If there were any doubts about the future of electric cars in the U.S., the press preview days at the 2021 Angeles Auto Show should offer some clarity. With few exceptions, the new vehicles at this year’s show — which is open to the public from November 19–28 at the L.A. Convention Center — are either full electric or electrified, providing plenty of choices for buyers in market for a new EV. At the preview, new, exciting EVs debuted from major automakers such as Ford, Subaru, Nissan, Hyundai and Kia, as well as lesser-known brands including Fisker, VinFast, EdisonFuture and Mullen. Here’s a look at the highlights from the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show.
With a starting price of $37,499, the stylish, full electric Fisker Ocean SUV is designed to be one of the most sustainable vehicles available when production begins next year. The Ocean represents the first vehicle to come from California-based Fisker Inc. — a company headed by automotive designer Henrik Fisker. Responsible for iconic vehicles such as the BMW Z8, Aston Martin DB9 and Fisker Karma, the designer now intends to create an EV that not only looks good but raises the bar for sustainability — from materials to production. The Ocean possesses a wide range of premium surfaces and textures that give this electric SUV a unique, luxurious ambience. In keeping with the vehicle’s sustainability theme, the interior materials are made from recycled plastic bottles, repurposed rubber waste, worn t-shirts and abandoned fishing nets.
Taking advantage of an electric powertrain that resides completely beneath the floor, Fisker was able to give the Ocean a spacious, inviting interior. The SUV possesses plenty of headroom front and rear, and rear-seat occupants will enjoy a surprising amount of legroom. Overall, the Ocean has a clean look with few physical buttons or controls. The seats are a unique Fisker design that accommodates deep bolsters without any seams to mar the presentation. The Fisker Ocean will be available with a single motor powering the front wheels, or with dual-motor all-wheel drive — the latter generating as much as 550 horsepower — which propels the Ocean to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. Two different batteries will be available, with projected ranges as much as 350 miles. Fisker says production of the Ocean will begin on November 17, 2022 — exactly one year from the day the SUV made its debut at the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show — at the carbon-neutral Magna manufacturing facility in Graz, Austria.
Hyundai also provided a look to the future with the debut of the SEVEN concept, an advanced sport-utility electric vehicle. The SEVEN concept is built on Hyundai Motor Group’s Electric Global Modular Platform. This dedicated battery-electric platform features a long wheelbase and a flat floor, making it possible to create a completely new class of vehicle like the SEVEN. The SEVEN would have a range of more than 300 miles with ultra-fast charging capability — able to go from 10 percent to 80 percent charge in about 20 minutes.
The SEVEN takes advantage of its flat floor by incorporating a unique, inviting interior. Rather than the traditional three rows of seats, the SEVEN features a curved bench seat with swiveling lounge chairs, creating an interior that feels more living room than vehicle. The SEVEN can be operated in autonomous driving mode, which allows the seats to be rearranged for a more intimate space. Hyundai also uses sustainable materials to outfit the SEVEN, including mineral plaster, bamboo trim and carpet, bio resin, copper, and hygienically treated fabric with antibacterial functions so surfaces stay clean. To further protect its occupants, SEVEN activates UVC interior sterilization once people vacate the vehicle.
Subaru joins the burgeoning electric vehicle fray with its first full electric model — the all-new Solterra. Sporting a name derived from a combination of the Latin words for sun and earth, the 2023 Subaru Solterra stays true to the brand’s ethos with an advanced all-wheel drive system, off-road capability and the latest advanced safety systems. The exterior styling of the 2023 Solterra EV is a bit of a departure from other vehicles in the Subaru lineup, although some similarities are evident. The front fascia mimics hexagonal grilles found on other models; however, since the new Solterra is all electric it doesn’t need an actual grille opening for engine cooling. Slim LED headlights flank Solterra’s solid fascia along with stylish LED running lights.
