Top vehicle trends at CES 2023

Jan. 13, 2023
From the show floor to panelist discussions, the global acceleration of electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles has undoubtably taken off. While taking center stage at CES 2023, here are some key takeaways.

CES, the world’s largest tech event, was held the first week of January in Las Vegas and brought in over 115,000 attendees this year. With 300 vehicle tech exhibitors, CES seems to be transforming more into an auto show - but unlike any auto show you've seen before.

Instead of current or recently released vehicle models on display, the aisles are filled with vehicles from the future and technology to inspire. Some vehicles on display this year were able to change color, follow you on a job site, incorporate augmented reality, achieve 750 miles on a single charge, and more.

Not to mention the spectacle number of EV charging stations, LiDAR sensors, in-car entertainment options, and head-up displays (HUD), as well as commercial and industrial applications on the show floor.

Here are a few key takeaways from the show floor and panelist discussions.

The EV revolution is inevitable

As the government and automakers gear up for an emissions-free future, it's evident to see that there’s no turning back on electric vehicles. In fact, they're just ramping up.

“The auto industry is going to see more change in the next 10 years than it has experienced in the past 100,” said Steve Greenfield, CEO of Automotive Ventures. “We’re seeing an accelerating pace of change.”

If seeing the number of EVs on the road increase month-over-month is not enough, Andrew Poliak, chief technology officer at Panasonic, gave an interesting fact during a panelist discussion.

“Panasonic as of this week delivered its 7 billionth battery for automotive,” he said. With another Gigafactory in development, Panasonic alone will be soon delivering 66 batteries per second, 2 billion a year.

“That’s a lot of batteries and that’s because there’s the demand for technology,” he said.

Charging systems

As more EVs are expected to hit the road, it was not shocking to see so many EV chargers dominate the show floor, primarily Level 2 and DC fast chargers.

EV chargers from Autel Energy, Blink Charging, EVBox, ChargePoint, EVgo, and Tellus Power Green are just a few to name. 

“Charging is now part of this vibrant ecosystem,” said Brendan Jones, president of Blink Charging, during a panelist discussion. “Slowly but surely the [EV] space has evolved and now charging systems have evolved.”

According to a leading research group, we’ll have to have between 340 million and 490 million chargers installed across the globe by 2040, Jones noted.

When asked if we are moving fast enough to reach this number, he confirmed that we are. Level 2 chargers are easy to install and are very cost effective, he said, but we also need to “make sure to create range confidence by putting in large scale DC fast chargers.”

He also teased about megawatt charging systems, perhaps in the near future. 

Range anxiety

Overcoming range anxiety is still a leading concern for many consumers considering purchasing an EV and was a hot topic up for discussion.

Some experts said that range anxiety was created by the industry and that it’s no different than planning your trips with ICE vehicles in that you need to be aware of how much fuel you have in your tank to know if you'll make the trip, or need to stop to fill up.

Regardless, many experts could agree that it’s a concern that can easily be resolved simply by consumer education.

“Range anxiety is a concept that can be answered with technology and education,” said Genevieve Cullen, president of Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA). “This whole transformation involves a lot of consumer education.”

While educating consumers is in the works, there's still another thing that is for certain when it comes to accomplishing net-zero emissions, we must all work together. 

“There’s no question that collaboration is the only way to move forward,” Blink Charging Jones said. “That means collaboration with local government, state government, federal government, utilities, infrastructure companies, and OEMS. Going it alone won’t work. We have to be open.”

Concept vehicles on the show floor -

BMW – i Vision Dee sedan

Stellantis - Ram 1500 Resolution BEV truck

Honda (and Sony) - AFEELA 

Volkswagen - ID.7 sedan

Mercedes-Benz – VISION EQXX sedan

Autonomous vehicles update

Unlike what you may have heard just years ago, autonomous vehicles will not be running the world any time soon.

In a panelist discussion on autonomous vehicles and their global expansion, experts could all agree that it’s going to be a long time before driverless cars become widespread.

One hold up may be the most obvious, safety. There are still a lot of safety concerns for Level 2 and Level 3 vehicles that autonomous vehicles will require even more data, sensors, and education. However, that’s not to say certain autonomous vehicles are already maneuvering the roads.

“There are vehicles operating autonomously in a number of cities today,” said Lia Theodosiou-Pisanelli, vice president of partner programs and operations at Aurora. Is it every city? No. Is it everywhere? No. But it’s pretty tremendous the progress that some of these companies made to really demonstrate the ability to truly not have a driver in the vehicle. So, is this technology out there in the way that people talked about it 10 years ago or the way we saw it in the Jetson’s? No and it probably won’t be for a long time, but this tech is out there. It’s just in limited scenarios.”

These limited scenarios include well-defined delivery truck routes and even some rideshare services within cities, including parks and airports.

The push for autonomous vehicles is not only to make our roads and world safer, but to also improve our supply chain, panelists noted.

In certain situations, it makes sense for fleets to invest in autonomous trucks so that they can move goods/freight 24 hours a day. 

However, as panelists indicated, the future success of autonomous vehicles is going to require strategic partnership in the industry. No one can accomplish such task on their own. 

Autonomous vehicles on the show floor:

Holon - Mover shuttle 

ZF - Next-Generation Level 4 shuttle 

Caterpillar - Cat 777 Off-Highway truck

Hyundai Mobis - M. VISION TO

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