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AutoMobility LA, the media-pre-show of the LA Auto Show revealed new electric cars and concepts. The event illustrates how automakers, both new and seasoned, are taking electric utility vehicles to market.
Although the event was smaller than in years past with fewer major automakers displaying their wares, the vehicles on display give a glimpse into the future of electrified mobility in the City of Angels. Trends included sustainability, new technology, versatile designs, more space, and outdoor adventures.
Fisker Ocean Surfs the Waves of Sustainability and Tech
The first premier of the day was the Fisker Ocean and the themes introduced continued throughout the day.
Henrik Fisker’s, the company’s eponymous CEO and designer, showed off the production-ready model of the Fisker Ocean featuring sustainability, affordability, and new technology.
“The main reasons buyers made a reservation for the Fisker Ocean were sustainability and design. The pandemic showed us that people do care about having the world’s most sustainable car and the planet can heal itself. In Italy, fish returned to canals and in Shanghai people could see a blue sky again,” Fisker explained.
Fisker talked about the company’s lean business model and innovative technology that was chosen this year.
There are three models: Fisker Ocean Sport trim level, all-wheel-drive Fisker Ocean Ultra, and the all-wheel-drive Fisker Ocean Extreme.
The Extreme has the largest solar roof in the world, giving drivers emissions (and cash) free driving.
The fully vegan interior uses recycled materials, including reclaimed fishing nets, old t-shirts, and renewed rubber.
The Fisker Ocean also has an innovative touchscreen – at the touch of a button, it can rotate from portrait to landscape.
New Automotive Companies Lead the Way for Traditional Companies
Features created by new automotive companies blaze a new trail for traditional automakers to follow, says Nathan Allen, Professor in Product Design, ArtCenter College of Design. Allen noticed that new automakers’ electric vehicles that require fewer mechanical features create more interior space and storage that is now showing up in traditional automakers.
Another trend is automakers are not just making electric cars – they are designing and adapting electric vehicles to their customers, says Howard Abbey, Consulting Specialist, SBD Automotive.
He noted that the Hyundai IONIQ Seven, KIA’s EV 9, and the Subaru Solterra are catering to their customers’ lifestyles.
Hyundai IONIQ Seven – New Tech and Moving Living Room with Appliances and Big Screen Ceiling
The Hyundai Seven Concept, the latest is the IONIQ electric family, also brought a raft of new features.
José Muñoz, President and CEO of Hyundai Motor North America, called the Seven a monumental leap forward in eco transportation. He noted that Hyundai is investing $7.4 Billion in the US alone to develop smart mobility solutions.
The SEVEN concept is a mid-size sport utility electric vehicle that the company claims can act as an autonomous movable living room. It features asymmetrical pillarless coach doors for easy access and even has “hygienic fabric,” cabin filtration, and UV sterilization for maximum comfort.
It even comes with a shoe care compartment and mini-fridge.
The roof features a panoramic screen, which can display content based on passengers’ tastes and adapt to change the mood in the vehicle.
KIA 9 Concept Showcasing Nature and Sustainability
The KIA 9 concept is inspired by nature, apparently, and uses upcycled materials developed from ocean waste. The BEV-focused grille twinkles with a hidden star cloud pattern display.
The large SUV’s aerodynamics are improved by retractable roof rails that close into the roof at the push of a button. The side-view mirrors are replaced by next-generation cameras. It even has a pop-up steering pad.
The three rows of seats can be configured in a variety of different ways – they can even face each other or face backwards with the rear tailgate open to enjoy nature. The flooring is made from recycled fishing nets, while the seat fabrics are made from recycled plastic bottles and recycled wool fibres. Vegan leather is used throughout the interior.
Subaru Solterra in Nature Giving Back
A faux national park with foliage and natural scents was the panoramic backdrop where Subaru showed the Solterra. The Solterra is great for outdoors or commuting, with the epithet “Love is now electric,” about the first fully electric Subaru.
The Solterra, like all other Subaru models, features symmetrical all-wheel drive, 8.3-inch ground clearance with Subaru X-MODE, and EyeSight Driver assistance.
Subaru not only talked about the vehicle but also the charities that it continually donates to including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. There was even a fenced-off area filled with pets ready for adoption.
The Subaru exhibit evokes the feeling of being in nature. There are places to sit around a campfire or take a hike. The interior display area has a moving pixel floor that makes visitors feel like they are walking on a path. Visitors can climb up to look over the view on a bridge.
More Solar-Powered Vehicles
The Fisker Ocean was not the only vehicle with solar panels.
BILITI electric showcased its three-wheeled electric GMW Taskman with a new feature of solar panels that could be lifted up to charge the entire vehicle in 3 ½ to 4 hours.
EdisonFuture’s electric solar pickup trucks and vans have solar panels that can add 25-35 miles extra a day. EdisonFuture also offers an option for a retractable solar roof that can cover most of the truck.
Lights as Branding
Lighting is being used as a design feature and part of branding by Hyundai and VinFast said SBD Automotive’s Abbey.
VinFast launched its brand with two electric SUV models, the VF e35 and VF e36. The two vehicles lean heavily into lighting, with illuminated “V” logos at the front and rear.
Electrifying Awards from Electrify America
Los Angeles is the home of the many awards and this year charging company Electrify America sponsored the LA Auto Show’s ZEVAS awards. Based on votes from electric vehicle fans and buyers, the ZEVAS winners were announced by the E for Electric YouTube channel creator and host, Alex Guberman.
Winners included the Hyundai KONA Electric, Fisker Ocean, Tesla Model Y, Canoo Lifestyle Vehicle, Tesla Model 3, Lucid Air, Mullen FIVE, and Rivian R1T.
Thrill Rides and Goats
This year there are tracks both inside and outside the Los Angeles Convention Center and Ford is offering rides in the Mustang Mach-e inside the hall.
Outside at the Ford Bronco experience, professional drivers take visitors on thrilling rides using GOAT (Goes Over Any Terrain) modes over Bronco Mountain—a 38-degree hill. The Bronco offers several GOAT modes for different terrains, weather conditions and driving styles.
Did someone say goat? What auto show is not complete without taking time for a selfie with two adorable goats next to a Ford Bronco.
Stay tuned for part two of the AutoMobility LA for new and unusual vehicles coming from Auto Futures