The 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show is in the rearview mirror, leaving us with one final task: to share a recap of the weird and wonderful, the awkward and bold, vehicle reveals and new announcements that made this year’s show what it is.
The auto show didn’t quite capture the energy of those heady days before the COVID pandemic, although it was far busier than last year.
Electric vehicles and the greenwashing that often goes with them took center stage, and hydrogen fuel cell technology made a few guest appearances at the 2022 LA Auto Show. There have even been several startups that have emerged to reveal electric restomods, 3D printing technology and tricycle design.
Let’s dive into the good, bad, ugly, and surprise moments from the 2022 LA Auto Show.
Toyota Prius gets a makeover
Word on the street is that there was an internal debate at Toyota headquarters about the future of the Prius: leave it untouched and allow it to maintain its status as a used car, or invest in the vehicle and give it a makeover?
The company took the latter approach, and the end result surprised many people who attended the unveiling at the 2022 LA Auto Show.
The result? The Toyota Prius is attractive, even sleek. The all-new Toyota Prius has a sportier powertrain and a curvaceous, lower silhouette to increase its appeal to sports car buyers who might not have considered a Prius in the past. The hybrid doesn’t get much greener, though: Toyota said the new model could deliver 57mpg, similar to the outgoing Prius.
A lower, longer, and wider Prius Prime, the nameplate’s plug-in hybrid version, also debuted at the auto show. This PHEV’s electric range increased from 25 miles to 37 miles, an increase of 50%.
Toyota also unveiled a new concept under its “Beyond Zero” badge.
Porsche 911 gets a rally mode
Porsche wanted to pay homage to the Porsche 953, a heavily modified 911 Carrera that took home the prize at the 1984 Paris-Dakar Rally. So it took a Carrera 4 GTS coupe and turned it into a four-wheel drive sporty monster that can handle sand dunes, gravel and rocky passes. The Porsche 911 Dakar comes with one Sports suspension – as the only 911 – a tuned suspension package, rear-axle steering and a twin-turbocharged flat-six engine that produces 473 horsepower, which is sent to all four wheels by the 8-speed Porsche dual-clutch gearbox (PDK).
There are two new modes, Rally mode for gravel, muddy trails and wet grass, and Off-road mode for sand dunes and rocky conditions. The automaker removed the rear seats, added lightweight components such as a carbon fiber hood and lighter glass, a red toe hook and special dual carcass tires specially developed with Pirelli to prevent punctures.
Porsche said it will make 2,500 examples of the 911 Dakar, which starts at $220,000.
Vinfast’s US strategy: SUVs
Vinfast is keen to enter the US market. And its answer is an SUV of any size.
The company unveiled four electric vehicles ranging in size from small five-passenger crossovers to large seven-passenger SUVs. VinFast expects to launch two SUVs, the VF6 and the VF7, by early 2023.
Vinfast unveiled some vehicles at the 2021 LA Auto Show. But these had a decidedly prototypical feel. This year the vehicles seemed to be more complete. The company even showed off the interior and offered rides.
Vinfast still has a long way to go, but it’s getting much closer. And his next vehicle could even be a sports car.
Hydrogen fuel cells appear
Hyperion showed its vision for hydrogen refueling, a space station-inspired and mobile station capable of storing 200 kilograms of fuel. The mobile station, estimated to cost $900,000, can be moved to different locations as needed. The station is also equipped with solar panels to power the station’s accessories, such as B. the lighting to supply electricity.
For this to be the green hydrogen Hyperion advocates for, a system would need to stand alongside renewable energies such as wind or solar power. The fuel could be produced locally and then transported to the filling stations.
The so-called mobile hydrogen filling station “XF-1 Hyper:Fuel” can also relieve overloaded supply networks by providing mobile emergency power supply with its advanced hydrogen-electric storage systems.
Hyundai’s concept is not inspired by DeLorean
A hydrogen fuel cell hybrid concept vehicle called the Hyundai N Vision 74 received a series of “Hey, that looks like a DeLorean!” But Sang Yup Lee, the Hyundai Global Design Center and senior vice president of the automaker, quickly made the correction.
The N Vision 74 pays homage to the 1974 Hyundai Pony Coupe concept created by legendary car designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, who also designed the DeLorean. (The DeLorean debuted in 1981 after the Pony Coupe.)
“Don’t say they look the same because we did it first,” Lee said.
Hyundai calls the N Vision 74 a “rolling laboratory” – a kind of test bed for future products, including the possible role of electrification.
A muscle car, hold the vroom
Startup Charge Cars showed off its 67, a carbon-fiber clad EV inspired by a 1967 Mustang — just don’t expect it to growl like a V8.
“This car, when it’s on the road, you get honest EV noise for free,” said Chief Creative Officer Mark Roberts, who was succeeded by McLaren in 2020. “I hate the whole thing with people having fake spaceships or symphony orchestras and things like that,” the manager said.
During a presentation at the 2022 LA Auto Show, he added, “You think for maybe 10 seconds, ‘Hey, that’s fine.’ Then you turn it off.”
Ford obviously sees it differently! The Detroit automaker built optional false engine sound in its Mustang Mach-E, and many other companies have turned to more outlandish sound effects, even melodiesto accompany quieter electric vehicles.
Fiat’s strategy for the all-electric 500e is experimental
The all-electric Fiat 500e was launched in Europe in 2020 and has since been selling like hot cakes in the region. The tiny vehicle – fresh with a purpose-built EV platform – has proven to be a huge hit for Stellantis. Whether it will be accepted by US buyers is unclear.
Fiat CEO Olivier Francois struck an experimental tone in an interview after his onstage presentation about the upcoming Fiat 500e, which will come to North America in early 2024.
Stellantis plans to explore “alternative business models” like subscriptions and carsharing when it launches the Fiat 500e in the US. Francois didn’t rule out limiting the US launch of the 500e entirely to subscriptions coming in early 2024, saying, “Maybe you’ll never have a price. Maybe it will just be usership. Maybe there will be a combination of both.”
The CEO added cryptically: “There will be a healthy dose of digital, that’s for sure. We all have to reinvent the business model together.”
Here are a few more details on the Fiat 500e planned for the US.
Recycled gold dust, seats made from ocean junk
While cheering the return of the 500e to the US, Fiat unveiled three one-off vehicles made in partnership with Bvlgari, Kartell and Armani. For the exterior of the 500 Bvlgari in particular, the brand “literally turned recycled gold from their jewelry making into metallic paint,” said Fiat CEO Olivier Francois. He added, “Nothing is too precious to be reused.” The vehicle also featured seats made from recycled ocean plastic.
Fiat’s one-offs are up for auction, and when the all-electric 500e comes to the US in early 2024, its exterior won’t be speckled in real gold. But according to Francois, the North American 500e’s seats are “really made from recycled plastic from the oceans.” The executive declined to share details, including the percentage of seats that will be made from virgin plastic.
A few more reports:
► Everything we know about the 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6
► Genesis teases its EV future with the Genesis X Cabrio
► Hyundai launches home charger ecosystem