CES is the world’s largest technology trade show – a stage for the biggest names in TVs, computing and smartphones to debut their upcoming consumer products. But in recent years, the Las Vegas-based event has also been home to major automotive announcements from the likes of Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Volkswagen.
It’s no wonder, though, that cars have become such a regular fixture of CES given the sheer amount of technology piled into new and existing models, many of which are fully electric nowadays, and even household names in other industries are beginning to dip their toes into automotive development (looking at you, Sony).
CES 2023 played host to more big-name automakers than ever, and below, we’ve put together a manufacturer-by-manufacturer roundup of all the announcements made at this year’s Sin City technology expo.
Volkswagen kicked off its CES 2023 celebrations early by unveiling a brand new model in its ID family of electric vehicles, the ID.7 electric sedan, ahead of the event.
Based on Volkswagen’s already-revealed Aero3 concept sedan, the ID.7 is expected to achieve an all-electric range of 700 km, boast an augmented reality (AR) heads-up display and be ready to hit roads by 2026. The most exciting feature of the upcoming car, though, is its paint job (or rather, its digital camouflage), which lights up at the driver's command and changes in time with the car’s sound system.
Sure, that all sounds (and looks) a little wacky, but VW says the wrap is meant as “an interactive feature [that] symbolizes the next step in the digitalization of the future flagship model of Volkswagen’s EV family." Right.
At this year’s CES trade show, BMW CEO Oliver Zipse presented BMW's vision of the "ultimate digital driving machine": the BMW i Vision DEE concept car. Fitted with an upgraded version of the amazing E Ink color-changing technology BMW debuted at CES 2022, the DEE features 240 fully customizable E Ink panels, all of which are capable of displaying 32 different colors. In other words, you might not have to stick with a single paint job in the near future (if you own a BMW, at least).
Like the other big-name German automakers, Audi appeared at CES 2023 – though the brand with the four rings turned its attention to virtual reality (VR) technology.
Back in 2019, Audi announced plans to use holoride technology to transform its vehicles into an experience platform for VR. According to the company, its e-tron and e-tron Sportback models are now “holoride-ready”, and CES visitors were able to sample a new VR game through “experience rides” on the trade show floor.
Stellantis, which owns Chrysler, Peugeot, Vauxhall and Fiat, announced a Star Trek-style interior concept ahead of its appearance at this year’s CES event.
The brand’s two-seat Synthesis concept is intended to show off several upcoming Stellantis technologies – including STLA Cockpit, STLA Brain and STLA AutoDrive – with Chrysler set to become the first beneficiary of these future-facing interior features.
History suggests that outlandish concepts such as Synthesis are worth taking with a hefty pinch of salt – we’re not likely to see a real-life manifestation of this setup any time soon – but Stellantis’ bold ambition bodes well for the myriad vehicles currently in production at Peugeot, Vauxhall and Fiat.
Volvo showcased its seven-seater EX90 electric SUV at CES 2023, which the Swedish manufacturer describes as its “smartest vehicle yet.”
The car will also usher Volvo into “a new era for safety” thanks to its long-range lidar, five radars, eight cameras and 16 ultrasonic sensors designed to react when the driver isn’t paying attention to the road. According to Volvo, the EX90’s lidar sensor will arrive as standard on all EX90s and can detect small objects “approximately two football fields ahead in day or night, and even at highway speed.” Neat.
Honda / Sony
Honda and Sony joined forces in 2022 to form a new automotive company, Sony-Honda Mobility, and the burgeoning manufacturer unveiled its first electric vehicle concept, Afeela, at CES 2023.
A not-too-distant cousin of Sony’s Vision-S sedan prototype, which originally appeared at CES 2021 and returned at last year’s show in a slightly updated form, the partially self-driving car features more than 45 sensors arrayed around its exterior and interior, and is built on Qualcomm's Digital Chassis platform, a set of technology solutions for developing smart vehicles.
Sony partner Unreal is also using game graphics to build realistic environment simulations that, one would assume, Afeela could eventually use to help it navigate the real world – though this prototype concept is clearly still some years away from being production-ready.
Check out our CES 2023 hub for all the latest news from the show as it happens. We'll be covering everything from 8K TVs and foldable displays to new phones, laptops and smart home gadgets, so stick with us for the big stories.
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Axel is a London-based Senior Staff Writer at TechRadar, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest movies as part of the site's daily news output. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion.
Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.