We went to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and it was electrifying (Sorry, we couldn’t resist!) Here are our favorite picks from the many cars, EV’s, and alternative fuel technologies that were displayed at the show.
We took a huge leap into the future when we met Byton at CES. Byton is a startup that revealed their first vehicle this year. The Byton Concept SUV comes with a 49 inch coast-to-coast dashboard display controlled only by gestures. Forget knobs and buttons, just wave your hand around to change stations, find navigation, and turn on the A/C. Similar to its rival Tesla, this electric car has hidden door handles. Don’t get used to looking out your side-view mirrors since this futuristic car only has side-view cameras!
Nissan has been at the forefront of EV innovation with their all-electric LEAF. The brand new 2018 model sitting on the showroom was much different from the LEAF we’re used to. The 2018 LEAF has a more traditional vehicle style and a much-improved battery. The vehicle went from a 30 kWh battery and 107 mile range to a 40 kWh battery and 150 miles. But the most exciting new feature is the semi-autonomous ProPilot Assist System. Similar to cruise control, this feature controls the speed and steering wheel for you (but you still need to keep your hands free and your attention focused).
Low speed electric vehicles are a light-weight car, most popular in China. These vehicles typically look like golf carts and small cars and are in the same category as e-bikes, e-scooters, and e-motorcycles. They’re perfect for riding around the neighborhood and carrying light loads (sorry, but you won’t be able to fit your new couch in it). With a top speed of about 50 miles per hour, they are highly sustainable while still low cost. This type of vehicle hasn’t made headway in the states yet, but expect to see these cruising around your neighborhood in the coming years. The below image is of an LSEV from last year's CES.
The Gogoro scooter in Taiwan is most notable for its swappable battery. Owners can swap their battery at numerous charging stations around the country. This feature cuts down cost on the battery maintenance and allows the company to recharge and/or recycle the battery. Notice how your smartphone battery starts to lose charge over time? When you first purchased the phone, one charge could last at least a whole day but by the end of the battery’s life, it could barely last half a day. This concept is similar to an electric car’s battery. With the swappable battery, you can keep your scooter and range at top performance for years!
And of course, we’re back to Nissan. Nissan’s concept car, the IMx, is a feat of engineering and design. It has a sleek, crossover look that makes it entirely aerodynamic. Its hidden door handles, door-to-door dash display, and side-view cameras are similar to the Byton concept car. However, this vehicle has surround sound in the headrest and a collapsible steering wheel and pedals when not in use for ultimate comfort. It even includes Nissan's ProPilot Assist System. Of course, we don’t expect this to land at the same pricepoint as the LEAF, but it will surely be a hit with consumers if it goes to market.
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