Most people don’t think of CES as an auto show, but the Las Vegas tech spectacle hosts many auto-related announcements each year. And that is completely normal: modern cars are increasingly computers on wheels.
At CES 2022, we saw cool new tech, new model launches, and even some exciting announcements from companies you wouldn’t normally associate with cars.
Here are our favorite car announcements from CES 2022.
BMW iX Flow
BMW had multiple announcements at CES 2022, including a beastly 610 horsepower electric car called the iX M60. But the real star of the BMW show was iX Flow, an electrophoretic “paint job” that changes color in the blink of an eye.
The concept essentially turns the surface of the car into an e-ink screen. It’s not a new technology – you may be familiar with e-ink from your Kindle e-reader – but it’s the first time we’ve seen it applied to an entire car to such great effect. It works by using electricity to move electrically charged microcapsules of pigment, so the name e-ink is very apt.
Woah, BMW showcased its E Ink color-changing paint technology at CES on an iX Flow. BMW says it could affect the efficiency of its EVs. pic.twitter.com/mw9DbLG2Su
For now, iX Flow is limited to black, white, and just about any combination of the two you can think of. The technology could support more colors in the future – in fact, color e-ink is already available in other products. BMW said that iX Flow will not only allow drivers to change the look of their cars in the blink of an eye, but will also offer practical benefits such as evade police passively cool the car by painting it white.
One of the big surprises from CES two years ago was Sony’s Vision S electric car concept. At CES 2022, Sony was back with an update on its transportation plans, a new Vision S electric SUV, and most importantly, the news that it’s exploring a commercial launch for its EV technology.
Sony will form a new company called Sony Mobility Inc. spin off, with which it will “explore entry into the EV market”, although it’s not clear what this means for now. In addition, Sony Mobility will “help realize a world where everyone can live in harmony with robots every day.” It sounds like other Sony projects like the Aibo robot dog and the Airpeak S1 drone will also fall under this new corporate umbrella.
To match the announcement, Sony showed off the Vision S 02 electric SUV (left in the image above), a new format based on the same platform as the sedan EV. Sony emphasized the entertainment and lifestyle features of the car, rather than things like horsepower and range, but said the Vision S cars are currently undergoing road testing.
The EV market is already crowded, but it’s still exciting to see the legendary Sony join the fray, where it can contribute both cutting-edge technology and one of the sharpest design senses in the industry.
Read also: The best electric bikes you can get
Mercedes Benz Vision EQXX
Mercedes-Benz’s latest Vision EQ concept car is the Vision EQXX, and its claim to glory is its ultra-long range of over 1,000 km (nearly 650 miles) on a single charge. How impressive is that? Consider that the current car to beat in the industry, the Tesla Model S, can only get about 400 miles in its longest-range version.
What’s exciting is that the Vision EQXX’s long range comes from a laser focus on efficiency rather than just battery pack size. The result is what Mercedes-Benz called an ‘efficiency masterpiece’ with ‘fully realistic range’.
Now, this is just a concept at the moment, so we’ll have to take Mercedes’ word for its high-range claims. But the German automaker says the work it put into Vision EQXX will help develop real cars in the future. Given Mercedes’ commitment of €40 billion to electrify its line-up by 2030, we have no reason to doubt it.
Nearly 90 years ago, Chrysler introduced one of the first American cars with a streamlined, aerodynamic design. Fast forward to CES 2022, and the new Chrysler Airflow is a concept car intended to showcase GM’s ambitions in electrification and autonomous driving.
The Airflow could be the basis for Chrysler’s first foray into electric cars, which is expected sometime in 2025. The automaker was stingy with the details, so all we can do is speculate, but the Airflow concept looks realistic. We could see it rolling down the street with only minimal adjustments to its clean exterior. The few tech specs Chrysler revealed are also realistic: The twin-shaft motors will generate 200 horsepower each, giving this elegant SUV enough oomph for 350 to 400 miles on a single charge.
Like many car companies, Chrysler (or rather parent company Stellantis) is investing heavily in autonomous driving. The Airflow features Stellantis’ STLA AutoDrive autonomous driving technology, which is capable of level 3 autonomy – meaning the car can drive itself in many situations, but the driver must be present and alert at all times .
For something a little more futuristic, look no further than the Cadillac InnerSpace. A rare sedan(esque) concept in the SUV era, the InnerSpace shows off Cadillac’s vision for the future of luxury passenger transportation. Granted, Cadillac knows a thing or two about luxury cars, but the InnerSpace is still kind of there—not that there’s anything wrong with that. It just means you shouldn’t expect it at your local dealer any time soon.
This wheeled starship opens spectacularly – the entire roof pops up, next to the two doors, allowing the driver and a passenger to climb into the vehicle in style. The dramatic roofline is guaranteed to turn heads and destroy drag coefficients.
The InnerSpace lacks pedals and a steering wheel. You don’t need that where this car is going. All you need to do is sit back and enjoy the panoramic display that takes up most of what normal cars would call a dashboard. We love it.
Chevrolet Silverado EV
It may not have the same appeal as some of the other cars on this list, but the Chevrolet Silverado EV has a little something: it’s a real car that you can buy for around $40,000 soon.
The Silverado EV will compete with Ford’s highly anticipated F-150 Lightning and other electric trucks from Tesla, Rivian and GMC. Aside from the electrified front badge, you wouldn’t know this beefy truck isn’t your typical gas guzzler. But under the hood, the tech specs are sufficiently advanced – up to 400 miles of range, a whopping 664 horsepower, fast charging and the ability to tow loads of up to 10,000 pounds.
For what it’s worth, the Silverado EV has more in common with the Hummer EV than any ICE-equipped Silverado. You can drive it from late 2023 if all goes according to plan, but Chevy is happy to take your reservations now.
Read also: The best electric motorcycles
That wraps up our look at some of the coolest automotive news coming out of CES 2022. Check out the links below to see some of our other favorite products and announcements from the show.