When it goes into production, the Solterra will be built on a new e-Subaru Global Platform engineered in partnership with Toyota as dedicated battery-electric vehicle architecture. (Toyota will sell the strangely-named bZ4X on the same platform.) Batteries get stored beneath the floor as part of the vehicle’s structure, which also provides a lower center of gravity as well as improved rigidity and body strength. The 2023 Subaru Solterra employs two electric motors — one powering each axle — to create a new Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system. Total output for the EV comes in at 215 horsepower with 246 lb-ft of torque, which should provide spritely performance along with excellent traction on slick roads and rough pavement — or even no pavement. Range is expected to be at least 220 miles. Subaru’s first full electric vehicle will likely roll into U.S. dealerships during the first half of next year.
After recently launching the new EV6 electric car, Kia provided a peek in L.A. at what could be coming next with the Concept EV9. Like the EV6, this eye-catching concept is a dedicated electric vehicle built on the Hyundai Motor Group’s Electric Global Modular Platform. The large family-size SUV features bold styling that looks a bit like the Kia Soul, but on a much larger scale. Kia says the front of the Concept EV9 has what the Korea-based automaker calls a Digital Tiger Face, with headlights that remain hidden until use. The DTF provides a “welcome light” when the driver approaches, and also incorporates unique vertical daytime running lights. A hood duct helps improve aerodynamics, as do retractable roof rails.
The large shape and flat floor of the Concept EV9 create a roomy interior that can be configured with two or three rows of seats. An interactive 27-inch display is designed to be the center of all passenger activity with media, climate and comfort controls. The interior setup gets dictated by one of three modes: Active, Pause and Enjoy. Active Mode is a standard seating configuration while the vehicle is moving; the other two are enabled when the EV9 is stopped. Pause Mode creates a lounge-like atmosphere by rotating the front seats to the rear so the first and third rows face each other; the second row can be reconfigured into a table. Enjoy Mode turns all seats to the rear and opens the large tailgate, giving all passengers the ability to connect with the exterior environment.
A few weeks ago Kia took the wraps off an all-new 2023 Sportage — the fifth generation of the popular subcompact crossover. At the press preview for the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show, the Korea-based brand introduced the fuel-efficient Hybrid variant of the Sportage. Like its non-hybrid sibling, the Sportage Hybrid features an exterior design that Kia has dubbed “Opposites United” with smooth, soft surfaces combined with sharp, modern elements. At the front, the Tiger Nose grille has a floating design, while the sharp angles of “boomerang” daytime running lights push the uniquely shaped headlights to the outer corners. The Sportage Hybrid will stand out with unique wheel designs and HEV badging.
A 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine powers the new Sportage Hybrid, teamed with a 44kW permanent magnet electric motor for a combined output of 226 horsepower. Kia will offer the Sportage Hybrid with front-wheel drive or Active AWD, which uses an electro-hydraulic coupling and center-locking differential to alter power distribution from front to rear depending on driving conditions. The Sportage Hybrid will be able to tow up to 2,000 pounds, and Kia estimates that the front-drive trims should have U.S. EPA fuel-economy ratings as high as 39 mpg. In keeping with its high-tech powertrain, the vehicle is available with an array of advance features including a dual panoramic curved display that brings together a 12.3-inch driver display and a 12.3-inch infotainment screen.
The high-performance Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS is one of a few non-electric vehicles debuting in Los Angeles. Already one of the most exciting and entertaining cars we’ve experienced, the Cayman GT4 takes performance to a new level via the new RS. Powered by the same naturally aspirated flat 6-cylinder engine as the Porsche 911 GT3, the 718 Cayman GT4 RS boasts 493 horsepower and 331 lb-ft of torque — a 79 horsepower increase compared to the 718 Cayman GT4. This powerful engine gets mated to a 7-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission delivering lightning-quick shifts for maximum performance. Thanks to different gearing than the 718 Cayman GT4, the GT4 RS accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds and has a top track speed of 196 mph.
