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Automotive

CES 2023 Will Be a High-Tech Auto Fantasy Land

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Sure, there’ll be plenty of drones, home automation devices and 8K TVs. But the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show will also serve up plenty of automotive news. There’ll be new AI voice assistant technology, advanced laser and camera sensors and a number of new vehicles making their global debut.

CES 2022 show floor
The Consumer Electronics Show is more than just drones, TVs and smart phones now as automakers make big news at the show regularly now.

The most eagerly awaited introduction will be the Ram Revolution, a thinly disguised prototype signaling what’s to come when the Stellantis truck brand rolls out its first all-electric pickup. And you can expect a standing-room-only crowd to be on hand when Sony reveals a nearly production-ready version of the “smart” EV it is developing with Honda.

All told, as many as a dozen automakers from the U.S., Europe and Asia will be on hand in Las Vegas for CES 2023. And, if past years are any indication, we could be in for a few surprises. Here’s a look at some of what we expect to see uncovered in Sin City this week:

Ram Revolution

What used to be known as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was slow to embrace battery technology. Former CEO Sergio Marchionne went so far as to ask motorists not to buy FCA’s first all-electric model, the Fiat 500e. But things have changed since the company merged with France’s Groupe PSA, and you’ll see plenty of all-electric models, as well as plug-in hybrids coming to market over the next several years from brands as disparate as Alfa Romeo and Jeep.

For its part, Ram is fast-tracking battery technology and will begin the transition with a concept coming to CES dubbed the Ram Revolution. It’s expected to be a thinly disguised version of the Ram 1500 EV pickup that will go into production in 2024. Taking aim at traditional competitors like Ford and General Motors, the Ram truck also will face off with startups like Rivian and, if it ever gets the Cybertruck into production, Tesla.

Ram 1500 Revolution EV nose REL
The Ram Truck brand will unveil its Ram 1500 Revolution at this year’s CES.

Ram officials have hinted its electric truck will deliver as much as 500 miles of range, offer rapid charging and “advanced automation.” There has been speculation it may also feature a range-extender option. Various sources have indicated the Ram 1500 EV will offer several different powertrain options, one delivering as much as 855 horsepower. That would surpass both the Chevrolet Silverado, topping out at 754 hp, and the Ford Lightning, at a maximum 563 hp. But it would fall short of the top-line GMC Hummer that makes more than 1,000 ponies.

BMW’s “ultimate digital driving machine”

The Bavarian automaker’s CEO, Oliver Zipse, will be one of CES 2023’s keynote speakers. And the automaker has already revealed a few of the things it’s planning to bring to CES, including a hydrogen fuel-cell-powered version of its X5 SUV that will be going into a global pilot program this year.

TheDetroitBureau.com already had a chance to test the wild M Mixed Reality driving system that put us behind the wheel of an M2 sports coupe while a virtual reality headset made it seem like we were driving in a video game. But there are a few more things coming.

BMW M Mixed Reality car driving nose REL
BMW plans to bring its mixed reality tech to the Consumer Electronics Show.

But the spotlight is likely to shine on what BMW is calling its “ultimate digital driving machine.” We’ve actually had a chance to check this concept out but have been sworn to secrecy — for now. Let’s just say that Hal 9000 would likely be impressed by an AI voice assistant named Dee.

Volkswagen ID Concept

The German automaker has gone from electric skeptic to one of the industry’s biggest proponents, with an electrification program carrying a $100 billion-plus price tag. There’ll be all sorts of products to come, including the ID.Buzz Microbus that has just gone on sale in Europe, with a long-wheelbase version set to follow for the American market.

For the moment, U.S. buyers only have access to variants of the VW ID.4 crossover, but that’s about to change. Not only is the ID.Buzz in the works, but so is an all-electric sedan signaled by the ID.Aero concept that debuted last year. VW plans to bring an updated version, likely much closer to production reality, to CES 2023.

What the automaker describes as “the newest member of its all-electric family” will debut on the afternoon of Jan. 3 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

VW ID.Aero concept front REL
Volkswagen’s ID.Aero concept will likely replace the Passat and an updated version is coming to this year’s CES.

Sony gets wheels — with some help from Honda

Today’s cars are computers on wheels — and that’s got strong appeal to some of the world’s big tech companies. But while Apple continues to struggle trying to bring a vehicle to market, Sony is moving fast, largely through the helping hand of Honda.

The two companies announced plans to team up last year when Sony brought several vehicle prototypes to CES. They’ve confirmed that they will be making a significant announcement at the 2023 event — though neither is offering any insight into what’s coming.

Their joint venture, Sony Honda Mobility, revealed a high-tech sedan, the Concept S, last year. But, considering where the market has moved, it would seem likely that some sort of crossover will be the production target. What has been confirmed is that Sony and Honda want to have something out on the road by 2025.

Mercedes is bringing “Tech to Desire” to CES 2023

Sony Vision-S 02 debut
Once the playground for video games and televisions, CES has become one of the top auto shows around — especially for Sony.

Mercedes-Benz has been a regular guest at CES in recent years, rolling out some intriguing high-tech concept vehicles, including the Vision AVTR show vehicle developed with the assistance of Avatar director James Cameron. Another concept vehicle, the Vision EQXX will be on the stand this year, the all-electric prototype having set a record of more than 700 miles on a single charge.

But we’re hearing whispers that there’ll be more, starting with company officials offering a deep dive into their electrification plans. That will go beyond the line-up of products, like the new EQE SUV, coming to market over the next several years.

“At the forefront will be the theme of ‘Tech to Desire,’ illustrating how technological developments from Mercedes Benz enrich the lives of its customers. The focus is on innovations that give back time, make life easier and generate excitement,” the automaker said in a press release. That will include new in-car entertainment technology. And Mercedes is certain to announce how it will roll out its Level 3, semi-autonomous DrivePilot system in the U.S.

VinFast, Audi and other brands

Chrysler Airflow Graphite Concept front
An updated version of the Chrysler Airflow concept is coming to the CES 2023.

The first shipment of vehicles from Vietnamese automaker VinFast landed in the U.S. last month and the automaker plans to live up to its name by rolling out an assortment of new all-electric models this year. That starts with the midsize VinFast VF 8, with the larger, three-row VF 9 to follow this quarter. Two more models, the smaller VF 6 and VF 7 lines, will follow before the end of 2023. Expect all four to be on display in Las Vegas.

Audi, meanwhile, has signaled plans to show off a “virtual-reality experience platform” at CES 2023. But it also will display members of its expanding EV line-up.

Then there’s Chrysler. Ram’s sibling brand is planning to bring to Las Vegas an updated version of the all-electric Airflow concept as it fast approaches the 2025 target for launching a production version.

Look for production models and concepts from Polestar, Italdesign and even Peugeot.

And, if the flood of e-mails TheDetroitBureau.com has received in recent weeks, there’ll be plenty of display place showing off the latest in automotive technologies, including new versions of the lidar, radio and camera sensors that will be critical to finally making self-driving vehicles a reality.

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