SEMA News— February 2022

EVENTS

AutoMobility 2021

New EVs Dominate the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show

By Douglas McColloch

AutoMobility

Now officially known as AutoMobility, the L.A. show still uses the same general format as a conventional auto show but with a much greater emphasis on the latest cutting-edge developments in electrification, autonomy, vehicle sharing and connectivity.

In the world of international auto expositions, the L.A. Auto Show was considered for many years as something of a red-headed stepchild—neglected, maligned and often ignored. That was due in part to the Show’s timing. For years, it was held during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, a time of year when many in the automotive industry are on vacation and only two weeks before the annual North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Industry perceptions began to change in 2006, when the Show moved its dates to late November, and again in 2013, when the Show hosted the Connected Car Expo, a special exhibit of the latest advances in alternative propulsion systems and autonomous technology.

Now officially known as AutoMobility, the L.A. show still uses the same general format as a conventional auto show but with a much greater emphasis on the latest cutting-edge developments in electrification, autonomy, vehicle sharing and connectivity.

Cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19, AutoMobility returned to the Los Angeles Convention Center last November with a variety of new-vehicle unveilings—nearly all of them showcasing electric and other alternative powertrains. Here are some of the vehicles that made their debuts in L.A. last November.

Subaru Solterra

Subarus have become a common sight at the SEMA Show in recent years, particularly in the overlanding/lifestyle travel arena, and we imagine we’ll be seeing examples of Subaru’s first-ever EV at future Shows.

A joint venture with Toyota, which provided the battery and powertrain, the five-passenger Solterra utilizes two electric motors to provide power to Subaru’s symmetrical X-Mode all-wheel drive system, which controls throttle response, transmission shift points and torque transfer to optimize traction on wet or uneven terrain. The system also incorporates Subaru’s Grip Mode, a sort of “off-road cruise control” that handles hill ascent and descent duties.

Rated power for the Solterra is 215 hp and 248 lb.-ft. of torque, and the battery is said to accept an 80% charge in under an hour. It’s the first Subaru to come equipped with a 360-degree-view camera, and it sports a respectable 8.3 in. of ground clearance. Based on the E-Subaru Global Platform architecture that will serve as the framework for additional EVs, the Solterra goes on sale this year.

Hyundai Seven Concept

Hyundai

Billed at the Show as a “living space on wheels,” Hyundai’s newest EV concept, the Seven, is envisioned as being capable of fully autonomous operation.

Billed at the Show as a “living space on wheels,” Hyundai’s newest EV concept, the Seven, is envisioned as being capable of fully autonomous operation and is likely to see production in 2024 in a somewhat different form as the Ioniq 7, a three-row fullsize SUV based off the same E-GMP platform that serves as a foundation for the Ioniq 5 hatchback and the upcoming Ioniq 6 sedan.

The Seven features an asymmetrical door design—one on the driver’s side, two on the passenger’s side—which open to reveal a pair of swiveling lounge chairs up front and a sofa-like rear seat in the back. (When the vehicle is operating in full autonomous mode, the driver and front passenger can both swivel around to converse with passengers in back.)

Available in rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, the Seven touts a 300-mi. cruising range and is said to accept a 70% charge utilizing an 800V charging system in less than 20 min. With COVID in mind, the vehicle’s interior is designed with hygiene features such as antimicrobial seat fabrics and airline-grade air filtration.

Kia Sportage HEV

Kia

Longer and wider than the previous model, the KIA Sportage HEV built on the same N3 platform as its big-brother Sorento.

The fifth generation of Kia’s compact SUV, the all-new ’23 Sportage now boasts a hybrid electric powertrain that’s shared with the Hyundai Tucson. Longer and wider than the previous model, it’s built on the same N3 platform as its big-brother Sorento, and its 1.6L turbocharged four-cylinder is supplemented by a 44kW permanent magnet motor to deliver an estimated 226 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard, and the vehicle can be had in front-wheel or Active all-wheel drive, which uses a center diff-lock to optimize front-to-rear torque transfers.

Mileage for the Tucson hybrid is 38 mpg combined; Kia says it is aiming for 39 mpg and a 500-mi. combined cruising range for the Sportage. Riding on a 108.5-in. wheelbase, the Kia boasts 8.3 in. of ground clearance. Inside, twin 12.3-in. view screens are available, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto interconnectivity come standard.

Edison Future EF1-T Concept

China-based SPI Energy unveiled its electric/solar pickup truck at AutoMobility, and its exterior design (reminiscent of Tesla’s Cybertruck) attracted quite a bit of interest. The EF1-T is said to be offered in three trim levels, with battery capacities ranging from 120 to 180 kWH, which in turn offer 300 to 450 mi. of cruising range.

