CES has been a must-attend event for automakers for 15 years now, ever since Ford made big headlines by introducing its SYNC infotainment and communications system at the annual Las Vegas tech showcase in 2007. Plenty of vehicles and whiz-bang tech features have headlined at the show since then, but CES 2022 has been a particularly big blockbuster of new vehicle announcements.
Though Covid-19 cancellations ended up making many of the debuts virtual, automakers showcased or announced a slate of new concepts, cars and trucks this week, all of them EVs. Originally known as the Consumer Electronics Show, it’s only natural that CES would become more important in the era of electrification and semi-autonomous driving but, unlike in some past years, many of 2022’s CES debuts seem quite close to drivable reality and a few will hit lots next year. Here are some of the highlights.
BMW iX M60
BMW’s all-electric iX SUV debuted back in September but still hasn’t hit U.S. showrooms. That did not stop Munich’s finest from taking the wraps off of the first-ever all-electric M-badged performance car, the iX M60. Though its aero-optimized styling is an opinion splitter, its speed won’t be. With 610 horsepower and up to 811 pound-feet of torque, BMW says the iX M60 will gallop to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds, a hair faster than a full-fledged M-car, the similarly-sized, V8-powered X5 M Competition.
The SUV’s flat floor, enabled by its skateboard-style EV platform means more interior room and a lower center of gravity than the X5, too. After thrashing the SUV around their favorite road or racecourse, drivers can expect the iX M60 can charge to 80% battery power on a DC fast charger in as little as 35 minutes. Deliveries are expected to begin in June, and the M60 will start at $106,095. Click here to read our full story on the iX M60.
The public got its first glimpse of Chrysler’s all-electric future back at the 2020 CES, when the “Vision Airflow” debuted as a static styling mockup meant to showcase an open, airy interior design. The mystery concept appeared again in 2021 in a pair of parent automaker Stellantis’ media days, but almost nothing was said about the model at the time. On Wednesday the automaker finally took the wraps off of the long-awaited crossover and talked extensively about the brand’s future.
Over the past decade, Chrysler’s lineup has dwindled to just two vehicles, the aging 300 sedan and the new-in-2017 Pacifica minivan, and rumors have circulated for years that the brand might be headed out to pasture like DeSoto and Plymouth. Not so fast, says Chrysler Brand CEO Christine Feuell. The Airflow, due isn’t due until 2025 but heralds a new generation of all-electric Chryslers. Feuell told Forbes Wheels that four to six other models may eventually join it, among other details revealed in our full Airflow story.
Chevrolet Equinox EV
Pandemic-related slowdowns hurt its numbers in 2021, but the practical, unpretentious and affordable Chevrolet Equinox was the third-best selling SUV in America in 2020 according to data from Motor Intelligence. That makes GM’s decision to give it a dazzling tech-heavy makeover a big deal for consumers. GM did not give any mechanical specifics beyond the fact that it will use an Ultium battery when it teased the 2024 Equinox EV at CES, but what it did show has all the makings of a very desirable family crossover.
Where previous Equinoxes have been plain, even a little cheap feeling, the Equinox EV’s sleek and athletic design would look at home in a Buick store and bears some resemblance to that GM brand’s Envision SUV. Inside, forward passengers are treated to a wall of screens that would look at home in a Lexus or an Audi. Chevrolet says the electric Equinox will start at around $30,000, about $3,000 more than today’s base model, with deliveries expected to begin in the fall of 2023.
Chevrolet Silverado EV
Pickups accounted for nearly one in four new vehicle sales in 2021, and legacy automakers and EV startups alike have been readying an onslaught of fully-electric trucks to tempt truck buyers. Many people expected Chevrolet to follow Ford’s F-150 Lightning with an electrified adaptation of its existing (and new in 2019) Silverado pickup, but GM has zigged in a different direction.
Instead of re-using the architecture of the traditional body-on-frame trucks, it’s based on skateboard-platform, unibody architecture shared with GMC’s Hummer EV Pickup. Like the Hummer, it also features an integrated bed and a relatively low payload capacity, but a very SUV-like layout reminiscent of the long-departed Chevrolet Avalanche. The Silverado EV will go on sale next year and debut as a work truck, with a high-end street truck trim to follow. For more details, read our deep dive on the Silverado EV.
Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX
At first glance, this new concept from Mercedes-Benz looks like a high-performance machine. Indeed, it has a drag coefficient of just .17, the stuff of pure-bred land speed record cars or LeMans racers and a bit below the ultra-slippery EQS’s .20. The aerodynamics, however, are aimed at maximizing its range rather than blasting around the Nürburgring. The automaker claims that the car’s lightweight and hyper-efficient systems are capable of delivering an astonishing claimed 621 miles of range from a sub-100-kWh battery pack.
Designed to showcase the next generation of the automaker’s electric tech, the EQXX’s battery pack is half the size of the one in the EQS, 30% lighter and boasts a 20% boost in cell energy density. It also uses an innovative passive air-cooling system to reduce stress on the cells. About the size of a C-Class or a Tesla 3, Mercedes-Benz Chief Technology Officer Markus Schäfer told the CES audience that many elements of the EQXX will make it to production, perhaps as early as 2024. For more on the EQXX, read our full story.
