CES 2018: Growing prevalence of electric vehicles

Range of green vehicle models and applications steadily increasing



Entrance to CES exhibition halls

 CES 2018 was held from January 9 through January 12, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. The exhibition featured approximately 300,000 square feet dedicated to more than 160 automotive-related exhibits, the largest automotive presence at a CES show thus far. In recent years, the automotive presence at CES has rapidly grown, as OEMs and automotive suppliers aim to make announcements and showcase products to new audiences.

 The electric vehicles displayed at CES 2018 shows the progress made by the automotive market in developing environmentally friendly vehicles that can appeal to a range of audiences. The debuting electric vehicles at CES were all SUVs, which have recently had significant increases in demand. Hyundai's exhibit centered on the debuting Nexo fuel cell vehicle and its potential applications in providing power for a home, while Kia unveiled the Niro EV Concept, a modern compact SUV. In addition, both Korean brands announced a significant electric vehicle product offensive. Byton, a new entrant in the automotive world, unveiled its all-electric premium mid-size SUV concept as its first model.

 Automakers also displayed green vehicles that had previously debuted at other exhibitions. Nissan showcased its second-generation Leaf and the IMx concept. Mercedes-Benz showed models from its EQ electric mobility brand with the Concept EQA compact hatchback and smart vision EQ fortwo subcompact in addition to the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE supercar. Toyota displayed its Fine-Mobility Ride SUV. The green vehicle technology highlighted at CES 2018 highlights the importance of sustainability to the automotive market going forward.

 This report is one of two reports which highlight the automotive content primarily shown by OEMs at CES 2018. This report focuses on electric vehicles, concepts and green vehicle technology. The other report focuses on autonomous and intelligent technology applications in mobility as well as user and human-machine interfaces.

Related Reports:
CES 2018: Autonomous and HMI technology applications and examples (Jan. 2018)
Daimler: all-electric vehicles to account for 15-25% of total unit sales by 2025
(Jan. 2018)
The current situation of China's NEV market (Jan. 2018)
Tokyo Motor Show 2017: Exhibits from Nissan, Honda, and Mitsubishi (Dec. 2017)

Debuting electric vehicles focus on growing SUV market

Kia Niro EV Concept

 At CES 2018, Kia debuted its Niro EV Concept, which combines the design of a modern compact SUV with a high-efficiency battery-electric powertrain. The powertrain utilizes production technologies that will be featured on Kia's future electric vehicles. A 64 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack powers an electric motor which generates 201 hp, giving the concept an estimated range of 238 miles. Other technologies on the Niro EV Concept include an Active Pedestrian Warning System, which uses cameras to detect pedestrians and cyclists and a speaker system to warn them of the vehicle's presence.

Kia Niro EV Concept Kia Niro EV Concept interior


 The exterior of the Niro EV Concept replaces the traditional front grille with an interactive display panel. A new lighting system enables intuitive communication between the vehicle and users or pedestrians. Borrowing styling cues from the current Kia Niro, the concept features an elevated body, wide C-pillar, and sharp trailing edges. The Niro EV Concept's cabin has a minimalistic, digital appearance. A wraparound design envelops the driver and passengers, while the dashboard's horizontal appearance focuses on smooth, clean surfaces.

 Kia expects to launch a total of 16 electric vehicles by 2025, consisting of five hybrids, five plug-in hybrids, five battery-electric vehicles, and a mass-market fuel cell vehicle. According to Hyundai Motor Group Vice Chairman Dr. Woong-chul Yang, Kia will launch its FCV in 2020.

Hyundai Nexo FCV

 Kia's sister brand, Hyundai, also unveiled a new green vehicle with the Nexo fuel cell vehicle. The Nexo will be Hyundai's technological flagship for its green vehicle portfolio and will replace the Tucson FCEV. The Nexo uses a new dedicated vehicle architecture which improves upon the architecture in the Tucson FCEV, giving the Nexo a lighter weight, improved power-to-weight ratio, and increased cabin space. The Nexo's fuel cell stack and battery generate a total of 135 kW. The powertrain, despite being smaller and lighter, generates 161 hp and 291 lb-ft of torque, versus the Tucson's 134 hp and 221 lb-ft. Compared to the Tucson's 265-mile range, the Nexo has an estimated range of 370 miles.

