Plugged In: Battery Cars Rule at the Los Angeles Auto Show

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a milestone was achieved with Automobility LA Press Day at the Los Angeles Auto Show, running November 19-28. One press conference after another, all with electrified cars. In fact, the Kia Sportage Hybrid was the only non-battery electric one I first saw. Clearly, the auto industry is increasingly putting internal-combustion engines in diminutive taillights.

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Hyundai’s Ioniq5 will reach consumers this winter. It has both rear and all-wheel drive options. On the former, there’s a 168-kW motor, 225 horsepower and a range of 300 miles. Opting for all-wheel drive and 74- and 165-kW motors on the axle, there’s 320 horsepower and a slightly less 269-mile range.

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But we already knew about the estimated US$45,000 Ioniq5. At the show, we saw the Seven Concept, a mid-sized electric SUV that sits on Hyundai’s electric-global modular platform. Presumably, this is a preview of the upcoming Ioniq7 (coming in 2024). Theoretically, there is a range of 300 miles. The Seven got a glassed-in tail with wild styling and attractive Ioniq Parametric Pixel lighting. Details that would never make it into a production car include rear-hinged pillarless coach doors. The front had the Lucid Echo, and the rear was reminiscent of a concept study for the 1800ES that Volvo produced in 1967.

It was the interior of the Seven that really stood out. It resembles a living room, with swivel front seats in durable fiber, a curved rear sofa, and lots of slide-out compartments and drawers. Other high-tech intake details: a tiny refrigerator, an air-purification system based on airline practice, and technology to power your home during a blackout.

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Hyundai’s global CEO Jose Munoz said the company is striving for carbon neutrality by 2045. And then there’s sister company Kia. Russell Weger, vice president of marketing at Kia Americas, described next year’s new EV6 as “the forefront of global EVs” and said the company will introduce new EV models every year after 2022. The technical details of the EV6 are very similar to the Ioniq5, but there are still a lot of differences. The company’s LA Concept is the angular and upright EV9, with 300 miles per charge. The front seats swivel, and the second row becomes a table. The EV6 has made a real mark in at least one area. The production car traveled more than 2,800 miles across the US, from New York to Los Angeles, with a charge time of just seven hours, 10 minutes and one second, surpassing the record held by Tesla by more than five hours.

Vinfast VF e36 is from Vietnam.

Patrick T. Fallon / AFP via Getty Images

Subaru was about to go green, he built a fake forest inside the convention center. The company is the largest corporate donor to the National Park Foundation, and has paid for 1,000 bear-proof recycling containers. We were shown so many pictures of virgin forests that you would think the company made toothpicks.

Subaru’s first ever electric vehicle, the Solterra, is the result of its partnership with Toyota (which owns 20 percent of the company). The car’s Toyota counterpart is the bZ4X, and they will be built together at the Toyota factory in Japan. Subaru of America President and CEO Tom Doll described the Solterra as “the most technologically advanced Subaru ever built … with genuine Subaru DNA”.

Through a 71.4-kW-hour battery, range is estimated at just over 220 miles. There’s a 160-kW output with two motors. All-wheel drive is standard (and expected in Subarus) and has 30.3 cubic feet of cargo volume. Owners will have access to 38,000 public charging stations. Sales will start next year.

Fisker Ocean is profiled entirely in a different story. The car fits right in amidst a sea of ​​EV introductions.

California-based Mullen Technologies, which grew out of the acquisition of the older Koda Automotive and Mullen Motor Cars, also showed off an electric SUV, the Mullen Five. It had a claimed range of 325 miles, 155 mph, and zeroed to 60 in 3.2 seconds. A base price of US$55,000 is planned.

Japan turned auto manufacturing powerhouse, then it was Korea’s turn. Is Vietnam Next? This was suggested by the introduction of two new EVs from the country’s fast growing Vin Group, which has been in existence for only four years. In that time it became a major player in many markets, including automotive. There is a serious US pushback—US$200 million is being invested in the Los Angeles headquarters.

Vin Group, Vietnam’s largest private company, built its Vinfast SUV prototype with the help of Pininfarina in just 18 months. The video featured a highly automated factory and paint shop. The cars are the Winfast VF E35 and the larger VF E36 (the latter with 422 miles per charge). Their exteriors were well finished, but the interiors were foam-filled fakes. Winfast Global CEO Michael Lohschler said production could arrive in North America as late as 2024.

The Mullen Five claims zero to 60 in 3.2 seconds.

Patrick T. Fallon / AFP via Getty Images

The strangest entry in Los Angeles was the EdisonFuture pickup, a massive effort to have three equal front seating that sits on the same platform as the company’s equally humble van. It’s a product of the Phoenix Group, which has been working on EVs for some time — it brought an electric pickup to the White House in 2007, the company said. US delivery is planned- for 2025. “We’ll be open to reservations over the next few days,” says CEO Joseph Mitchell. EdisonFuture appears to be California-based, but the Chinese parent company is SPI Energy.

At the very opposite end of the EV spectrum were the last mile trucks of BILITI Electric and Indian brothers Raja and Rahul Gayam. The GMW Taskman, which has a six to 10-kilowatt-hour battery and a range of 110 miles, is absolutely bare-bones (steering is by the handlebars of the motorcycle). They are the electric version of the motorized put-put trucks that have plying India’s roads for more than half a century. BUT BILITI think They may operate in a first world, moving goods from warehouses to new owners in urban settings. They are not highway capable—30 mph is the max.

Interesting autos that appeared at the Los Angeles show included the Cobra C300, an electric AC Cobra that was said to have 600 horsepower and zero to 62 mph of just 2.7 seconds; and a faithful Electra Mechanica replica of the 1959 Porsche 356 Cabriolet, which is also battery-powered, with a range of up to 190 miles from a 50-kilowatt-hour battery. It will be able to reach 60 in 6.5 seconds with a price tag of US$120,000 to US$150,000.


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