CES 2020: Automotive Highlights

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceCES 2020: Automotive Highlights
A huge trade show, CES 2020 in Las Vegas hosted more than 175,000 attendees as the world’s largest gathering of innovators, business leaders and interrupters in consumer technologies, with more than 4,500 companies represented. Originally known as the Consumer Electronics Show, for more than 50 years CES has been the stage for new technologies and innovations before they enter the marketplace, including — in recent years — the latest from the automotive industry. What follows is a quick check-in covering automotive highlights at CES 2020.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceAudi AI:ME Vision
At CES 2020 Audi showed the AI:ME Vision, a fully autonomous car without a driver that Audi describes as a lounge for the city of tomorrow, allowing occupants to use their time onboard for communication, entertainment or relaxation. The Audi AI:ME debuted at Auto Shanghai 2019 and is part of the family of concept vehicles that launched in 2017, including the AI:CON for long-distance driving, the AI:RACE for the track, and the AI:TRAIL for all-terrain driving.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceAudi AI:ME Vision
The Audi AI:ME compact offers maximum interior comfort and a high-tech refuge with automated level 4 driving that allows the steering wheel, instruments and pedals to be concealed by a surface of open-pore walnut. Magnets function as cupholders to hold metal cups or plates in place. The interior also features VR googles for surfing the web, watching movies or interactive gaming. Real plants keep the cabin light and airy affording occupants a subtle hint of nature in high-tech surroundings.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceAudi Q4 e-tron Concept
Audi also showed the Q4 e-tron concept that debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2019 — an all-electric compact SUV that will be the fifth series production electric vehicle from Audi when it rolls out at the end of 2020. Two electric motors power the front and rear axles of Q4 e-tron, with a total system output of 302 horsepower. The rear motor produces 201 horsepower and the front motor produces 101 horsepower, allowing Q4 e-tron to accelerate from zero to 62 mph in 6.3 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 112 mph.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceAudi Q4 e-tron Concept
The 82 kWh battery is positioned in the underbody between the axles and can be charged to 80 percent capacity in a little more than 30 minutes. There is no mechanical link between the axles; an electronic control system distributes torque to both axles for quattro all-wheel drive. Torque is generally delivered with a rear-wheel bias, but the system can apply more torque to the front axle as needed.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW i3 Urban Suite Concept
BMW tailors the all-electric i3 to provide a comfortable, relaxing experience for a single passenger with the i3 Urban Concept, transforming the interior to what BMW describes as the feel of a boutique hotel. Only the driver’s seat and dashboard remain from the production i3; this i3 Urban Concept intends to create a comfortable environment where the occupant can work, enjoy entertainment or simply relax.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW i3 Urban Suite Concept
Coach doors offer easy access to the interior of the BMW i3 Urban Suite Concept, which features a lounge chair in place of the i3’s rear bench seat with the front passenger seat removed. The interior gets trimmed in fabric and wood with minimal use of leather. The occupant may use a footrest, a screen that flips down from the headliner, and a table / lamp combination to the left of the lounge chair.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceByton M-Byte
Byton is not a common automaker name to most American consumers, but that might change in years to come. The company based in Nanjing, China, has a global design studio in Munich, Germany, and a research and development facility in Santa Clara, California. Byton first took the wraps off the all-electric M-Byte crossover at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, and the North American Premier was at 2020 CES. Designed around connectivity and personal experience, the M-Byte is described by the company as a “next-generation smart device on wheels.”