Hyundai Nexo FCV Hyundai Nexo FCV cutaway


 The Nexo will be available in specific global markets beginning in early 2018. Hyundai plans to introduce a total of 18 green vehicle models, including the Nexo, by 2025.

Byton Concept SUV

Byton Concept SUV

 Byton, a Chinese startup founded by former BMW and Apple employees, unveiled an all-electric mid-size premium SUV concept described as a "new generation smart device" with "a unique digital design and innovative human-vehicle interaction". The production version will offer two range options, a rear-wheel drive model with a 71 kWh battery pack and a 248-mile range, and a four-wheel drive model with a 95 kWh battery pack and a 323-mile range. Two powertrain options will be available, a powertrain with 268 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, and a 470 hp option with 524 lb-ft of torque. The interior features a flat floor, rotatable front seats, adjustable rear seats and a number of displays, including a 50-inch by 10-inch Shared Experience Display. The amount of space and premium seating in the cabin gives it a lounge-like atmosphere.

 The Byton Life cloud platform showed four different intelligent support features: Health, Communication, Entertainment, and Activities. Sensors and hardware in the vehicle can synchronize with a user's smartphone or other devices, enabling the vehicle to serve as an intelligent assistant. An integrated AI helps the vehicle learn and suggest future activities, entertainment options, and destinations. Upon its launch in 2019, the production vehicle will feature level 3 autonomous drive capabilities. Level 4 autonomous capabilities will be enabled in 2020 through software upgrades. Control options include voice recognition, touch controls and gesture controls.

 A production version of the Byton SUV Concept will be manufactured at Byton's plant in Nanjing, China. The vehicle's base price will be approximately USD 45,000. The SUV will first launch in China towards the end of 2019, and then launch in the U.S. and Europe in 2020.

Returning models showcase range of EVs

Nissan Leaf and IMx Concept

 The Nissan Leaf, the world's best-selling highway-capable electric vehicle, was shown at Nissan's exhibit at CES 2018. The 2018 Leaf was nominated in the "Tech for a Better World" category for the CES "2018 Best of Innovation" awards, highlighting its societal importance. As a second-generation model, the 2018 Leaf uses a new electric powertrain which generates 147 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, an increase of 37% and 26%, respectively, over its predecessor. A new lithium-ion battery pack gives the 2018 Leaf a range of approximately 150 miles, an approximately 50% improvement compared to its predecessor. Future model years will offer options for increased power and range.

Nissan Leaf Nissan IMx Concept

 Nissan also highlighted the Nissan IMx zero-emission concept that originally debuted at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show. Utilizing Nissan's new efficiency-focused EV platform, the IMx has a flat floor that maximizes cabin space. The IMx uses a pair of electric motors, one positioned in the front and one in the rear. Together, the motors generate approximately 430 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. A high-capacity battery with increased energy density provides a range of over 370 miles. Autonomous capabilities on the IMx enable it to connect itself to the local power grid when not in use, allowing it to either recharge or return extra power to the grid as an extension of the vehicle-to-home technologies shown on the Leaf.

Mercedes-Benz EQ Family and Mercedes-AMG Project ONE Concept

 Mercedes-Benz continued to showcase previously unveiled electric concepts which highlighted its CASE strategy. The automaker's exhibit included three models which debuted at IAA 2017. Representing the potential performance capabilities of a hybrid car, the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE concept utilizes a 1.6-liter V6 hybrid engine with a total of four electric motors to generate approximately 1,000 hp. This gives the Project ONE a top speed of over 217 mph and the ability to accelerate to 124 mph in less than six seconds.

Mercedes-AMG Project ONE Mercedes-Benz Concept EQA


 Mercedes-Benz also displayed two models in its EQ electric mobility brand with the Concept EQA and smart vision EQ fortwo. The Concept EQA is a premium compact vehicle with a range of approximately 250 miles, while the smart vision EQ fortwo, a vehicle designed for electric ride-sharing, can use its autonomous capabilities to drive itself to a charging station or inductive charging area.