Not only is the RS more powerful than the standard Cayman GT4, the car went on a diet. The RS weight reduction program includes a hood and front fenders made from carbon fiber reinforced plastic, a rear window of lightweight glass, and lightweight doors that have fabric pulls instead of traditional door handles. Two of the most noticeable changes for the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS when compared with the 718 Cayman GT4 are new air intakes behind the side windows, and a fixed rear wing with swan neck mounts and aluminum supports for a different look than other 718 Cayman variants. After its world premiere at the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show, the 718 Cayman GT4 RS is scheduled to arrive at U.S. dealerships in summer 2022 at an MSRP of $141,700.
One of several companies looking to break into the electric vehicle market is EdisonFuture, a division of global renewable company SPI Energy. At the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show, EdisonFuture introduced the EF1-T pickup truck and EF1-V delivery van. Both models are completely electric and have integrated solar panels in the roof — the pickup truck features an additional panel that can be pulled out over the truck bed. Both vehicles are quite large with spacious interiors and impressive capability.
EdisonFuture hasn’t provided any technical details regarding the battery system, but the stated performance figures raised a few eyebrows at the press preview. The EF1-T truck will be available with three powertrains — single motor, dual motor and tri motor, the latter enabling acceleration to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, as well as providing an 11,000-pound towing capacity and a 450 mile range. The EF1-V cargo van will be able to handle up to 400 cubic feet of cargo and has an 8,000-pound towing capacity. EdisonFuture anticipates that the truck would come to market first, but offered no solid details on when that might occur.
Porsche shook up the EV world a few years back when it introduced the all-new Taycan — an electric sport sedan worthy of the Porsche name. Since then Porsche has added several trim variants to the Taycan lineup, and at the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show the German company took the wraps off its latest iteration, the Taycan GTS. Available as a sedan or Sport Turismo (wagon), the new Taycan GTS features more aggressive styling with SportDesign front fascia and side skirts, along with high-gloss black window trim. The Matrix PDLS Plus headlights are tinted black, and the look gets rounded out by standard 20-inch Taycan Turbo S Aero Design wheels trimmed in an exclusive satin-black finish.
Both the Taycan GTS Sedan and Sport Turismo are powered by a single-speed front motor and a larger rear motor with a 2-speed rear transmission. Total output is 590 horsepower. The Taycan GTS has a 93.4 kWh Performance Battery Plus and an 800-volt architecture for better power delivery. The system can charge at rates up to 270 kW, which can raise the battery state from 5 percent to 80 percent in a mere 22.5 minutes. The powerful motors and performance battery contribute to quick acceleration — the Taycan GTS can reach 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. This new variant gets Porsche’s highest levels of suspension and performance equipment, although GTS-specific tuning provides more connection to and feedback from the road. Pricing for the Taycan GTS starts at $131,400 ($133,300 for Sport Turismo) with deliveries expected to begin in the second quarter of 2022.
Making its auto show debut is the high-performance version of the eighth-generation Corvette — the 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06. The most capable Corvette Z06 ever offered, the latest version is powered by a new 5.5-liter LT6 V8 engine producing a prodigious 670 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, teamed with an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission. Taking its cues from the Corvette Racing C.8R , the 2023 Corvette Z06 sports many specific features unique to the new variant, including different front and rear fascias; a 3.6-inch wider stance than the Corvette Stingray; a configurable rear spoiler with adjustable wickerbill; 20-inch front and 21-inch rear forged aluminum spider wheels; a retuned suspension; and larger brakes with 6-piston front calipers.
To further improve Corvette’s impressive track capabilities, an available Z07 Performance Package provides this new Corvette with 734 pounds of downforce at 186 mph. The package includes a higher carbon fiber rear wing, ground effects modifications, specific chassis tuning, specifically designed Michelin Cup 2 R ZP tires, Brembo carbon ceramic brakes and optional carbon fiber wheels. Also available on the Corvette Z06 is a carbon fiber aero package with a larger front splitter, front dive planes, a pedestal-mounted rear wing and underbody aerodynamic strakes. Inside, the Corvette Z06 has an available carbon fiber steering wheel, a new carbon fiber interior trim package and hand-wrapped leather interior options.
