CES 2022: the future of mobility takes a turn

The Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX electric vehicle has a claimed 1000km range.

Craig Duff

Posted January 10, 2022


The evolution of what defines mobility has been questioned and put on show at the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The LED lights (neon is so passe) and non-stop action of Las Vegas provided the perfect backdrop to highlight the next-generation technology and how the human-machine interface is evolving.

Traditionally an event for portable devices and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, the Consumer Electronics Show has increasingly become a platform for car manufacturers and suppliers to showcase their interpretation of what the future beholds.

While the 2022 event was effectively the first 'car show' in two years due to COVID-19 global restrictions, many opted to physically locate their vehicles to Vegas, highlighted via virtual events for clients and journalists.

From colour-changing cars and electric-powered motorbikes, some are thinking bigger, including Hyundai and their effort to re-define 'mobility' as something that comes to us, rather than us coming to them. CES 2022 showcased a new era of tech that will be coming to our roads soon.

BMW unveil colour-changing car with E Ink at CES 2022

 

BMW iX Flow

The Bavarian brand is imagining a future where customers can customize their car’s colour to match their moods or outfits.

For now, the “E Ink” palette is limited to monochrome: white, greys and black but BMW envisages a world where you can pick any hue and cry out your preference.

The colour-morphing display is also smart. It only uses power when changing hue. Once set, the nanoparticles lock in that shade.

The tech was developed by Australian engineer Stella Clarke.

"Similar to fashion or the status ads on social media channels, the vehicle becomes an expression of different moods and circumstances in daily life," Ms Clarke said at the unveiling.

The tech can also have a practical effect. Opting for white will help keep the car’s interior cooler in summer; while going black will maximize heat retention in winter.

Beyond the science-fiction approach, BMW also showcased its latest electric vehicle. The iX M60 is the most powerful electric Beemer to date, boasting 455kW and 1100Nm.

BMW says the big SUV it can hit 100km/h 3.8-seconds and is capable of travelling up to 566km based on the WLTP test cycle.

Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX

Australia’s top-selling prestige brand is touting a 1000km range for the electric vehicle EQXX, largely because of its aerodynamic efficiency.

Mercedes quotes a drag coefficient of just 0.17 and notes “this value is of particular importance for electric driving and, above all, for the range. This is because two-thirds of the electric energy is needed just to counter air resistance”.

The company also claims an energy efficiency of 95 per cent, compared to around 30 per cent for an internal combustion engine. Part of the reason is the application of next-gen technology derived from the Formula One race car.

The result is a 100kWh battery - not huge given the claimed range - that Mercedes says occupies half as much space and weighs 30 per cent less than comparable batteries.

Solar panels are fitted to the roof to help supply power to the auxiliary systems, such as the airconditioning system. Mercedes says that “with ideal conditions, this can produce up to 25 kilometres extra range for long-distance journeys”.

 

Australian-born engineer Stella Clarke conceived the colour-changing BMW iX Flow.
The Mercedes-Benz EQXX concept electric car has a coefficient of drag of just 0.17

Sony Vision-S 02

The Japanese electronics giant first showed off its mobility aspirations at the 2020 CES show with an electrified sedan leveraging the company’s television, camera and smartphone technology. The logic seems to be that you can buy an electric battery off the shelf, but Sony’s proprietary electronics expertise may be just what the next generation of customers want in a car.

This time around they’ve launched an SUV which will appeal to more people and announced the formation of a Sony Mobility off-shoot “to explore entry into the EV market”.

Sony has been testing the sedan on European roads since last year with the aim of developing the software to enable Level 2+ advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) on public roads. That speaks of a desire to get into the market sooner rather than later.

Other initiatives include seat-mounted speakers and the capacity to remotely connect to a PlayStation console and play games from the back seats (using screens embedded into the rear of the front pews).

Hyundai mobility

Just as Sony is looking to leverage its electronics expertise in the mobility sector, Hyundai envisages a world where it operates most of the devices in your home or office.

The South Korean car maker, which bought high-profile robotics company Boston Dynamics last year, has developed a “Plug and Drive Module” to mobilize traditionally inanimate objects from tool cases to whiteboards.

The units incorporate steering, braking, in-wheel electric drive, and suspension hardware in a single-wheel housing.

Hyundai says that, “with infinite wheel rotation, the module is extremely flexible and can move interactively within surrounding environments with LiDAR and camera sensors.”

The company’s vice-president and head of the robotics lab, Dong Jin Hyun, says it’s not only a reinvention of a wheel but also a reinvention of the way we might use wheels in the future.

“In the world to come, you won’t move your things. Things will move around you” Mr Hyun says.

 

Sony envisages a future where it's electronics expertise gives it an edge in electric mobility..
Hyundai wants to mobilize traditionally inanimate objects.
The Damon Motorcycles Hyperfighter represents the future of two-wheeled transport.

Damon Motorcycles Hyperfighter

Two-wheeled fans were catered for at CES 2022 with the electric-powered motorcycle, the Damon Motorcycles’ Hyperfighter.

It looks like a conventional machine but is packing the latest battery and software to ensure it is as comfortable and quick a ride as most enthusiasts will want.

The bike uses a “Shift” system: hydraulics that raise and lower the bars and move the footpegs forwards and backwards depending on riding style and traffic conditions.

There’s also a “Co-Pilot” suite, which uses 360-degree cameras, along with radar to alert the rider of potential threats. Recharging can be performed using a Level One, Two or CCS connector.

Three versions are on offer, but the one you want is the limited-edition Colossus. It puts out 150kW/200Nm and has a claimed range of 230km. The track-focused streetfighter is fitted with Ohlinsh suspension, Brembo brakes and is good for a claimed top speed of 275km/h.

The price is as high as the speed, though, at a quoted $US35,000.

 

 

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