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceByton M-Byte
The Byton M-Byte is a stylish crossover with an advanced electric powertrain that combines a 150 kW motor on the front axle and a 200 kW motor for the rear axle with a choice of 72 kWh or 95 kWh batteries. The M-Byte’s interior sets it apart from other crossover offerings, primarily with a 48-inch curved display screen that can be customized to each individual, changing via facial recognition. The interface is designed to be as natural as possible, with interactions occurring via voice, gesture and touch control. The M-Byte is slated to go on sale in China in 2020 and arrive in Europe and the U.S. in 2021.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceFCA Airflow Vision Concept
Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s Airflow Vision concept functions as a testbed for a new generation of luxury transportation with a new User Experience showcasing how the driver and passengers interact with technology. Inside, multiple display screens offer customization and personalization, and the driver can share information with passengers and include them in the experience.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceFCA Airflow Vision Concept
The FCA Airflow Vision shares the dimensions of the Chrysler Pacifica PHEV. The flat floor creates a spacious interior with premium suede and leather materials providing luxurious touchpoints for its occupants. Seats have a slim structure and pedestal base that contribute to the Airflow Vision’s overall roominess. The exterior has a clean, sleek design with a long wheelbase and an elegant silhouette, finished in Arctic White with a Celestial Blue underbody. The wheels are inspired by mechanical elements of an electric motor.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceFiat Concept Centoventi
The Fiat Concept Centoventi makes its North American debut at CES 2020 after premiering at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. Centoventi, which translates to 120 in Italian, was introduced to celebrate Fiat’s 120-year history and represents the brand’s vision of electric mobility for the future. Produced in one color, the Centoventi may be “painted” by the customer using Fiat’s “4U” personalization program, and the exterior may be configured with a choice of 4 roof options, 4 bumpers, 4 wheel covers and 4 external wrappings.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceFiat Concept Centoventi
Inside the Concept Centoventi, the instrument cluster, storage compartments, seats and child-restraint systems are interchangeable and customizable by the customer. Even vehicle range may be adapted to meet customer needs — from 60 miles to 300 miles — making the Centoventi perfect for urban commuting or a weekend getaway by the sea or mountains. With car sharing in mind, a small screen facing outward from the windshield can display information such as busy, free and parking paid. At the rear, a screen can share messages but will only show the Fiat logo while in motion.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceFisker Ocean
An all-electric luxury SUV, the Fisker Ocean premiered at CES 2020 and is scheduled to begin arriving in 2022, with reservations currently open. Fisker announced that in addition to the previously announced lease starting at $379 per month, the Ocean will be available to purchase starting at $37,499 for a limited number of vehicles.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceFisker Ocean
To create an open-air experience, the Fisker Ocean offers “California Mode,” which lowers or slides nine glass windows or panels to open the cabin with one touch. According to Fisker, the Ocean rides on a fully-engineered platform, and more details will be released during 2020. The Ocean will have a target range of 250–300 miles. Features include a full-length solar roof, carpeting made from recycled materials, a vegan interior as well as Eco-suede material from recycled sources.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceFord Mustang Mach-E
Following its recent debut at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show, Ford showcased the Mustang Mach-E at CES 2020. The first Mustang that is not a sporty coupe or convertible, the Mach-E will also be the first mainstream electric vehicle from Ford. Available in five trim levels ranging from the base-level Select to the high-performance GT, the Mustang Mach-E offers seating for up to five occupants in a very roomy cabin. Clear visual cues connect the Mach-E with classic Mustang styling, such as the running Mustang pony logo front and center in what would be the grille if the electric Mach-E needed a grille. At the rear are familiar Mustang taillights that illuminate in sequence.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceFord Mustang Mach-E
The GT sits atop the Mach-E lineup — an all-wheel-drive vehicle with dual electric motors generating 459 horsepower and 612 lb-ft of torque. Ford estimates the Mustang Mach-E will sprint to 60 mph in about 3.5 seconds. With 20-inch forged dark-finish wheels, red brake calipers and a unique grille, the GT will certainly stand out as something special. Depending on trim level, the Mach-E will be available with battery packs that offer either a standard or an extended range. For rear-wheel-drive variants with the extended-range battery, Ford estimates a range of 300 miles on a single full charge. Prices for the Mustang Mach-E will start at $43,895 when it arrives late in 2020.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceHonda Augmented Driving Concept