Sony Vision-S SUV
Two years after showing its Vision-S sedan at CES, Japanese electronics giant Sony returned for 2022 armed with a midsize crossover in the same vein, the Vision-S 02. Many EV startups, and many legacy companies attempting to break into the car market, have shown prototypes at CES over the years but both of Sony’s Vision-S designs seem remarkably well thought out, with many details that look nearly production-ready.
That said, Sony has no direct carmaking experience, and while it announced a partnership with supplier Magna-Steyr to help make the earlier Vision-S sedan roadworthy, it’s unclear who might help build the vehicles. The company says the Vision-S 02 will have seating for four or seven passengers depending on configuration and be powered by a pair of 268-horsepower electric motors. Range, price and an on-sale date remain unknown. Read on here for more information on the Vision-S and Sony’s plans.
Cadillac’s concepts at last year’s CES, the box-on-wheels SocialSpace and the flying, drone-like PersonalSpace didn’t seem to have much to do with any existing Cadillac. This year the brand is showcasing a much more relatable machine, the InnerSpace coupe. Like last year’s machines, on the inside, the InnerSpace is a vision of the self-driving future, a pampering, whisper-quiet lounge space with no traditional controls.
Unlike the previous “spaces,” the InnerSpace’s exterior takes cues from Cadillac Coupes of yore, from the 1967 Eldorado to the 2013 ElMiraj concept, and remixes them into a futuristic lozenge shape reminiscent of Audi’s Skysphere concept. The side doors are complemented by a flip-open top, another late 1960s style detail once seen on far-out concepts like the 1969 Dodge Charger III or 1970 Lancia Stratos Zero. This reinvented personal-luxury car seems unlikely to hit the road anytime soon, but Byran Nesbitt, GM’s Global Advanced Design and Global Architecture Studio executive director summed up the ethos by adding that the company is “Envisioning mobility as an ally of wellness, giving customers the ultimate luxury, more personal time rather than taking it.”
BMW iX Flow
In the opening sequence of Cannonball Run II, that long ago Burt Reynolds chase extravaganza, a pair of Lamborghini-driving racers (actresses Susan Anton and Catherine Bach) outwit the cops by changing their Countach’s white paint to red with a trick (and unexplained) chemical process. Now BMW has made this fantasy possible with E Ink, the technology used to make text appear on e-readers like Amazon’s Kindle, although the choices of colors are limited to white or gray and the iX SUV is not exactly a Lamborghini.
The surface of the iX flow is coated in millions of microcapsules of E Ink, which contain negatively charged white pigments and positively charged dark ones. Depending on your preference you can shift the hue between either, with the pigments moving towards the surface by means of an electrical field. The effect is dramatic even if the palette is limited, but don’t expect to see this paint on an iX you can take home anytime soon. BMW says the SUV is purely a design experiment.
Chevrolet Blazer EV
The most mysterious reveal at CES 2022 was General Motors’ CEO Mary Barra’s announcement that in addition to the Equinox EV, Chevrolet will also build a fully-electrified Blazer by the end of 2023. While splashy pictures of the Equinox EV abounded, just what the Blazer EV will look and feel like isn’t as clear. The current, gas-powered Blazer was introduced in 2019, but given GM’s migration of EVs to platforms based on the Ultium battery architecture, this new model may be a larger, longer-range version of the Equinox EV rather than an adaptation of the existing Blazer.
Given that GM’s existing Bolt EV and EUV have ranges of at least 247 miles, chances are good the new Chevy EVs will offer at least that, but the Blazer’s larger footprint might mean multiple battery options. Barra also hinted at a wide range of trims. Given that the Equinox is slated to start at $30,000 and the current Blazer starts at nearly $35,000, a price in the $36-39,000 range seems likely. When more details become available, we’ll bring them to you.
After a splashy debut at November’s Los Angeles Auto Show, Vietnamese automaker VinFast showed off a trio of new crossovers at CES 2022. While the company may be short on heritage, having only been founded in 2017 (Parent company VinGroup dates to 1993) it has big ambitions. In 2022 it plans to go fully electric, start selling cars in the U.S. and build a battery factory here. Because VinFast has no long legacy of internal combustion cars, that first goal is a little easier to meet than it would be for a more established company.
Los Angeles saw the company showcase the $41,000 VF8 and $56,000 VF9 SUVs, roughly the size of the Hyundai Santa Fe and Palisade. The VF8 is claimed to have 300 miles of range, and the VF9 roughly 420. At CES, VinFast Global CEO Le Thi Thu Thuy took the wraps off of three smaller machines, the subcompact VF5, smallish VF6, and compact VF7, comparable in size to the Hyundai Venue, Kia Seltos, and Honda CR-V, respectively. Though power, range, and pricing were not announced, these EVs are all stylish machines. Stay tuned for more details.