The race for car makers to create viable consumer electric vehicles has been on for a decade or more. Nice thing with new inventions, is that there gets to be kwaai concept cars out there, testing the market for impressions, and styling hard with hi-tech gadgetry that often doesn’t get to market but gives the car makers an opportunity to go all out on the design floor.
Electric vehicles were front and centre of the auto section at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), a high-tech trade event in Las Vegas this year.
From the downright strange to the ready-for-road, the CES show boasted quite the collection.
Here’s a selection. First off, we have what is not technically a car, but is created by two important automotive players, Hyundai and Uber. The Hyundai S-A1 Urban Air Mobility is a flying taxi that can seat four passengers and a driver, a quadcopter to beat any traffic jam.
Then, tech and entertainment giant Sony has hopped into the car market with the Sony Vision-S concept car, literally packed with gadget heaven from touch screens to gaming, music and movies. The Vision-S is a showcase of the Japanese tech conglomerate’s many strengths, as well as having a bit of a Porsche look to the front and going zero to hero in 4.5 seconds.
Mercedes Vision AVTR is simply breathtaking. Designed in conjunction with director James Cameron (Avatar, Titanic) the car is literally the beginnings of a merge between man and machine. There’s no steering wheel, as this futuristic car is theoretically autonomous.
A controller rises up out of the console to meet your hand, and it reads your vitals.
Anyway, it can move sideways like a crab, has vibrating seats and 33 bionic flaps equipped with cameras.
Jeep, long a symbol of extreme petrol consumption, has been slow into the electric vehicle race but brought the Jeep 4x4, and has committed to providing electric versions of its range.
Not all the cars on the show were concepts. The Ford Mustang Mach E GT is an electric vehicle in production for the end of 2020, but already sold out.
With a range of over 400km on full charge and a price of roughly R850 000 the electric option is starting to make sense.