The topless Honda Augmented Driving Concept examines the transition to autonomous vehicles, offering vehicle occupants the choice between fully autonomous driving or enjoying the experience of driving in a variety of modes. The system can be easily switched between an automatic or manual experience, and features more than eight modes from fully autonomous to various levels of semi-autonomous operation. The autonomous driving system is constantly on standby to intervene and control the vehicle if needed.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceHonda Augmented Driving Concept
Numerous sensors in the Augmented Driving Concept continuously read the driver’s intention and smoothly shift between these modes for an instinctive driving experience. The Honda Augmented Driving Concept features a new type of steering wheel to control the vehicle’s function. The vehicle starts with a double tap of the steering wheel, and the ADC accelerates as the steering wheel gets pushed forward, and it slows when the steering wheel gets pulled back.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceHyundai S-A1 Concept
One of the most popular vehicles at CES 2020, the Hyundai S-A1 Concept is a full-scale air taxi that debuted in conjunction with an announcement that Hyundai Motor Company and Uber have formed a partnership to develop Uber Air Taxis for a future aerial ride-share network. In designing S-A1, Hyundai worked to optimize electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for aerial ridesharing purposes. The S-A1 Concept is designed for a cruising speed up to 180 mph at an altitude of 1,000 to 2,000 feet for trips up to 60 miles.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceHyundai S-A1 Concept
The Hyundai S-A1 takes off vertically, transitions to wing-borne lift in cruise, and then transitions back to vertical flight to land. Initial iterations will be piloted, with the intention to transition to autonomous operation when technologically feasible. In the partnership between Hyundai and Uber, Hyundai will produce and deploy the air vehicles, and Uber will provide airspace support services, connections to ground transportation and customer interfaces through an aerial ride-share network.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceJeep Compass 4xe
Jeep showed three Plug-In Hybrid Electric vehicles at 2020 CES in support of Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s plan for all Jeep models to offer electrification options by 2022. FCA didn’t provide any details or additional information, but all three vehicles look exactly like the current production models with a plug-in port and 4xe badging, which Jeep said will be on all electrified Jeep models. The first electrified Jeep model at CES was the Jeep Compass 4xe — the plug-in hybrid version of Jeep’s compact SUV.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceJeep Renegade 4xe
Jeep also offered a first look at the Jeep Renegade 4xe, also a plug-in hybrid version of the current entry-level Jeep crossover. Jeep did say that all three of the Jeep 4xe models shown at CES will debut in 2020, so look for an official production version later this year. Jeep reps also said that more information on all three plug-in hybrid models will be announced at the Geneva, New York and Beijing auto shows.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceJeep Wrangler 4xe
Jeep’s most iconic model that launched the entire brand, the Wrangler displayed at CES was also a plug-in hybrid. Again, no specific details were announced about the Wrangler 4xe, but it’s fun to imagine silently driving up a mountain road in fully-electric mode, or taking advantage of the instant torque of an electric motor in serious off-road situations. The electrified Jeep models should offer more torque and more immediate response for a better driving experience on-road and even more capability off-road. Everyone will have to wait a little longer for detailed specs about the first three Jeep 4xe plug-in electric models, but it’s safe to say a paradigm shift is on the way.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceLamborghini Huracan EVO
For 2020 Lamborghini adds Amazon Alexa voice control to the Huracan EVO, allowing the driver to use voice commands to adjust functions such as climate control, interior lighting and seat heating. “The Huracan EVO is an outstanding driver’s car, and connectivity enables our customers to focus on the driving, thus enhancing their Lamborghini experience,” said Stefano Domenicali, Chairman and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceLamborghini Huracan EVO
Incorporating Amazon Alexa will also offer Huracan owners access to other connected devices that work with Alexa, such as gates, thermostats and lights, giving occupants the ability to control these devices from the vehicle. Launched in 2019, the Huracan EVO is the latest version of Lamborghini’s 4-wheel drive, mid-engine sports car powered by a 640-horsepower V10 engine.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceMercedes-Benz VISION AVTR
