Over the last decade, the Impossible Burger, 4G and LTE, and the all-electric Chevy Bolt each made splashes at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES). In 2011 Ford CEO, Alan Mulally, introduced the automaker’s first plug-in electric vehicle (EV), the Ford Focus at CES. So what did the innovative and groundbreaking technology show offer this year?
CES 2020 Was The Most Auto And EV-Focused Year Yet
On top of new autonomous vehicle technology and auto gadgets like Bosch’s Virtual Visor (eliminating the need for conventional visors and making driving safer), a number of legacy automakers, startups, and other tech companies debuted their latest EVs. Here’s a snapshot of what we saw
Sony Vision-S: Concept Car
Ben Sullins of Teslanomics called the Sony Vision-S the most important EV at CES because it outlines a partnership path for other traditional car companies so they can become competitive with Tesla, who we all know is so far ahead with battery and powertrain technology. Sony hasn’t released any clear plans to take the Vision-S to production, which has led many analysts and pundits to believe Sony is positioning itself as a player for legacy carmakers to work with during the shift to electrification.
Charles Morris in CHARGED noted that “Sony developed the VISION-S prototype in partnership with several automotive suppliers, including Magna, NVIDIA, Continental, Qualcomm and ZF, and built the vehicle on a new platform that can be applied to coupes, sedans and SUVs.” The lackluster performance by legacy automakers to produce EVs has opened the door to tech companies like Sony to pave their own path forward in the industry.
Audi AI:ME: Concept Car
As an autonomous vehicle and extension of our living and working spaces, the Audi AI:ME is like a moving room or pod. Seating can be easily manipulated to create a space for multiple uses, whether you’re planning to nap, work, or eat. The AI:ME packs a 65 kWh battery and is designed for city travel and speeds between 12 – 43 mph.
The vehicle still allows for manual piloting and is equipped with smart surface technology for passenger-to-vehicle interaction. Oh, and there’s also a space on the dash for plants to grow.
Byton M-Byte: Production Car
Unlike Tesla’s approach of developing a fast car to take on conventional luxury sports cars, Byton has their eye on something that most automakers aren’t capitalizing on yet: a car built around smart tech and connectivity. The M-Byte has multiple onboard internet modems, a 48-inch interior screen plus four more touch screens, super antennas, and cutting-edge cloud connectivity. The 48-inch screen has sensors that respond to 5 stimuli, including voice, touch, facial recognition, hand gestures, and buttons.
Byton plans to release the M-Byte in 2021 starting at $45,000, and they have made arrangements with Electrify America to grant Byton customers unlimited complimentary 30-minute charging sessions at Electrify America’s public DC Fast charging stations, as well as unlimited complimentary 60-minute sessions at its public level-2 chargers for the first two years of ownership. To join 60,000 others around the world, you can pre-order yours here.
Fiat Concept Centoventi: Concept Car
Fiat says it’s democratizing the car buying and owning experience with the Centoventi, allowing customers to customize their Fiat with tradable body designs, a unique dashboard that attaches whatever the driver needs, and a tailgate message board so drivers can broadcast different messages throughout the day.
Interestingly, Centoventi owners have the option to add 3 additional 60-mile battery packs to increase range up to 300 miles. The fourth battery pack can be removed and charged anywhere, like your hotel room or other locations that lack convenient charging stations.
Fisker Ocean: Production Car
Fisker’s first all-electric SUV aims to compete with the Tesla Model Y by offering a base price of $37,499 and 300 miles of range. With an environmentally conscious “vegan” interior that meets stringent VOC emissions limits, interior components like carpeting made from recycled materials, and a full-length solar panel roof, the Fisker Ocean is offering what it calls “The World’s Most Sustainable Vehicle.” You can reserve yours today here for $250 and expect it in 2021 or 2022.
Mercedes-Benz Vision ATVR: Concept Car
The strikingly futuristic ATVR is as much a nod to futuristic films like Avatar and Blade Runner as it is to what Mercedes-Benz expects vehicles to look like many years from now. The ATVR embodies the automaker’s plan called “Ambition 2039”, where CEO Ola Källenius plans to have a fully sustainable and carbon-neutral fleet of vehicles by the end of the next decade.
This vehicle is slated to contain vegan Dinamica leather and wood floors from sustainably sourced, fast-growing palm stems. The sustainability vision for the all-electric ATVR extends to the battery, which Mercedes-Benz says will be made with compostable organic cell chemistry that would deliver 400 miles of range.
Honda E Electric Hatch: Production Car
Honda’s all-electric Hatch is meant for city driving, with a range of just 136 miles. That’s one reason it probably won’t hit the North American market. As a premium “around town” vehicle, the Honda E has a clear market in Europe, where it’s currently under production.