The charge (pun intended) to electrify vehicles in the U.S. is not confined to cars and crossovers — Ford takes electrification to another level with the introduction of the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning — the first all-electric F-150. The 2022 F-150 Lightning is powered by dual three-phase fixed magnet AC electric motors — one at each axle — so all Lightnings will be all-wheel drive. Total output for the extended-range Lightning is estimated at 563 horsepower and 775 lb-ft of torque — the most torque ever in a production F-150. Not only is this enough power for the Lightning to handle up to 2,000 pounds of cargo or tow up to 10,000 pounds, the big truck will sprint to 60 mph in the mid 4-second range. After a quick ride in the new F-150 Lightning earlier this year, we speculate this acceleration figure might even be a bit conservative.
Power for the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning comes from the largest lithium-ion battery pack Ford has ever put into a vehicle. The Lightning will have two battery options — a standard battery will deliver an estimated range of 230 miles, while a larger battery is expected to increase that number to 300 miles. A liquid cooling system keeps the batteries at optimal operating temperature even when under extreme load. Connecting the F-150 Lightning to a 48-amp Level 2 charger can add about 20 miles of charger per hour, or fully charge the standard-range battery in about 10 hours; the extended-range battery would take about 13 hours. The same can be done at a 150 kW fast charging station in slightly more than 40 minutes. The F-150 Lightning can be used as an external source of power at a jobsite, campsite or other outdoor function; it can also act as a power backup for a house in the event of a power outage. Deliveries of the new truck are expected to begin in spring of 2022.
Even though it’s all new, the fifth-generation Range Rover that made its show debut in Los Angeles has strikingly familiar styling. As the company points out, certain lines have always defined a Range Rover — a falling roofline, a strong waistline and rising sill line. These elements can be found in 50 years of Range Rovers and clearly will continue into the future. That said, this new model has a thoroughly modern look with clean lines enhanced by hidden door handles and headlights that are flush with the grille and flow seamlessly into the hood. Perhaps the most noticeable change for the 2022 Land Rover Range Rover resides at the rear of the vehicle, where the taillights facilitate a new tailgate shape. As with previous versions, the new Range Rover has a split tailgate for easier access to the cargo space.
The 2022 Range Rover gets built on Land Rover’s new Modular Longitudinal Architecture, designed to balance weight, strength and stiffness. With these new underpinnings, the fifth-generation Range Rover is up to 50 percent stiffer yet it rides quietly and smoothly for improved passenger enjoyment. The new vehicle architecture can accept multiple powertrain options (including hybrids and EVs) and provides enough flexibility for both short- and long-wheelbase versions. When it comes to market next spring, the 2022 Land Rover Range Rover will be available with a turbocharged mild hybrid inline 6-cylinder engine or a more potent 4.4-liter twin turbo V8 unit that bumps output to 523 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque.
Another California-based car company making its debut at the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show, Mullen incorporated in 2014 following the acquisition of Coda Automotive and Mullen Motor Cars — both of which had some history building electric vehicles. The company’s first mainstream model shown in L.A. is the Mullen Five — a stylish, all-electric crossover with a luxurious, high-tech interior and customizable seating configurations. Multiple digital displays add to the advanced look, and a small display screen on the B-pillar can recognize the driver via facial recognition and automatically unlock and start the car.
Powered by a 95 kWh lithium-sulfur battery pack, the Mullen Five delivers an estimated range of 325 miles between charges, with the ability to gain 80 percent charge on a fast-charging system in only 21 minutes. According to Mullen, the Five offers plenty of performance with an estimated zero-to-60-mph time of a mere 3.2 seconds. Designed, engineered and manufactured in the U.S., the Mullen Five will start at $55,000 and can be reserved now with a $100 deposit. Production is slated to begin in the fourth quarter of 2023.
Nissan was one of the first major automakers to enter the U.S. market with a mainstream electric car — the LEAF. Now the Japan-based company is coming to market with its first electric crossover, the all-new Ariya. The Ariya brings a unique look to the lineup, although it possesses obvious elements of Nissan design, including the brand’s signature V-Motion grille which incorporates slim LED headlights and running lights. Since an EV has no need for a traditional grille providing airflow to cool an internal combustion engine, designers of the Ariya incorporated what Nissan refers to as a shield, which features 3D styling and a traditional Japanese kumiko woodworking pattern.
