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Electric cars bring sparkle to LA Auto Show 2022
The LA Auto Show is the last major show of the automotive year, where car makers reveal all the showroom-ready models they’re hoping will help them clean up during the following year.
And the highlights of the 2022 LA Auto Show suggest 2023 is going to be an exciting year in the world of motoring.
Of course, electric is top of the agenda – yes, even in America, which is still some way behind the UK and Europe. But it’s catching up fast, which is why it’s worth reviewing what was showing Stateside.
Electric vehicles were centre stage at every major show stand, with many OEMs also heavily promoting the related hardware necessary to make the electric dream a reality, from regular charge points to full solar arrays for your garage.
Hyundai even showed how electric cars can be connected to the grid to provide a money-making energy buffering service: when your car is parked up, and energy demand is high, power companies will pay you to draw energy from your car’s EV battery, topping it back up later for free. Such ‘vehicle-to-grid’ solutions are set to become a major part of EV motoring in the future.
As the Christmas trees and festive lights went up in LA, here are seven star cars from the international extravaganza that caught our eye – and may be on the wish-lists of fleet drivers in the months and years to come.
The new Toyota Prius was the headline-grabber of the show. Available in both regular hybrid and plug-in hybrid PHEV guise, it’s worlds apart from the current model, with a super-sleek look that genuinely turned heads – yes, the Toyota Prius has become a crowd-puller not just an Uber ride hailing favourite.
The company promises a 50% improvement in range for the Prius PHEV, with the 13.6kWh battery likely to give an electric range of almost 60 miles. It’s the fastest Prius ever, with 0-62mph taking just 6.7 seconds. The regular hybrid has the option of four-wheel drive and both versions share the same high-tech interior complete with head up-style driver display.
So what’s the bad news? Toyota has decided not to bring it to the UK, arguing that the Corolla hybrid does the job just as well. We’re not convinced: the plug-in hybrid version would be a well-received fleet car for those averse to full electrification.
Toyota BZ Compact Concept
As we’re missing out on the Prius, here’s something else to look forward to from Toyota – the BZ Compact Concept. A pure electric crossover SUV that will sit below the current BZ4X, it previews an electric alternative to the Toyota C-HR hybrid (which is also due to be replaced by a similar-looking production car to this).
Super-sleek and muscular, it’s a striking car that boasts slim, high-tech wraparound LED lights and brilliantly muscular rear wheel arches. Inside, it’s ultra-modern, with two electronic displays boasting a curved fold in them. (It would be amazing if these made it into production.) Toyota hasn’t revealed any technical details yet, but insiders hint the production version will arrive in 2023. Definitely one to have on your radar.
Hyundai Ioniq 6
Another electric car was one of the showstoppers in LA – the remarkable Hyundai Ioniq 6. The four-door saloon sister car to the Hyundai Ioniq 5 crossover hatch, the Ioniq 6 has a dramatically streamlined shape that delivers a significant boost to efficiency – and, therefore, range.
For fleet car drivers who prowl the nation’s motorways, it’s ideal. Hyundai is targeting a range of up to 450 miles for the most efficient model. Even the high-performance version can cover 320 miles on a single charge. And the Hyundai Ioniq 6 can use 350kW ultra-rapid chargers for battery top-ups in minutes. Look out for it on user-chooser lists from early 2023.
Porsche 911 Dakar
And now for something completely different. A Porsche 911 crossover. The 911 Dakar is inspired by the classic 911 that won the Paris-Dakar off-road race back in 1984. Nearly four decades later, this new production version – yes, it is a production car, not a concept – brings such thrills to the showroom.
It has a raised ride height (and a suspension lift that allows it to go even higher) and rugged off-road tyres, tough body cladding and all-wheel drive. You can option it with a roof rack, and a roof tent, and even choose a livery that mimics the original racer. Porsche will build 2,500 of them, and if it’s a hit, you can bet there will be a follow-up. Your new dream 911?
Vin-who? Vinfast is an ambitious Vietnamese startup that has global ambitions – including the construction of a factory in America. That’s why it made its debut at the LA Auto Show this year. It showed four all-electric SUVs, the VF6, VF7, VF8 and VF9, all representing four of the most popular global SUV segments.
The more compact VF6 and VF7 were the new ones, which were recently also shown at the Paris Motor Show. These are the ones that will lead the Vinfast drive into Europe, with a UK launch also on the cards at some point. With the promise of great-value pricing and impressive EV range, it’s a brand we would welcome to the UK.
Genesis X Convertible Concept
The luxury Genesis brand is steadily gaining traction in the UK, with its impressive GV60 electric SUV leading the charge. But the company, a premium division of Hyundai, is not standing still, and has been previewing its future with a series of swish concepts. The latest, the Genesis X Convertible Concept, made its debut in LA.
The cars point to future range-toppers of the Genesis range, and show how it’s going to take the game to the likes of Mercedes-Benz and BMW. A spokesperson on the ground told us the Genesis ambitions are to compete in the luxury car arena, not just in the premium segmnet. Expect six-figure price tags and a reservation in the CEO’s parking space, then…
Kia EV6 GT
The Kia EV6 electric crossover is proving to be a real game-changer for this popular Korean brand. It’s a car Audi and BMW user-choosers are considering, thanks to its impressive EV range and high-speed 350kW charging ability, not to mention its availability at a time when the German premium marques were at 12 months and longer for delivery.
At the LA Auto Show, the Kia EV6 GT range-topper was revealed, complete with 3.5-second 0-62mph potential. It has a mouth-watering 577hp, delivered to all four wheels, plus a 162mph top speed for those not worried about range. Speaking of which, it will still do 230 miles on a single charge, before topping up from 10% to 80% at an Ionity charger in just 18 minutes. That’s barely enough time to grab a coffee – although the drive is set to be so exciting, you might not actually need one…
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