A concept vehicle for a new vision of mobility in the distant future, the Mercedes-Benz VISION AVTR was developed in collaboration with the AVATAR team. Inspired by the world of Pandora, the VISION AVTR is designed to show a new interaction between human, machine and nature. The design was inspired by creatures from the AVATAR film and is an inside-out design that combines exterior, interior and user interface in a new way.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceMercedes-Benz VISION AVTR
In the VISION AVTR, the conventional steering wheel gets replaced by a multifunction controller in the center console. By placing a hand on the control unit, the vehicle comes to life and recognizes the driver by his or her heartbeat and breathing, sending vibrations through the seat to connect with the driver. Passengers can control the vehicle experience by simply lifting a hand; a menu is projected onto the palm of the hand, and different functions can be chosen by closing the hand. Real-time 3D graphics can be used to explore the fictional world of Pandora from different perspectives on a curved display module.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceNissan Ariya Concept
The Nissan Ariya Concept made its North American debut in Las Vegas, following its world debut last fall at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show. Built on an all-new EV platform, the Ariya Concept is a small all-electric crossover that introduces an all-new look for Nissan. Although earlier concepts have provided hints of future design, the Ariya Concept is the closest to a production model thus far. The Ariya Concept includes current Nissan design elements but goes further, both for the brand and for what is likely a unique look for the brand’s electric vehicles. The signature V-Motion grille is still at the front; however, with Ariya the overall size is broader, incorporating thin LED headlights and what Nissan calls the “shield,” emblazoned with an illuminated Nissan logo.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceNissan Ariya Concept
Ariya also features e-4ORCE, Nissan’s new twin-motor all-wheel-control technology that provides instant torque to all four wheels delivering balanced, predictable power and handling. Inside, the Ariya Concept has a simple, clean design with minimal controls. The only physical button is the start button; a knob controls the 12.3-inch display and climate controls, which are fully integrated into the wood instrument panel. All other functions are intriguingly integrated haptic touch controls along the instrument panel that cryptically disappear when the vehicle is off.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceSony VISION-S
One of the biggest surprises at CES 2020 was the debut of the VISION-S — a prototype vehicle from Sony that highlights mobility technology. Designed by Sony and built by Magna Steyr in Austria, Sony VISION-S showcases mobility technology for safety, reliability, comfort and entertainment. While Sony is certainly known as an innovator in many areas, no CES attendees were expecting to see a car. Sony did admit there are no plans for a production version of the VISION-S.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceSony VISION-S
The purpose of Sony VISION-S is to showcase Sony’s automotive technology, including imaging and sensing technologies, as well as AI, telecommunication and cloud technologies to continuously update and evolve features. The Sony VISION-S prototype includes 33 sensors to detect and recognize people and objects inside and outside the car. Inside, Sony VISION-S features a panoramic screen and Sony’s “360 Reality Audio” with speakers in each seat.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceToyota e-Palette
At CES Toyota announced a prototype environment called the Woven City, which the Japanese automaker plans to build on a 175-acre site at the base of Mt. Fuji in Japan. The Woven City will continue research on automated, connected, shared and electrified / hydrogen technologies. The Toyota booth at CES displayed a vision of what life in the Woven City would be like, with automated technology to move throughout the city, including concept vehicles, personal mobility devices and a robot. One of the concept vehicles was the e-Palette that Toyota describes as its first battery-electric vehicle developed specifically for Mobility as a Service applications (MaaS) with automated driving capability, a low floor and open concept interior with extensive configuration options. Alongside the e-Palette, Toyota showed Micro-Palette, an autonomous delivery robot for product and package handling.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceToyota LQ Concept
Toyota also showed the LQ Concept, a next-generation battery-electric advanced technology vehicle with capability for level 4 autonomous driving. The LQ Concept features a new artificial intelligence system called “Yui” that learns from the driver and provides a personalized experience based on the driver’s driving preferences and tastes. Toyota added three different types of battery electric personal mobility devices: Standing BEV, Sitting BEV and Wheelchair -link BEV. Finally, the Toyota HSR robot is designed to support human needs and uses automated functionality and AI technology to learn the surrounding environment with the goal of recognizing objects and avoiding obstacles.

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