the Togg Sedan Concept from Turkey.
Of course, CES also has made news when it comes to the technology side of the business. Walk the floors of the Las Vegas Convention Center and you’ll learn a lot about lidar and onboard infotainment systems. Those taking the show in in-person have the opportunity to go for a test drive in a number of autonomous vehicle prototypes.
Here’s a look at the various cars and concepts making news at the 2022 CES:
BMW iX M60.
An early pioneer of electrification, BMW fell behind in recent years but is making up for lost time with the launch of several new battery-electric vehicles. Last year saw the launch of its first all-electric SUV, the BMW iX and, at CES, the Bavarian automaker took things to a new level of performance with the first battery-powered M model, the iX M60. In standard mode, its twin motors deliver 532 horsepower and 749 pound-feet of torque. Activate sport boost and output jumps to 610 hp.
BMW iX Flow
While not an entirely new product, this CES concept certainly deserves mention. The iX Flow wears “E ink,” rather than paint. First used in e-readers, the technology uses millions of microcapsules filled with both black and white pigments. Apply a current and the surface of the iX will quickly change from black to white or any shade in-between. The technology is still just a fanciful research product but could have real-world applications, like turning a black car white on a hot summer day.
During an hourlong keynote event, General Motors CEO Mary Barra covered a variety of new products and technologies. Among other things, she offered more details about the exotic Cadillac Celestiq supercar now in the works. It will be “hand-built, handcrafted and tailored to reflect the unique tastes and desires of its owners, said Barra. But … the big news is the fact that Celestiq will be the first GM model to get the next-gen Level 3 Ultra Cruise technology which, eventually, will be able to be used hands-free on “every paved road in the U.S. and Canada.”
Cadillac InnerSpace Concept
GM’s luxury brand rolled out a variety of showstoppers at CES 2021, including a flying luxury “car.” Cadillac returned to the show this year with another model for its Halo Concept Portfolio. The ultra-exotic two-seat electric vehicle is completely autonomous. It’s more of a mini-luxury suite on wheels, with plenty of high-tech gear onboard to keep you occupied during a journey. You’ll keep comfortable with a slide out drawer offering passengers pillows, blankets and even slippers.
Chevrolet Blazer EV
The compact Chevy Blazer has become one of the automaker’s most popular crossovers, and one of its more affordable models. So, there should be no surprise that it would be on the short list to get a full battery-electric option. Set to reach showrooms in 2023, the Blazer EV will use the new Ultium batteries and architecture that will underpin all the other new GM BEVs coming to market over the next few years. Some speculate it could replace the current Bolt model using older GM battery technology.
Chevrolet Equinox EV
The Chevy Equinox is another big seller and an all-electric version has been widely expected. The battery version will, like the Blazer EV, use the new Ultium drive system, including a dedicated, skateboard-style platform. That approach is expected to yield a class-size larger interior than the gas-powered version of the crossover. It also will feature GM’s new Ultifi electrical system which, among other things, will allow for over-the-air software updates. The Chevrolet Equinox EV also will debut in 2023.
Chevrolet Silverado EV
2023 will be a big year for GM’s EV program and no product will be more crucial than Chevy’s Silverado EV. It will ride on a truck-like version of the Ultium platform — the same used for the GMC Hummer EV. Initially, two versions will be offered, the WT work truck and the fully loaded RST First Edition. Making up to 664 hp and 780 lb-ft of torque, the EV pickup will be able to haul up to a 1,300-pound payload and a 10,000-lb trailer. It also delivers up to 400 miles range. The WT launches in spring, the RST in autumn.
Chrysler Airflow Concept
The once-popular Chrysler brand has all but disappeared, with only two products in its portfolio. Carlos Tavares, the CEO of parent Stellantis, says Chrysler isn’t going away — for now — but it will have to prove it has reason to stick around. The Airflow Concept debuting at CES shows what planners have in mind for the brand, with its windswept exterior, elegantly high-tech interior and an electric drivetrain delivering up to 400 miles range. Chrysler will debut its first BEV in 2025 and go entirely electric as of 2028.
Hyundai Autonomous Pod
Today’s automobile is a computer and wheels. Combine battery power and autonomous technology and we could see dramatic changes in the shape of the vehicles we drive in the future. Hyundai offered up several possibilities during its CES presentation – a mini pod that could prove particularly useful for the elderly and handicapped who today might have difficulty leaving home. The pod could be small enough to “drive” inside. And, for longer trips, it could roll onto roving bus-like shuttles.
Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe
CES is the first opportunity for the public to see the second Jeep plug-in hybrid. The Grand Cherokee is set to follow the original Wrangler 4xe to market and, if that original PHEV is any indication, it should receive a solid reception. It’s based on the two-row version of the midsize SUV and delivers a nice boost to power, especially at launch when electric motors deliver maximum torque. It also provides up to 25 miles of all-electric range. That’s proved popular with off-roaders who want to trail ride in near silence.
Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX
How far can you go on a charge? The striking Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX was designed to push the limits and, the automaker claims, can get a full 625 miles before having to plug in again. The concept is even more aerodynamic than the new Mercedes EQS sedan. And it introduces a variety of sustainable features, including seats made from bio-engineered mushrooms and cacti. While it’s unlikely we’ll see a production version, a number of features of the EQXX will be used on future Mercedes models.
Sony Vision-S 02
Best known for its TVs, audio devices and game consoles, Sony could soon be rolling out automobiles, as well. It returned to CES with a second Vision-S concept, the Vision-S 02, and a plan to launch Sony Mobility Inc. this coming spring. It’s not guaranteed we will see a Sony-mobile but it appears increasingly likely that a version of the all-electric SUV could go into production. Not surprisingly, it would feature hands-free driving capabilities and plenty of infotainment tech to keep everyone occupied.
Togg Transition Concept
Togg, a Turkish startup, may not be getting much attention here, but it’s clearly looking to make a splash back home with this sedan concept designed by the legendary house of Pininfarina. Its full, formal name is Transition Concept Smart Device and that suggests it’s meant to preview more than just the sexy exterior. The sedan uses a battery-drive system and features autonomous technology, along with plenty of infotainment gear, including a screen running the entire width of the instrument panel.
VinFast VF5, VF6 and VF7
Founded barely four years ago, this startup takes the word “fast” quite seriously. It introduced two all-electric models — now called the VF8 and VF9 — at the LA Auto Show last November and added three more on Wednesday evening, the tiny VF5 and slightly larger VF6 and VF7 models. Of the five BEV SUVs, the four largest are slated to come to the U.S. market, starting late this year. VinFast’s unusual approach will see customers buy the vehicles but lease the batteries. A U.S. factory is also planned.