Supplement, Wheelers

CES 2020 EV Roundup:

Nissan Ariya Concept, Fisker Ocean, plug-in Jeeps, and wild concepts

Published : 05 Jan 2020 08:59 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 09:17 AM

CES 2020 will not be the EV extravaganza that it’s been in past years. But we’re looking forward to seeing Nissan’s Ariya all-electric crossover, the Fisker Ocean, and a trio of plug-in hybrid Jeeps. Beyond that, we’ll get updates from Byton and Mercedes-Benz about their EVs coming in 2021. And because it’s CES, there will be all kinds of wacky concepts, including the configurable electric Fiat Centoventi, an i3 Urban Suite, and maybe even a couple of flying electric cars. 

Chinese automaker BYTON kicks off the first media day of 2020 with a news conference on Sunday, Jan. 5, at 3 pm. Two years ago, BYTON unveiled the M-Byte Concept at CES. This year, the company returns as it prepares in 2020 to introduce the $45,000, 250-mile all-electric SUV in China. BYTON recently told us that its EV is on schedule to go on sale in the US in the second half of 2021. Vegas is expected to have the production (or near-production) version of the M-BYTE – with its giant door-to-door dashboard screen – on display

Nissan presents what might be considered the most important EV of CES 2020. The Nissan Ariya Concept makes its North American debut. We’ve been waiting for about a decade for an EV follow-up to the Leaf. First unveiled in October at the Tokyo Motor Show, the Nissan Ariya Concept, a crossover with 300 miles of range, could go on sale in the US by late 2021.

It’s about the size of the Nissan Rogue and has a stance similar to the Jaguar I-Pace. The only physical controls are the start button, one knob to operate the car’s 12.3-inch display, and climate controls. We’ll spend time with Nissan to get details about its new all-wheel-drive, all-electric drivetrain. Fisker is back at CES for some Vegas razzle-dazzle. Henrik Fisker will unveil the 80 kilowatt-hour Ocean all-electric SUV, which is expected to become available in 2022. We’ll get our first chance to see the EV with a full-length solar roof and vegan interior. It’s expected to be made available via a subscription for $379 a month.

Jeep will use some of FCA’s 6,000 square feet of space at CES to showcase three plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The plug-in Jeep Renegade, Compass, and Wrangler will sport the brand’s new “Jeep 4xe” badge, to signal electrification. Previous statements from Jeep-parent FCA indicated that a plug-in hybrid variant of the Wrangler would launch in 2020, with electrified options of all models as soon as 2022. Jeep previously teased plug-in versions of the Compass and Renegade, promising 240-horsepower performance and an all-electric of about 30 miles, although might be optimistic. Jeep says details and drivable versions won’t be available until later this year, although the company will offer VR test drives of the plug-in hybrids at CES.

BMW will be at CES giving rides in its i3 Urban Suite vehicle. The electric powertrain was untouched – and the driver’s seat and dashboard were left alone. But the rest of the interior was transformed into something like a boutique hotel. The goal was to show how a car interior can be transformed into a laid-back place for relaxation. There’s a large comfortable, easy chair in the back with a footrest and a screen that flips down from the headliner. A fleet of these i3 Urban Suites can be hailed via an app in Vegas during CES 2020.

Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz brand will have the EQC 400 4MATIC all-electric SUV at its display stand. A few weeks ago, Mercedes-Benz delayed the first deliveries of the $68,000, 220-mile EQC until 2021. Perhaps we will hear some news about the EQC’s progress when Ola Källenius, head of Mercedes-Benz cars, delivers CES’s keynote speech on Monday morning.

Fiat showed the Concept Centoventi, a “vision of electric mobility” at last year’s Geneva International Motor Show. The Centoventi, or 120, makes its North American debut at CES 2020. The keyword is customizable. We’ll be curious to explore how batteries can be packaged to provide a promised flexibility of between 60 to 300 miles.

The 120 It will be produced in only one color, but then the customer uses software to personalize colors of the body, roof, and wheel covers. There is a smorgasbord of interchangeable interior accessories, storage compartments, and seat options. A small screen facing the windshield outward, and another one on the tailgate, can transmit messages to other cars and pedestrians.

Honda will use its CES 2020 exhibit to convey a future 2035 vision of electric, shared, and autonomous vehicles. Much of the vision, complete with shared mobility pods and personal flying vehicles, will be presented in virtual reality rather than real reality. The Japanese automaker is also expected to show off its Honda Mobile Power Pack, a portable, swappable, rechargeable 1-kWh battery that can be used to supply energy for small mobility devices and homes.