Near the end of 2021, the United States was set to reach a historic high for the number of battery-powered electric vehicles (EVs) sold. Statistics showed a rise of more than 88% through the end of September. Yet, despite that impressive growth, the same study indicated EVs only accounted for 3% of new car sales during the year.
The Future of Electric Vehicles
The researchers pointed out that car shoppers only had about 20 fully electric models available to buy during the study period. What’s more, most were high-end models, out of reach of many consumers who may otherwise seriously think about owning them.
If CES 2022 is any indication, electric car enthusiasts will have a lot to get excited about soon. Many of the debuted models may not be among the most affordable. However, they’ll have style and features to spare.
Sony Launches New Prototype, Announces EV Business Arm
When people think of Sony, most probably envision televisions and game consoles. However, its leaders signaled a new direction at CES 2022. It will establish an operating company called Sony Mobility, Inc. in the spring of this yearthen use it to explore EV market opportunities.
However, Sony isn’t starting from scratch. First, it had an EV prototype called the VISION-S 01, which underwent public road testing. Then, the company introduced the CES crowd to the new VISION-S 02, a sleek SUV.
Various sensors installed on the vehicle help it perceive and analyze three-dimensional space. The system also gives driver alerts, such as through the vehicle’s sound system, to help people stay aware of potential hazards.
Time-of-flight (ToF) sensors inside the car will help the vehicle recognize authorized drivers. They also let people make gestures to perform commands. Customization is the main draw of this car, too.
Each user can customize the car’s display interface and even tweak how the vehicle sounds as it accelerates or slows.
A look at the car’s entertainment offerings shows Sony returning to some other products it sells. For example, if a person has a PlayStation at home, a remote-link feature lets them connect to that console to get thickened in games while inside the vehicle.
They can also use cloud connectivity to download new games. In addition, speakers built into the seats cater to music lovers by recreating the experience of being surrounded by sound at a concert by a favorite artist.
It’s too early to say whether Sony’s official foray into electric vehicles will have a significant impact.
However, it’s promising that the brand had the second of its two prototypes ready to show off at CES. The way Sony fares after this bold move could influence whether other non-car brands decide to venture into the electric vehicles sector.
Volvo Teases Fully Autonomous Driving for Forthcoming Electric Vehicle
The concept of getting into a car and reaching the destination without ever touching the steering wheel has fascinated people for a while. However, Volvo is among the brands intending to make it a reality for some car owners.
While at CES, the auto brand announced stronger partnerships with Luminar, Google, and Qualcomm. Company leaders say those entities will help Volvo move towards a more tech-focused future that includes being a fully electric car company by 2030.
Volvo also previewed planned outcomes of such tech parings. Mats Moberg, head of research and development at Volvo Cars, said, “We are proud to announce the planned US launch of our first truly unsupervised autonomous driving feature, as we look to set a new industry standard for autonomy without compromising safety.”
The autonomous technology includes more than 24 sensors, including Luminar’s high-tech lidar sensor that interacts with the system’s specially developed software.
Moberg continued, “Having Zenseact’s brand new [autonomous driving] software and Luminar’s lidar standard in our new fully electric SUV is a game-changer for Volvo Cars, as well as for automotive safety and autonomous driving.”
California residents will get the first chance to have the so-called Ride Pilot feature on their cars before the brand proceeds with a broader rollout.
Volvo intends to help people expand what they do while traveling. Thanks to Ride Pilot, their cars will take them where they need to go while the individuals inside engage in activities like reading or writing.
However, the chip shortage affecting Volvo could disrupt these ambitious plans. Its December 2021 sales fell by 18.1% due to the global lack of semiconductors. It’s certainly not alone in dealing with the issue, though, with many other automakers in similar positions.
There’s no single solution to the component shortage, and analysts believe it’s not ending anytime soon. Fortunately, when automakers and people working in other in-demand industries have excellent inventory visibility, it’s easier to adapt as conditions change.
Many tools have built-in forecasting and scalability features, helping users see current statistics and possible scenarios.
Mercedes-Benz Targets Eco-Conscious Electric Vehicle Enthusiasts
The opportunity to drive without relying on fossil fuels is a significant factor in many people’s decision to get EVs. They like that plugging in for power is good for the planet. Plus, it eliminates the money they spend filling up at the gas station pump.
Many individuals make planet-conscious decisions that span far beyond transportation and extend to all aspects of their lives. Mercedes-Benz has those people in its sights with the VISION EQXX electric car. It has fantastic examples of what manufacturers can do if they think creatively about using non-traditional materials.
The interior features vegan leather is made from prickly-pear cactus and mushrooms’ root systems. Then, the door trim and steering wheel have a polyester material made from recycled plastic bottles.
While the carpets include 100-percent bamboo fibers, Mercedes-Benz achieved an auto industry first by working with a vegan silk company. That luxurious material covers the door pulls.
The VISION EQXX also takes major steps in conquering range anxiety. It boasts 620 miles per charge and even has roof solar panels to charge a supplemental battery powering the car’s ancillary systems.
The automobile’s coupe-like body has an aerodynamic design, while the battery pack under the hood is lighter than those in other vehicles from the automaker.
Both of those aspects should help with energy efficiency, too. Mercedes-Benz plans to have this vehicle on the market by 2024.
Chrysler Brings its First All-Electric Vehicle to CES 2022
It may surprise you to learn that Chrysler never had an all-electric vehicle at CES before this year. However, it revealed a change in the future with a white Airflow Concept, which should be available to purchase by 2025.
The automobile’s front and back have two 150-kilowatt batteries. They should collectively provide 350-400 miles of range and allow people to power up quickly via a fast-charging feature.
The chassis has animated LED lights for an eye-catching look. People can also get interesting perspectives of the passing scenery through the panoramic roof. A look inside the vehicle reveals an unusual, oval-shaped steering wheel besides a much larger display screen.
There’s yet another screen mounted to entertain the front-seat passenger. This one is smaller, indicating the brand’s push to help people bring their digital lives with them on every trip.
People who own this Chrysler model can also use it for Level 3 autonomous driving. Plus, since the car supports over-the-air updates, it’s easy for owners to stay current with the latest features.
Despite the Airflow Concept’s appealing style and user-friendly features, some analysts wonder if Chrysler has left it too late to entice people with electric vehicles.
The increasing availability of other models from brands more established in the EV market may mean consumers don’t consider Chrysler a go-to option.
The Electric Vehicle Market is Getting More Exciting
People seeking inspiration from electric vehicles can find it in this CES 2022 coverage and articles elsewhere.
These new cars show us what’s possible.
Still, it’s unclear whether the manufacturers in question can overcome obstacles such as the chip shortage and road tests showing autonomous driving is a safe option.
In any case, we have a lot to look forward to while watching the electric vehicle market evolve.
Image Credit: Pixabay; pexels; Thank you