Toyota Fine-Comfort Ride FCV Concept

 Originally unveiled at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota displayed its Fine-Comfort Ride fuel cell concept at CES 2018. Its exhibit included both the concept vehicle and a VR demonstration unit that simulated the experience of riding in the vehicle. The Fine-Comfort Ride is driven by in-wheel motors powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, generating a peak power of approximately 415 hp. The concept has a refueling time of approximately three minutes and a cruising range of approximately 620 miles. As a fuel cell vehicle, the Fine-Comfort Ride emits no carbon dioxide or other harmful gases during operations.

Toyota Fine-Comfort Ride FCV Toyota Fine Comfort Ride VR demonstrator


 Befitting its name, the interior of the Fine-Comfort Ride has seating for six, with the front four seats rotatable when the vehicle is in self-driving mode. The position of the wheels at the corners of the car, along with its diamond-shaped cabin, add to the sense of openness inside. Displays integrated into the windows and an AI agent provide additional information and entertainment when desired.

Technology highlights potential of clean vehicle-to-grid systems

Nissan Leaf-to-Home

Nissan Leaf-to-Home station

 The Nissan Leaf, the world's best-selling highway-capable electric vehicle, was shown at Nissan's exhibit at CES 2018. The 2018 Leaf was nominated in the "Tech for a Better World" category for the CES "2018 Best of Innovation" awards, highlighting its societal importance. As a second-generation model, the 2018 Leaf uses a new electric powertrain which generates 147 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, an increase of 37% and 26%, respectively, over its predecessor. A new lithium-ion battery pack gives the 2018 Leaf a range of approximately 150 miles, an approximately 50% improvement compared to its predecessor. Future model years will offer options for increased power and range.

Hyundai Hydrogen Life Vision Exhibit

 In addition, Hyundai displayed its Hydrogen Life Vision exhibit at CES 2018, demonstrating how a hydrogen-powered vehicle could provide power and consumables for home applications. The exhibit demonstrated the potential of a Nexo vehicle providing power for various household devices. In addition, the Nexo can provide clean water for plants, as its fuel cells emit only water as a byproduct. Furthermore, the Nexo provides air purification benefits. Since its fuel cell systems require clean air to operate, the Nexo's filters remove 99.9% of fine dust from the air.

Honda Mobile Power Pack World Exhibit

 Honda presented a conceptual ecosystem centered on its Mobile Power Pack portable battery. The company's Mobile Power Pack World concept illustrated how energy from environmentally friendly power sources such as solar or wind farms could be redistributed. Mobile Power Pack batteries installed in Charge & Supply units could power equipment, or be installed directly in smaller vehicles such as Honda's PCX Electric bike. When depleted, the batteries can be replaced at an Exchanger unit for a fully charged battery, while the depleted battery recharges. In times of peak electricity demand, the Exchanger can be used to support the electric grid by discharging batteries in the unit.

Honda Mobile Power Pack Charge & Supply – Portable Concept Honda Mobile Power Pack Exchanger Concept

Automotive suppliers

 Automotive suppliers such as Continental, Delphi and Magna showcased various systems and demonstration vehicles highlighting hybrid and electric technology. Continental exhibited a display of systems and components for vehicle electrification, including its AllCharge system, which enables rapid vehicle charging at any charging station. Delphi Technologies showcased its Dynamic Skip Fire technology in a 48-volt mild hybrid Volkswagen Passat, which improves fuel efficiency by utilizing smart technology to enable each cylinder in the engine to decide between the option of “Fire” or “Skip”. Magna’s e1 etelligentDrive demonstration vehicle showcases an electric vehicle that features three integrated electric motors, one on the front axle and two on the rear axle.

Magna e1 etelligentDrive demonstration vehicle Delphi Technologies 48V mild hybrid VW Passat with Dynamic Skip Fire demonstration model

CES2018, Byton, Daimler, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota, EV, FCEV

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