The former Consumer Electronics Show, now known simply as CES, lacks the new-model cachet of a premiere world auto show. And carmakers are not yet using the Las Vegas electronics extravaganza to shine the spotlight on their newest creations. But as the auto industry grapples with technology-fueled disruption from electrification, autonomous driving and upstart business models, CES is becoming the venue of choice for brands to prove to consumers, and each other, that they are embracing the future of mobility.
More than 160 automotive technology companies, including 10 major automakers, will attend this year looking to forge partnerships and recruit hard-to-find tech and engineering talent. Several top auto industry executives will attend, including Daimler CEO Ola Kallenius, Ford Chief Technology Officer Ken Washington and BMW r&d boss Klaus Frohlich. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao will deliver a keynote address on the state of innovation and DOT initiatives to integrate new technologies into U.S. transportation systems.
Here’s a roundup of what automakers expect to show at CES.
BMW will tease an interior concept for its i3 EV. The “BMW i3 Urban Suite,” said to have the “relaxed feel of a boutique hotel,” features a large seat with footrest, a screen that flips down from the headliner and a “personal Sound Zone.”
Fisker will debut the Ocean all-electric crossover, powered by an 80-kWh lithium ion battery pack and with an expected range of up to 300 miles. Production should begin at the end of 2021.
Ford will show its 2021 Mustang Mach-E crossover. The highly anticipated mass-market EV, with a 300-mile range, is Ford’s answer to Tesla, General Motors and others that beat it to the electric market with long-range EVs.
GM will demo integration of Amazon’s Alexa Auto voice-controlled virtual assistant in a new Cadillac CT5.
Honda will showcase technologies being jointly developed by its incubator Honda Xcelerator and startups focused on improving workplace ergonomics and manufacturing efficiency. Honda will demo exoskeleton devices and a voice-enabled, AI-powered personal assistant developed with SoundHound. And it will show its “Smartphone as Brain” technology, which allows motorists to safely use their phones while on the road.
Hyundai will reveal details about a flying vehicle concept and a “highly customizable” prototype car with autonomous-driving capabilities. The automaker has said it plans to evolve into a “smart mobility solution provider” by 2025 and will invest more than $50 billion in electric and fuel cell cars, autonomous driving, flying taxis and mobility services.
Mercedes will reveal a concept vehicle it described as “envisioning a completely new form of interaction between humans, technology and nature,” and show its EQ EVs. Mercedes said it expects to introduce a fleet of 10 EVs by 2022, starting with the EQC electric compact crossover set to arrive in the U.S. in 2021.
Nissan will showcase its Ariya electric crossover concept. A production version of the five-seater could arrive in the U.S. in 2021. U.S. dealers briefed on the product last summer said the new EV will have a 300-mile battery range and go from 0 to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds.
Renault will demonstrate technology that allows connected devices in the home to be controlled from a car dashboard. The company also plans to show a battery-powered EV with a hydrogen system that triples a zero-emission vehicle’s range.
Toyota will reveal details around its new mobility ecosystem and demo several concept vehicles.