Tomorrowâ€™s cars are on show today in Las Vegas
For several years now, car manufacturers have been flocking to the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas to show off their latest flashy, cutting-edge tech. Itâ€™s now not unusual to see car brands vying for attention alongside smartphone makers.
This year, theyâ€™re back out there in force, demonstrating technology that will be coming to tomorrowâ€™s cars. But this year, there are also several new or revived brands jostling for attention alongside the big car firms. Here are six things you need to know from this yearâ€™s show.
Byton is a Chinese start-up to be taken seriously. It was founded by the man who used to lead BMWâ€™s i division and its first model, an SUV, is bang on the money. This all-electric model has a claimed range of 323 miles, which is better than an entry-level Tesla Model X, and itâ€™s also predicted to cost around half what the Tesla does: from around Â£33,000 when it arrives in Europe in 2019.
This stylish concept is almost production-ready, giving a choice either of a single 268bhp electric motor, or two motors that together produce 469bhp (and giving it four-wheel drive capability). Inside, it has an amazing full-length infotainment screen, although this may not reach production in quite this form. Donâ€™t expect facial recognition cameras to unlock it, eitherâ€¦
A stunning-looking four-door electric car thatâ€™s due to go on sale in the UK by 2020, and will cost from under Â£100,000. The claimed range is 400 miles and Fiskerâ€™s innovative batteries promise to let just a nine-minute recharge generate a range of 125 miles.
The butterfly doors are stylish yet itâ€™s also roomy enough inside for four or five people. Naturally, it has self-driving tech, plus an interior lavished in infotainment screens, particularly for those in the rear. If the Emotion is too expensive, Fiskerâ€™s planning a second EV, that will sell for a lower price, in higher numbers.
Kia Niro EV
Another all-electric car, the Niro EV is a fully electric version of the regular Niro petrol-electric hybrid. Itâ€™s shown here in concept guise but the production version wonâ€™t be far behind, and wonâ€™t look much different.
The 201bhp electric motor gives a range of 238 miles, and Kia says it will offer an additional battery so buyers can choose between range or price. The concept also packs in technology of the future, such as facial recognition, gesture-controlled infotainment and a super-fast 5G internet connection.
Kiaâ€™s parent company Hyundai chose CES to reveal its new hydrogen fuel cell car, the Nexo. The claimed range is over 500 miles, and 20 percent more power should give it a 0-62mph time of a scant 9.5 seconds. These are big improvements over the Nexoâ€™s predecessor, the Hyundai ix35 fuel cell, yet this fully-bespoke model will be arriving in showrooms before 2018 is out.
Clever features include a blindspot monitor that lets the driver see whatâ€™s behind and alongside them without the need to look over their shoulder, and autonomous driving functionality at speeds of up to 90mph.
This isnâ€™t a car, but a self-driving â€˜platformâ€™, that other companies can use as a base for their own self-driving fleets. The Toyota e-Palette is completely customisable outside and in, and the plan is to offer it in several different sizes â€“ all with fail-safe self-driving functionality and electric drive.
Valeo electric city car
How tempting does an electric city car for just Â£6000 sound? Valeo has worked with a Shanghai university to create this concept, replacing the petrol engine of the Chinese Zhidou model with a 48-volt electric motor. The range is 62 miles, the top speed is 62 miles per hour, and Valeo reckons its capabilities are fine for 80 percent of all city commutes.