The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2023 in Las Vegas unveiled some of the latest and futuristic technologies available for purchase in the coming years. They include everything from bespoke electric vehicles (EVs), to driver assistance technology, and even autonomous driving systems. Sit back, relax, and enjoy as we detail five curated highlights from the event.
- Ram 1500 Revolution Electric Pickup Truck Details Unveiled
Ram Truck’s parent company Stellantis revealed the 1500 Revolution electric pickup truck prototype. Entering the market long after the Ford F-150 Lightning and Chevy Silverado Electric, the company is finding ways to stand out from the pack. CEO Mike Koval said the truck maker is working on getting 400 miles of range.
Details about the battery’s power remain sparse, but a Stellantis press release says 100 miles of range can be added in 10 minutes with direct-current charging. Unfortunately, charge rates are still unknown to the public. Acceleration time and payload limits remain a mystery, too.
However, we do know that the Ram Revolution is designed to be a workman’s truck. Its towing capabilities will be supreme, with the ability to haul things as long as 18 feet.
Koval describes the truck as “a corner office that rolls quietly on the job.” You’ll be able to transport lumber, gravel, and other materials without producing a single carbon emission.
The interior will also be technologically advanced, offering some of the best infotainment systems and a flexible layout. You can even fit a third row of seats thanks to a collapsible center console and removable doors.
While many details are still yet to be revealed, the prototype shows its potential as the next efficient pickup truck. The Ram Revolution will be available for purchase in 2024, along with more electrified models.
- Sony Honda Mobility Reveals Afeela EV
Sony and Honda’s joint venture (JV) previewed the fruits of their labor when they drove its new electric sedan on stage at CES on Jan. 4. There has been a lot of coverage surrounding this car. Many early reports focused on the entertainment systems; there’s even speculation that a PlayStation 5 can be plugged into the rear seating entertainment.
The display focus centered on Afeela’s safety measures. The vehicle has 45 sensors and cameras installed for optimal driver safety.
When you factor this technology into the marketing ploy Sony is using — a car with an exemplary entertainment system — it opens the door for substantial driver-assist technological capabilities. The car requires an attentive person behind the wheel, so the driver won’t be able to watch movies or play games behind the wheel, the passengers will enjoy the media-infused sedan.
“Afeela represents our concept of an interactive relationship where people feel the sensation of interactive mobility and where mobility can detect and understand people and society by utilizing sensing and AI technologies,” said Yasuhide Mizuno, chief executive for Sony Honda Mobility. Having such an advanced vehicle could set a new standard for leisure driving.
The JV wants the pre-orders set by the first half of 2025 as they refine some of the driver-assist technological aspects of the Afeela. Sales are expected to follow in the same year. North American shipments will arrive in spring 2026.
- Luminar’s LiDAR Mapping Technology
More and more autonomous vehicles are being deployed on American roadways and safety is paramount for AV progress. Luminar is a good example. Working with a newly-acquired startup called Civil Maps, the company displayed its new 3D-mapping tech in Las Vegas. This software could significantly improve the self-driving experience.
The Iris and Sentinel mapping software provide real-time updates about surroundings and road hazards that drivers can view even if they are not actively driving the car. This type of technology is imperative for a new generation of autonomous models.
Luminar and Civil Maps’ project is included in some big-name upcoming EVs. Most notably, the Volvo EX90 will come standard with LiDAR technology.
It enhances the safety of the EX90 while promoting its autonomous driving capabilities. At CES, the firm showcased this on the Volvo electric SUV, the Polestar 3, and the Chinese EV brand SAIC.
The tech company’s executives are excited about the potential of this new road-mapping software. “Our big bet on production consumer vehicles and enhancing, not replacing, the driver is starting to pay off big time,” said Austin Russell, Luminar CEO. “I expect Luminar to make a sweeping impact in 2023 as the automotive industry continues to converge with our roadmap.”
Self-driving cars with good mapping technology may pave the way for civilian autonomous driving.
- Volkswagen ID.7 Concept Model
Volkswagen (VW) has never shied away from eccentric designs for new EVs. The ID.7 is no different. Building off the success of the ID.4 in North America, the ID.7 will be a larger electric sedan. This new car will have an impressive 435 miles of range, well beyond the ID.4’s 275 miles. That bodes well for cross-country travelers.
However, details about battery-pack size and charge rates haven’t been revealed. The battery’s voltage is estimated to be near 400 volts, meaning a charger with 170 kilowatts of power could replenish the battery.
VW will need a larger battery pack if it is pushing for an electric sedan that can go fast. The bigger size will increase horsepower and acceleration times. However, these thoughts are still speculation, as the automaker hasn’t shared many details on the ID.7’s engine.
The sedan’s paint job stood out the most when the company unveiled it at CES. Draped in a camouflage coat with multiple styles, it truly encapsulates the quirkiness of German manufacturers and how they aren’t afraid to test new colorways.
VW added QR codes to hide all the details of the interior, adding to the mystique of the ID.7. You’d have to scan them to uncover more facts and figures on the car.
We won’t know how this vehicle will perform until after the second quarter of 2023 — VW plans to unveil the consumer models by then. Also, that’s when it will go on sale in North America. It will be the second EV to be offered on three continents.
“The ID.7 is one of 10 new electric models that we are planning to launch by 2026,” said Thomas Schäfer, CEO of Volkswagen Passenger Cars.
- Mercedes-Benz’s Automatic Driving Systems and Global Charging Network
Mercedes-Benz stole the show at CES when it announced its global EV charging network expansion. In addition, the German auto group announced it would develop Level 3 automatic driving cars. They will be available in Nevada and California first before expanding across the U.S.
The technology is called DRIVE PILOT and can take over driving on motorways and high-density traffic areas, allowing drivers to focus on other tasks. Automatic Lane Change is also expected to arrive in North America.
Four hundred hubs with 2,500 chargers will be constructed across North America for the charging network. Drivers will be able to find these along major highways and metropolitan areas. Better yet, the 350-kilowatt charging power will reduce charge times sufficiently.
Owning a Mercedes EV won’t be necessary to use the chargers; they will be universally accessible. That’s partly due to a partnership between the company, MN8 Energy, and ChargePoint.
If the industry thinks the German automaker is trying to get a jump on Tesla in the global EV charging race, this certainly backs up that notion. Expect to see the North American network completed by 2027.
“By selecting MN8 Energy and ChargePoint as our partners in North America — two of the leaders in their respective fields — we’ll be able to continue to drive the transformation towards an electric future, which is one of the main pillars of our holistic, sustainable corporate strategy,” said Markus Schäfer, Mercedes-Benz chief technology officer, development & procurement.
Between its driver-assist technology and high-powered charging networks, the luxury vehicle giant has set itself up for a very successful electric car future in the U.S.