Las Vegas was the scene of one of the most exciting newcommer fairs: the CES, which in former days was a consumer electronics show and had rather little to do with automobiles. With the introduction of more and more new technology in vehicles, the presentation of the automotive companies increases at this trade fair.
The E-mobility remains, the policy gets their will: while the actual benefits of electric cars for the environment is more than questionable, the distorted certification methods across the world force the automakers to push electric cars and plug-in hybrids in the market. The whipped up “diesel” scandal has further damaged the internal combustion engine in the competition of drive concepts. In addition: the electric cars become more attractive. Audi brings the E-Tron Quattro concept with a range of around 500 kilometers in series, and the price could be almost sensational 60 000 euros. And Daimler wants to bring a whole family of electric cars. There is also the i-family of BMW, and the new concepts of GM and Volkswagen promise driving pleasure.
GM impressed with the Chevrolet bolt, the little brother of the Volt. The athletically superior compact car will go into production this year, and he will not make it easier for competing models such as the BMW i3 or B-class from Mercedes-Benz electrified with Tesla technology. An ominous function under the keyword “Gamification” enables the pilots to compare their driving style in terms of maximum efficiency.
VW tried to score with a minivan concept called Budd-e – with little success, because the current angular design language simply does not match the approach to revive the legendary “Bulli”. However technically the Budd-e line convinces: it is on based on the new power architecture MEB, which will be the base of a number of other models. Wolfsburg (abundantly optimistic) believes that a range as in the gasoline engine and a charging time of half an hour for 80 percent capacity, means “the breakthrough of E-mobility”. After all, it is a step forward.
Audi wants to reclaim the Crown in terms of Interior design and operating concept; this should be succeeded by ultra fast, partly redundant choices based on the new Infotainment architecture MIB 2+ with a new design. It will be introduced in 2017 with the next A8. At the same time, OLED surfaces with haptic feedback are to be incorporated in the Interior. Ricky Hudi, Chief of electronics development, prophesied: “The Interior of the future will change fundamentally the manner in which our customers operates and experiences the car.”
There will be no BMW i8 Spyder. The concept car shown in Las Vegas was selected to show and experience the futuristic cockpit. Should there be more derivatives of the exotic plug-in hybrids, the improvement of performance and driving the Coupé variant will have high priority.
Double spoke steering wheels are back – in any case, the prototype: the BMW i8 Spyder has one, the VW-Budd-e too, the same applies to interior concepts such as by ZF. But who is weary of the conformist pseudo sportiness of the ubiquitous three-spoke wheels, has no reason to rejoice: Currently in series only the BMW i3 and the S-class from Mercedes-Benz offer the two-spoke steering wheel in the upcoming model series to replace (what else?) the three spoke steering wheel.
KIA has created a veritable sub brand for autonomous driving functions — called “Drive Wise”. The booth of the Korean brand invited to experience autonomous driving in a video simulation. And it consisted of a virtual fight, which can be much easier if the driver must not deal with the driving. Is this the “real driving scenario”, which KIA promised in its sales literature?
Tesla still enjoys “Puppy protection”, but the patience of the industry diminishes. Downright reckless handling with customers who act as beta testers for the autonomous driving functions could cause in the worst case a setback for the entire technology. That the Californians praise their ‘autopilot’ as a leader, causes dry laughter under experts. Each of the autonomous driving function in the model S could also be represented by a number of competitors – with a higher degree of perfection. But for other manufacturers this security issue is still not good enough.
The fuel cell lives: Daimler announces a GLC, which produces energy with hydrogen which will go 2017 into series. Why? Mainly because of Japan. The market is small, but it will continue to grow. And maybe hydrogen can displace the large batteries one day.
10. Faraday gave an insight into future plans – but only a bit, because the one-seater 1000 HP sports car at CES has no chance to get into serial production. Actually a crossover SUV should be here, as in the Audi Q5 format and on the same platform as the shown FF Zero1 sports car. But the model is not finished, and so the audience must wait a few more months.