Ford Motor Company and Microsoft unveiled the SYNC system at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), beginning a tradition of automakers invading the annual Las Vegas tech event. In January 2016, electric vehicle concepts from General Motors, Volkswagen, and the shadowy Faraday Future are headed to CES, making it rival the top auto shows on the calendar. At least two of the three EVs on the agenda look like game-changers.
We’ll start with the one with the fewest unknowns, the Bolt EV, which is the first electric model aimed at the mainstream in terms of price point (near $30,000 after incentives) and range (200 miles). GM’s Mark Reuss told The Verge that CES would be the venue for the reveal of the production model. While leaked spy shots don’t speak of a high-style car, this model is groundbreaking for the industry.
Faraday Future, an elusive startup automaker, is also bringing a concept to CES. Though confirmations (and actual photos) have been hard to come by with the company, we have a rough sketch posted in July 2015.
What we do know is that the company is opening a production facility in North Las Vegas with an investment of $1 billion, a development announced in early December. Former executives from Tesla and BMW are on staff at Faraday, which hints this electric car concept will be a high-end product.
Finally, the third EV coming to CES 2016 will come from Volkswagen. After the fallout from the diesel scandal, the automaker has set its sights on a plug-in electric future.
Volkswagen offered a teaser photo of a large fascia that may be part of a utility vehicle or, as some outlets suggested, a modern version of the Microbus. In a company statement, the German brand promised a “completely new concept…that marks the beginning of a new era of affordable long-distance electromobility.”
Dr. Herbert Diess, chairman of Volkswagen, is delivering the keynote the night prior to CES’s opening with a focus on developments in the electric car space along with innovations in in-car infotainment. During CES, the automaker will showcase connected-car tech it plans to unveil in the coming years.
In all three cases, the focus of the automakers is on electric cars aimed at the masses. As dangerous air conditions plague China and threaten nations around the world in the future, mainstream EV technology cannot arrive soon enough. By the first week of January, we should have an idea about the shape of mass-market solutions.