The retractable tonneau utilizes an integrated mosaic-design solar panel that can be locked in place to recharge the truck’s single battery. But this truck is built to work as well, with eight tie-down points in the 6.5-ft. bed and estimated towing capacities ranging from 7,500–11,000 lbs., depending on trim level.

Inside, an additional mosaic solar panel provides extra charging power, and aluminum toolboxes are built into the inner door panels for secure storage. Outside, motion-activated electric side steps improve ingress and egress, and beefy 37-in. Yokohama Geolandar tires provide ruggedness for off-road forays.

SPI Energy executives have announced their intent to bring the truck to market “in the coming months,” but no further details have been disclosed.

VinFast VF e35 and e36

VinFast

The e35 will be available with either a single- or a dual-motor configuration that produces 200 or 400 hp, respectively.

Four-year-old Vietnamese automaker VinFast debuted a pair of all-electric SUVs, and while the vehicles will be imported for the short term, the company said that it plans to break ground on a U.S.-based assembly plant by 2024.

The compact e35 (pictured) and the midsize e36 both utilize the familiar skateboard design, with batteries and motors mounted beneath the floors. The e35 will be available with either a single- or a dual-motor configuration that produces 200 or 400 hp, respectively. (The e36 will come standard with dual motors.) Estimated cruising range will be approximately 300 mi.

Both utes’ stylish exteriors were penned by Pininfarina, with the smaller e35 sporting split headlights and silver trim, and the boxier e36 featuring V-shaped front and rear light bars. The e36 is additionally equipped for Level 3 self-driving.

Both vehicles are expected to go on sale this spring, with a network of showrooms initially located in southern California.

Fisker Ocean

Making its world debut at L.A. was Fisker’s all-new midsize SUV, which is based on an existing chassis architecture provided by Magna-Steyr. Starting at $37,500, the Ocean comes in three trim levels with either single or dual electric motors, including front-wheel or all-wheel drive. Base horsepower is 275, but the top-level 540hp dual-motor configuration is said to be good for a 0–60 time of 3.6 sec.

The Ocean’s retractable sunroof sports an integrated solar panel that can supply an additional 2,000 mi. of range per year, and the vehicle supports bidirectional charging, which means that it can be used as a power source during periods of high demand.

Numerous eco-friendly touches abound inside, such as carpeting made from recycled fish nets and plastic bottles. The Ocean even offers a “Doggie Window Mode,” which partially lowers the rearmost side glass so your shaggy best friend can get a better view of the road.

Production of the Ocean is scheduled to begin in late 2022 at the Magna-Steyr assembly plant in Graz, Austria.

Mullen Five

California-based Mullen Automotive enters the luxury SUV market with the all-electric Five. Penned by Thurner Design, which includes veterans of Bugatti and Rolls design teams, the Five offers a 95kWH lithium-sulphur battery pack that’s capable of a 325-mi. range and a 0–60 time of 3.2 sec. at a (governed) top speed of 155 mph. The battery is also said to accept an 80% charge in slightly more than 20 min.

Pirelli P-Zero tires are wrapped around 23-in. wheels outfitted with Brembo brakes with carbon-ceramic calipers. The Five features facial recognition technology with a “Sentry” mode, which unlocks the vehicle when the owner approaches and inhibits would-be thieves, and it is equipped with Level 2.5 driver assistance (i.e., semi-autonomous) drive technology.

The Five will be built at Mullen’s brand-new assembly plant in Tunica, Mississippi, and is scheduled to arrive in mid-2024.

Brembach Premium 4x4

Bremach

Starting at $26,400, the Brembach will appear at franchised dealerships starting in early 2022.

A throwback to a simpler time, this Russian UAZ-built 4x4 is defiantly old school. That starts with body-on-frame architecture, solid front and (Eaton-lockable) rear axles with 8.3 in. of ground clearance, and coil springs in front and leaf springs in the back. Add a two-speed transfer case with a 2.54:1 low range and Bosch active safety system that includes Hill Hold, and you have the makings of a capable out-of-the-box off-roader.

A 16V 1.4L gas engine sends 154 hp to either a six-speed automatic or a five-speed manual transmission, and the vehicle can operate in either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. Ten paint colors are available, and a full range of factory options includes heavy-duty bumpers, fender flares, roof racks and additional skidplating.

Starting at $26,400, the Brembach will appear at franchised dealerships starting in early 2022.

Latest Related News

Events
Battle of the Builders 2022
November 2022
View Article
Events
The 2022 SEMA Awards Gala
October 2022
View Article
Events
Connecting for Business
September 2022
View Article