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The Consumer Electronics Show, which in recent years have been used by carmakers to present their latest technology as the lines between the two sectors fades. Some autonomous and electric cars are expected to be unveiled at this years CES in Las Vegas. The 2018 CES opens today, Sunday the 7th of January, and runs to Friday the 12th of January.
Byton, the EV brand launched by Chinese social media giant Tencent in September will unveil its crossover EV on the first day of the CES. Byton recently opened offices in Silicon Valley with the intention to also sell its vehicles in the USA. Byton CEO and co-founder, Carsten Breitfield, was responsible for the development of the BMW i8. Byton’s strategy is to produce Smart Intuitive Vehicles by marrying German design, technologies from Silicon Valley with low-cost Chinese manufacturing. The Byton Crossover will showcase the company’s vision to redesign the cockpit to deliver an autonomous and personalized digital experience which it labels as the iPhone on wheels.
The Alibaba backed XPENG Motors will present the XPENG Identity X to the US market. The XPENG Identity X is an “internet car” or ‘connected-car” and is already delivering its first 1,000 units built at Haima‘s plant according to a corporation agreement entered into between the companies to help XPENG bridge the gap to the opening of its 50,000 unit plant in 2019.
Fisker Inc will unveil its production-ready Fisker eMotion which it intends to bring to market in 2019. Henry Fisker, one of the fathers of the modern day electric vehicle teased some images this week of the eMotion to be showcased at this years CES. Fisker Inc will also present its solid state battery technology which it says will revolutionize electric cars.
Hyundai will name and unveil its next-generation hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicle equipped with new Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) technologies.
KIA will unveil its EV Concept this week which will showcase its new efficient electric drivetrain and motion graphic lighting system. The Korean automaker teased the following images of the electric concept.
Let’s hope that the EVs showcased at the 2018 CES does not flop like Faraday Future which had a disastrous launch of the FF91 at the 2017 CES. While on the subject, Faraday Futures founder, Jia Yueting, has been blacklisted in China and requested to come home to face his creditors. Jia Yueting, however, announced that he would stay in the USA to complete a billion dollar financing round to save the company. Based on past experiences it difficult to believe his claims though.
Electric Bicycle company, Sondors, presented its prototype electric car which was built through a crowdfunding initiative. The Model Sondors EV is a three-wheel electric car with a starting price of just over $10,000. Sondors is now busy with its second round fundraising to develop a production-spec car by taking pre-order reservations for $100. Sondors aims to bring the car to market by 2019 and will join other brands such as Morgan, Electra Meccanica and Shockwave producing three-wheelers.
Aurora, an autonomous vehicle technology company founded by ex-Tesla executive responsible for the Autopilot program, Sterling Anderson, announced two strategic partnerships this week. Aurora entered into agreements with VW and Hyundai.
Hyundai and Aurora aim to develop Level 4 autonomous cars by 2021. The cars will be custom made by Hyundai for use in smart cities and will use Hyundai’s new-generation fuel-cell vehicle shown above as the first test model for the joint project.
VW and Aurora announced its partnership at the CES 2018. The partnership will provide best-in-class expertise and experience bringing self-driving cars quickly, broadly and safely. Aurora is to support the Volkswagen Group to make their vision of the future ‘Mobility for all, at the push of a button’ become reality. The VW Self-driving System strategy according to VW Chief Digital Officer Johann Jungwirth:
“Our vision is ‘Mobility for all, at the push of a button’. This means that we want to offer mobility for all people around the world. Mobility also for children, elderly, sick and visually impaired people, really for all. ‘At the push of a button’ stands for simplicity and the easiness of use. In the future people can of course use our mobility app or digital virtual assistant to hail a self-driving electric vehicle to drive them conveniently door-to-door, or use our Volkswagen OneButton which has GPS, connectivity and a compass, as a small beautiful key fob with maximum convenience. Working with Aurora, leading self-driving system company, will give us a giant leap forward in our mission to become the world’s leading provider of sustainable mobility, with self-driving vehicles. Our aim is to create new Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) solutions which customers will be really passionate about because they have been tailored to the human with highest safety standards, best-in-class user experience and digital intelligence. For me this is the reinvention of mobility and the automobile.”
The Chinese Government announced that it would extend the tax rebate for pure electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles set to expire at the end of 2017 to 31 December 2020. In a related move the Government also punished carmakers for not meeting fuel economy targets by suspending production on 553 passenger vehicles from the 1st of January 2018. The Chinese Governments war on pollution is paying dividends already with Beijing recording the lowest air pollution data in 2017 compared to the previous three years.
The French Government suspended rebates for plug-in electric vehicles from the start of 2018. Pure electric passenger cars and light delivery vehicles will still qualify for the €6,000 rebate and a scrapping bonus of €2,500 when replacing a combustion vehicle with an EV.
South Korea officially adopted the widely used CCS (Combo 1) fast charging standard in favor of the CHAdeMO standard used by some carmakers such as Nissan and Renault.
One of the more successful EV start-ups of late, NIO and Chinese Automaker, GAC, entered into an agreement to establish a new EV start-up. The company initially named GAC NIO New Energy Vehicle Co., Ltd. will include R&D, sales, and services related to intelligent and connected new energy vehicles. Total planned investment of the company is RMB 1.28 billion with a registered capital of RMB 500 million, of which NIO, Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Ltd. will account for 55% and 45% of ownership, respectively.
In related news, four more companies joined the Toyota/Mazda/Denso JV, EV C.A. Spirit Co. Suzuki Motor Corp., Subaru Corp., Daihatsu Motor Co. and Hino Motors Ltd. will each contribute engineers to the project but not take any equity in the company.