CES 2023: The five most memorable cars

By dpa | 9 January 2023

LAS VEGAS: While classic car trade fairs are dying out, the automotive industry is spreading more and more into tech events like the CES fair here.

Worried about Apple and Google's potential to disrupt their market, car manufacturers want to prove they are future-proof.

The idea of a car as a smartphone on wheels is coming closer than ever to reality, and classic mechanical engineering is losing relevance as buyers look for digital smarts and electric performance.

It's therefore no surprise that one of the world's biggest tech events, the CES trade fair here taking place in early January, is slowly morphing into a car show.

Between TVs as big as cinema screens, smart sex toys and robot kitchens, there are countless cars trying to turn heads with features like changing exterior colours, huge electric range and solar power.

Here are five cars that show us how mobility is set to change in the next few years.

Volkswagen ID.7

1. VW's ID.7, the Passat of the electric era

The ID.3 is the electric heir to the Golf, the ID.4 is the Tiguan for the charging station and now the ID.7 is the harbinger of an electric saloon in the guise of the VW Passat.

With a preview of the largest car from its electric modular system, VW is shifting up another gear in the electric mobility revolution. Designed to be particularly streamlined and therefore very efficient, it is to be unveiled this spring without the camouflage still disguising it at CES.

In the second half of the year, it's set to compete with cars like the BMW i4 and the Tesla Model 3 with a standard range of up to 700km.

Although VW wants to use it to lure its mid-range customers over to the electric side (and is even planning an estate version), the German automotive giant says we shouldn't interpret this as news that the classic Passat is being phased out.


2. The most spectacular looking car at CES: Peugeot's Inception

Peugeot's five-metre-long coupé concept has probably been the most remarkable car on display at CES, although many would argue that prize goes to BMW (see number

With a razor-sharp looking design, the Inception comes in specially insulating glazing inspired by the helmets of NASA astronauts and has an elaborately illuminated grille

Its novel operating concept allows it to be steered without a classic steering wheel and more like a gaming console for the road.

It marks a new beginning for the Stellantis Group's brand family, says company boss Carlos Tavares. After all, most brands have so far only brought converted combustion engines to the charging station. The Inception, meanwhile, is the first model to come from a platform developed exclusively for electric vehicles.

In addition to more generous space, Stellantis promises above all more range and higher charging speeds. However, the engineers will probably not go quite as far as with the Inception in the series-production electric cars planned by Peugeot or Opel from 2026.

Admittedly, 680hp, a 0 to 100kph sprint of under 3 seconds and a range of up to 800km are probably a bit too much for the likes of the 308 and the Astra.

bmw dee

3. BMW's screen-free vision of the future car

At a time when most manufacturers want bigger screens in their cars, BMW is getting rid of them and instead wants to turn the entire windscreen of cars into one large, wide-screen canvas for a head-up display.

At CES, the carmaker unveiled a surprisingly bare dashboard inside its futuristic BMW i Vision Dee concept.

Instead of the usual analogue or digital dials in the cockpit, this saloon's speedometer, sat nav and other displays are projected onto the windscreen using a large head-up display in what BMW says is "a glimpse of the next vehicle generation."

BMW says this display innovation will be implemented into a new generation of models it's calling the Neue Klasse ('New Class') from 2025 onwards.

The designers have also optimised their use of so-called E Ink technology, showcased in 2022 in a car that could switch its outside paint job from black to white and varying shades of grey in between.

Now, instead of just black and white, the exterior can now switch between 32 colours at the touch of a button, letting it light up like the neon signs in the surrounding gambler's paradise of Las Vegas.

The concept car is remarkably empty inside: There are no door handles, dashboard, temperature controls, switches or buttons. There's not even a display - a remarkable choice for an era in which cars are being kitted out with ever-larger screens.

The central control element is a sensor system on the surface that is the dashboard in today's cars. The driver decides which information they want to see on the windscreen by voice command or hand gesture.

When the car is stationary, drivers can use dimmable windows to block out reality and turn the windscreen into one large and immersive screen.

BMW says they will also set new standards in energy efficiency, offering up to 30% faster charging and a third more range.


4. Lightyear's solar-powered coupe

The jury may still be out as to whether electric cars really provide any benefit to the climate over combustion engines, but at CES, there's no longer any doubt that the car of the future is electric.

Apart from a few hi-fi manufacturers, you won't find any diesel or petrol engines in the exhibition halls of Vegas this January.

But just because all the show cars now have a plug, the technology is far from matured. Manufacturers and suppliers alike are striving for better range.

That's why many are now showing off detailed solutions to increase the efficiency of their car with one goal: get more kilometres out of every percentage of battery.

Manufacturers know that many diesel and petrol car owners are wary of the lack of charging points once they leave the city. That's why they've come up with features like solar modules on the body of the Lightyear 2.

The mass-produced model of the Dutch start-up of the same name, which will not be available until 2026 at the earliest, is expected to cost less than €40,000 (RM185,000) and recharge during drives and while parked with the help of the sun.

Lightyear is promising an impressive 800km on one charge and says owners will need to plug it in about three times less often than a conventional electric model.


5. Sony and Honda's new Afeela brand

Sony, already a leader in the video game business with its PlayStation console, wants to set itself apart in the automotive industry with a focus on high-tech entertainment inside the car.

The electronics giant has announced that it wants sell its jointly developed car with Honda under the brand name Afeela, set to launch first in North America in 2026.

Sony wants Afeela to play to its strengths in artificial intelligence, entertainment and camera sensors, among other things, said the head of Sony Honda Mobility, Yasuhide Mizuno.

Sony had already shown two electric car prototypes here in previous years under the name Vision-S. The new vehicle is based on the previous design, but the rear section, for example, is more reminiscent of a Porsche than before.

The car is to have 45 cameras and other sensors, among other things for automated driving functions. An unusual detail is a display between the front headlights that can show information for people in front of the car.