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Vehicles at CES 2023

Thursday, January 19, 2023

CES 2023 saw a return to normal for the world’s largest tech conference and an impressive display of vehicle tech, which accounted for about 20% of the entire show and included 275 transport related companies.  

With such a massive event like CES there is no way to cover everything, and most likely there is quite a bit not worth covering. Remember 3d TVs? The 275 companies present covered everything from OEMs to micromobility and sensor manufacturers. Of note is the many small EVs, from bikes to scooters and even a three-wheeler called an Autocycle. RCA, the consumer electronic company most well-known for developing the VCR back in the day, has even thrown their hat in the ring with a range of micromobility options from e-scooters to e-bikes. Electrifying a new segment, Atmos Gear, launched the world’s first electric rollerblade. 

There were, as expected, a host of full-sized EVs revealed, including some, like the Volkswagen ID 7, that are actual products and some, like the two concepts from Stellantis brands RAM and Peugeot, that are less so. Perhaps part way between Volkswagen and Stellantis is EV from Sony and Honda called Afeela, which is supposed to launch in 2026. On the vehicle and hardware side Mercedes announced plans to build a charging network of 10,000 chargers by 2030.  

It wasn’t, of course, all about hardware. A potentially significant for autonomy announcement came from Google, who said that an HD version of their vehicle mapping solution will be made available through their Google Automotive Services, with Volvo and Polestar among the first OEMs to make use of it. Many suppliers, such as Harman and Bosch showed off new ideas for cabin design and, while BMW showed off a new take on the head-up display.  

Personal Comment:  

If there was a common theme to the announcements it was electrification and digitalization. Everyone is trying to capture attention with designs that highlight new screens, HUDs, or electric motors. This makes sense given that it is the Consumer Electronics Show. However, it seems to me that the industry is in a moment of significant change, something along the lines of a Schumpeter’s gale, where the stable economic, design, and structure of an industry dramatically shifts. New companies are trying to get in on the action, and incumbents are seeking to innovate and find new designs in hardware and software.  

CES is experimental, of course, and sometimes what is splashed across the stage there never really makes it to market (3d TVs again), but in this case it seems to me that we can see the automotive industry trying to figure out what fully connected, electric vehicles will look and feel like. I don’t think there is a stable paradigm in place yet. New companies, new ideas, and divergent directions will likely continue until a new normal is settled on. It certainly is an exciting time to watch the industry!  

Written by Joshua Bronson
RISE Mobility & Systems