The 2023 Nissan Ariya will be built on an all-new EV platform and be available with either a 63 kWh battery or an extended-range 87 kWh battery. With either option, the battery pack is positioned under the center of the vehicle, which enables a flat interior floor as well as lowers the center of gravity for improved handling. The single-motor Ariya with the extended battery (initially standard for U.S. models) will deliver 238 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque, while dual-motor variants will bump output to 389 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque with all-wheel drive. Range is expected to be as high as 300 miles between charges. The Ariya will start at $45,950, and reservations are now being accepted with deliveries anticipated next fall.
There are plenty of beautiful cars on the Porsche stand in Los Angeles, but the Mission R easily takes the prize as sexiest of all. A car built for an electric racing series that unfortunately doesn’t exist yet, the Mission R features sustainable lightweight construction with the performance level of a current Porsche 911 GT3 cup car. This full-electric racing study puts the battery in the center of car rather than below, which allows the lowest possible seating position for the driver.
This mid-engine concept is designed to deliver power for 30 minutes of racing action, followed by rapid charging thanks to the 900V technology of the Porsche Turbo Charging system. On winding stretches that don’t require full throttle, the Mission R can recover as much as 800kW, absorbing almost as much power as the output of the two electric motors. Unfortunately the Mission R is only a design study, and there are no plans at this time to put this gorgeous race car into production.
The Porsche Panamera resides in a rarified realm as one of the best high-performance sedans on the market. At this year’s L.A. Auto Show the German automaker revealed an even higher level of luxury for the Panamera with the introduction of the 2022 Porsche Panamera Platinum Edition. Available on Panamera, Panamera 4 and Panamera 4 E-Hybrid, the new Platinum Edition ushers in a new degree of exclusivity with a long list of additional features as well as standout styling cues. The Platinum Edition Panamera is easy to spot on the road, riding on 21-inch Exclusive Design Sport wheels painted in a Satin Platinum finish. New matrix LED headlights containing light-emitting diodes in a mathematically precise grid structure add to the unique look.
Adding to the Panamera’s overall performance, Platinum Editions are equipped with adaptive air suspension including Porsche Active Suspension Management. The PASM system gives drivers the ability to select ride height as well as levels of ride firmness, designed to enhance comfort and handling. Porsche’s Power Steering Plus is also standard on the 2022 Porsche Panamera Platinum Edition, which reduces steering effort at low speeds. The 2022 Porsche Panamera Platinum Edition has a starting price of $101,900 — the all-wheel drive Panamera 4 bumps up to $106,000. At the highest level is the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Platinum Edition priced at $115,200. The Platinum Editions should arrive in showrooms in the spring of 2022.
The 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show hosts another auto company “first” — a Vietnamese car company with plans to sell vehicles in America. VinFast has been around since 2017 and currently offers three car models in the Viet Nam market, and the Los Angeles show is the forum for the company’s first venture into America. And in keeping with the emerging show themes L.A., both vehicles introduced are electric, and both are SUVs. The VF e35 is a compact crossover, while the VF e36 is midsize with a more spacious interior. Detailed vehicle specs are not currently available; however, VinFast claims the VF e35 will have a range of up to 310 miles, while the larger VF e36 will go up to 342 miles between charges. Both models should offer impressive performance with around 400 horsepower and 472 lb-ft of torque.
The company says both of these new electric vehicles will come with a range of advanced driver-assist features including lane assist, collision warning, fully automatic parking and “summon vehicle” mode. VinFast also reports that both models will feature a smart infotainment system with a “virtual assistant” as well as e-commerce services. Designed in partnership with Italian design house Pininfarina, the stylish models will be produced at VinFast’s manufacturing facility in Hai Phong, Viet Nam. Preorders will be accepted in the first half of 2022, with deliveries expected by the end of the year.
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