The biggest auto show on the West Coast roared into the Los Angeles Convention Center on Wednesday, November 17, kicking off two press days before the show opened to the public on Friday, November 19.
After a year off because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was a toned-down version of previous outings as some major automakers were absent, and strict COVID-19 protocols dictated attendance. The combined impacts of fewer automakers in attendance and health guidelines made for fewer crowds and more floor space given to brands who normally would have been relegated to the hallway.
Jerrywas on site to get a first-hand look at the electric vehicle—and other—debuts at this year’s show.
Front-and-center electric vehicle startups
While standard automakers showcased updates of many of their gas-powered vehicles, the stars of the LA Auto Show were the electric vehicles. Almost every producer highlighted their electric offerings, putting a focus on sustainability and a carbon-neutral future.
Los Angeles is one of the top electric vehicle markets in the world, so it makes sense that the show placed a premium on the continued advancements in EV technology.
As opposed to the New York Auto Show—which was again canceled for 2021—run by the dealership association, LA Auto Show is its own entity, making it a prime spot to feature the launches for up-and-coming EV startups who typically operate in a direct sales model.
The Fisker Ocean made a splash
Perhaps one of the most anticipated debuts of the show was Fisker’s Ocean. With a prime location at the front of the South Hall,
Fisker’s electric offering was one of the most crowded displays throughout the two-day press event.
Aside from its sustainable build—repurposed fishing nets and plastic water bottles are used to create the luxury interior—the company’s subscription model, and subsequent low base-model price of $37,499, set the SUV apart from its competitors.
Fisker founder Heinrik Fisker emphasized the importance of “creating an innovative, exciting vehicle that’s affordable for everyone.” Fisker is on-target to deliver their first vehicles in mid-2022.
Vinfast previewed a Vietnamese electric car
Another prominent debut came from Vietnamese automaker Vinfast, the first Vietnamese automaker to sell in the United States market. The company showcased previews of its two upcoming electric crossovers—the mid-size VF e35 and the full-size VF e36—both featuring advanced automotive technology, including safety assistance features and a spate of infotainment tools.
The streamlined, crisp appearances of both vehicles were impressive as the cars were designed with aerodynamic properties in mind. Like Fisker,
Vinfastfocused on reasonable prices—which will be announced later—in part due to the company’s battery leasing program, which will assuage concerns about the batteries becoming outdated during the car’s 10-year warranty.
Vinfast hopes to launch sales in the United States in 2022.
Traditional automakers joined the electric vehicle focus at the LA Auto Show
Even if they were not debuting a new EV concept, most traditional automakers retained the focus on an electrical future. Major automakers like Lexus and GM didn’t bring an EV to the show, but the prominence of EVs for other automakers signified a major shift in focus for the automotive industry.
Subaru has an all new electric SUV
Subaru—the outdoor enthusiast’s favorite car—is making a step towards an electric-focused future with the debut of the Solterra. Known for getting its drivers into the great outdoors, Subaru has designed the Solterra with the traction, ground clearance, and storage capabilities for drivers to bring their gear on their next adventure.
However, the EV’s range remains something of a question as the Solterra is still going through its final testing stages. The company predicts the car will get a range over 220 miles with the ability to get a “significant charge under an hour.”
Ford got to show off the electric F-150 and Mustang Mach-E
Ford’s massive display also put electric vehicles in the forefront. Aptly named “Built to Electrify”, Ford showcased the 2022 F-150 Lightning.
The popular truck was unveiled in April of 2021 and made its LA Auto Show debut on Wednesday. Capitalizing on Ford’s extensive knowledge of truck manufacturing, the truck is built with the same towing capabilities as in the past, but it now incorporates four different drive modes to make the most of its battery.
F150 Lightning includesa host of new features—including 11 outlets for on-the-go power and Ford’s “Intelligent Backup Power”, which turns the truck into a generator in case of a power outage.
Fordalso offered test rides in the fully electric 2022 Mustang Mach-E. The ride in the Mach-E is incredibly smooth, and the acceleration from 0-60 in 3.5 seconds is impressive (though, the test ride acceleration only hits 30—which is still plenty fast in a short time).
The smart styling of the Mustang plus the improved performance and technology features make this a top EV in its class.
Hyundai debuted its ‘Seven Concept’
Perhaps the most innovative debut of the show was the Hyundai Seven Concept. While the car is more a concept vehicle than a production model, the automaker showcased some impressive innovations, making it clear that Hyundai is looking towards the future.
The Seven Concept’s design elements echo some of the Ioniq 5’s styling, especially with regards to the parametric pixel lights and solid build. The back window—which is almost the size of the entire rear end of the vehicle—is a departure from Hyundai’s other offerings, creating a sleek, futuristic look.
Where the Seven really shows off its concept is in the interior. Hyundai is prepping for an autonomous driving future—a steering wheel is replaced by a control stick steering device, and bucket seats are replaced by living room-esque furniture. While this is far from a reality, Hyundai is showcasing what is possible in transportation.
Other major automakers to showcase EVs included Hyundai’s subsidiary Kia (with its fresh new branding), Nissan, Toyota, and Porsche.