Los Angeles Auto Show – one of the first indoor auto shows to return since the COVID outbreak – was light on news and heavier than usual on vaporware. However, a few vehicles, technologies and companies stood out in the two press days leading up to the event.
Here are the vehicles and themes that have captured our attention for better or worse in Los Angeles this year.
Changing the narrative: green and clean
At the major press conferences, which were few in number and all before noon on Wednesday, the theme of the day focused on sustainability and climate change. It was a mix of greenwashing and live action.
Hyundai and Kia showed video intros that highlighted how important it is to become aware of the environment, before unveiling their fully electric concept cars and plug-in hybrids. Fisker spoke of saving the ocean. Subaru, which has long been committed to green initiatives and has invested a fair amount of money to support everything from national parks to animal rescue, also underscored its continued support for respecting the environment.
While this has not been uncommon in the past, it’s important to note that the entire auto industry has dragged its feet on the path to reducing emissions, innovating around manufacturing and sustainable sourcing and by finding ways to recycle and reuse parts and vehicles that have come to the end of their useful life. The terrible warning that we have only 10 years to reduce the impact of humans on climate change was raised in several press conferences at the show.
One of the more interesting revelations of this year was the near-production version of the Fisker Ocean, an all-electric SUV with a massive 17.1-inch screen that can swivel 90 degrees to switch between landscape or ‘mode. Hollywood ”vertically.
In landscape mode, users can play games and watch videos when the Ocean is parked and charging. Fisker says he’s patenting the swivel screen technology.
The overall theme of this year’s LA Auto Show was (unsurprisingly) the electrification of everything. While there were a lot of ICE motor vehicles all over the floor, the big news came in the form of battery power.
Everything from the all-electric Nissan Ariya SUV and the Toyota bz4x and its twin the Subaru Solterra to one of our favorites, the latest variations of the all-electric Porsche Sport Turismo sedan and station wagon with their magic roof.
Technology that keeps you from getting sick
As we enter the third year of the current pandemic, automakers are increasingly thinking about ways to keep us from getting sick. Hyundai unveiled the SEVEN SUV concept at the Los Angeles auto show that offers features like vertical airflow, antibacterial copper, and even a UVC sterilizer.
Electric restomods are coming
One of the trends that stood out at the Los Angeles auto show this year was a number of older car bodies on new electric powertrains. While they might not offer the same visceral experience as an internal combustion engine, they do offer a new way to enjoy classic vehicles.
Cobera, an automotive startup, presented at the show this year a C300, which looked a lot like an old-school Shelby Cobra. But instead of a V8 engine under the hood, the C300 has an all-electric powertrain that the company says can get the C300 from 0 to 62 mph in 2.7 seconds. The Cobera C300 was designed and built by Composite-Projects, a Hungarian company specializing in the construction of vehicles and motorhomes. When the car is turned on, a synthetic sound comes out of the vehicle, which makes it sound a bit like an old V8.
Electra Meccanica, an electric automaker who also showcased their three-wheeled Solo cars at the LA auto show (more details below), showcased their eRoadster, resembling an electric vehicle Porsche 356 Speedster, with features set up to date like air conditioning, power windows and locks, and a modern infotainment system.
It’s not just the relatively unknown small automakers that have released the restomods with new powertrains. Ford brought in its electrified F-100 which appeared at SEMA in early November. The 1978 F-100 Ford EluminatoElectrical restoration includes Ford’s E-crate engine that customers can purchase and install in their own vehicles.
The F-100 gets a pair of electric motors up front and rear and Ford says the vehicle gets 480 horsepower and 635 pound-feet of torque. Inside is a new updated infotainment system with a display and digital dashboard as well.
There are usually at least a few three-wheelers at the show, but this year there were more than usual. Electric Biliti brought their electric and solar tuk tuks that the company says could be used for last mile delivery by companies like Amazon and Walmart to densely populated cities around the world.
Their GMW Taskman is already in use in places like Europe and Asia and the founder says they have delivered over 12 million packages and traveled over 20 million miles.
Electra Meccanica also brought to the show its Solo vehicles, which the company unveiled in 2016, and offered test drives during press days. The company claims that small electric cars can travel up to 100 miles on a load and produce 82 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque with a top speed of 80 mph. It is a single-seater with cargo space and is designed for short trips or daily commutes in the city. The Solo costs $ 18,500 and is built in Mesa, Arizona.
Sounders also brought its three-wheeled electric vehicle, which seats three, and the company says it has a range of around 100 miles. The electric vehicle was built after successful crowdfunding of over $ 1 million, and it comes with a 33 kWh battery, develops 170 horsepower and 323 lb-ft of torque.
Imperial also brought his three-wheeled electric car called Sagitta. The vehicle is the largest of the three-wheeled passenger vehicles to appear at the show, with enough space for up to four people. Sagitta did not yet have specifications on the vehicle, although they said they were taking reservations from mid-2022.
Even Barbie had a moment at the LA auto show where Mattel showed off a full-size version of the Barbie Extra car. Built on the chassis of a 2021 Fiat 500, the fiberglass body was given a wild glossy white paint, a pair of wings for the doors and a pet pool at the rear.
There were a few vehicles that showcased interesting solar charging options at the show this year. Chinese energy company SPI and Phoenix Motor Inc. launched the EF1-T pickup truck at the Los Angeles auto show, which featured a retractable solar pickup bed cover that the company says can add up to 25% to 35 miles of autonomy in the vehicle. The EF1-T and the van version, the EF1-V are huge vehicles and are clearly still prototypes, as the company said it always takes “customer feedback” on features and uses. .
The company said the huge bug-like EF1-T is expected to have a range of 380-450 miles on one charge and the company is now pre-selling the vehicles for delivery in 2025. That’s far down in our book.