Top 5 Concepts at CES 2016

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has evolved into more than just a platform for new innovations in the field of technology. Over the past few years, car makers from around the world flock to Las Vegas to showcase their latest advancements in their upcoming cars. CES has given rise to numerous interesting technologies such as Audi’s Piloted Driving, Volvo’s Vehicle to Vehicle Communication System and of course the debut of hyped Tesla rival, Faraday Future. We take a look at the most interesting concepts that debuted at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.

1. BMW i8 Convertible

BMW’s got its hands in every segment of the auto industry from six seater family MPVs to high performance saloons. The German car maker has various divisions within which some of its most impressive works are born. BMW’s i section is one such division. The i division is to hybrids what the M division is to performance:  a section of the company solely focused on  hybrid vehicles and drivetrains.  With continually restricting emission norms and the loss of power associated with smaller powerhouses, the i division’s opening act was the phenomenal i8, an example of how small engined hybrids can pack a punch strong enough to knock down even the most blue blooded sports cars. For those who felt the i8’s cyberpunk styling and swan doors were not enough, BMW has now revealed an advanced convertible concept of the i8 at CES 2016.

 

bmw i vision future interaction concept
The BMW iVision Future Interaction Concept is a convertible variant of the critically acclaimed i8 hubrd sports car.

Dubbed the i Vision Future Interaction Concept, BMW’s latest concept previews numerous updates that may make it to the next iteration if the i8 hybrid. The dashboard features a large 21 inch display towards the passenger side that acts as the main control unit for various elements of the car. Similar to the Porsche Mission E concept showcased sometime ago, the German sports car features gesture control that allows the driver to interact with the UI. Similar to Tesla’s infotainment system, the German car maker’s AirTouch system eliminates the need for physical input mechanisms such as buttons or knobs. As such, the cabin is far more minimal and is in stark contrast to its exterior design.

2. Chevrolet Bolt

The Chevy Bolt was a welcome surprise at this year’s CES. With GM launching the first ever accessible long range EV, the American automakers has beaten crowd favorite Tesla to the future of mobility. Although the Bolt may not feature radical styling or massive amounts of tech to soothe its passengers, the $37,500 price tag prior to government incentives makes it the very first budget long range electric vehicle to hit the market. The American hatchback currently has no direct rivals. However, Chevrolet will soon have to contend with Tesla’s Model 3.

The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle provides 200 miles of range and is priced well below any other close rival.
The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle provides 200 miles of range and is priced well below any other close rival.

3. Volkswagen BUDD-e Concept

VW’s presence at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show was heavy on agenda. Following the largely publicized scandal regarding the car maker’s diesel engines, Volkswagen has entered into damage control mode. To regain the faith of the general public, the German auto giant has opted to showcase a dizzying array of concepts and new models that are either eletric vehicles or hybrids to showcase the company’s keen intentions of conserving energy and the environment.

The Volkswagen BUDD-e concept is an all electric concept van. The micro-bus seeks to re-imagine car pooling.
The Volkswagen BUDD-e concept is an all electric concept van. The micro-bus seeks to re-imagine car pooling.

4. Faraday Future FFZERO1

Faraday Future’s FFZERO1 concept stunned eager EV enthusiasts all over the world. Instead of a compact, affordable electric sedan, the public was treated to a cyberpunk themed dedicated racer. While most fans were disappointed in Faraday Future’s choice of concept/model to showcase, the FFZERO1 was one of the few concepts in the past few years to evoke a sense of awe and wonder when revealed.

The FFZERO1 is a dramatic concept designed to express the company's image of itself. The car features a four wheel drive system and is propelled by over 1000 hp
The FFZERO1 is a dramatic concept designed to express the company’s image of itself. The car features a four wheel drive system and is propelled by over 1000 hp

5. Rinspeed Etos

Few can argue that the BMW i8 lacks power and cutting edge technology. However, a boutique Swiss designer feels otherwise. The Rinspeed Etos is a self driving BMW i8 that also features its own drone. The Rinspeed Etos’ interior marks a significant departure from the contemporary approach of the current generation i8. With two 21.5 inch curved display monitors and a foldable steering wheel, the dashboard of the Rinspeed Etos embraces autonomous driving technology like no other manufacturer before it.

The Rinspeed Etos also makes numerous cosmetic upgrades to the i8.
The Rinspeed Etos also makes numerous cosmetic upgrades to the i8.

Faraday Future: Does Tesla has future?

The EV industry has been ramping up extensively over the past five years. With mainstream manufacturers such as BMW, Mercedes Benz, VW and GM now focusing heavily on hybrid and electric vehicles, it won’t be long until we begin seeing a large influx of fully electric vehicles that offers levels of convenience similar to that of the tried and tested fossil fuel powered locomotive. Out of all the manufacturers big and small, one name stands out as the leading horse in this race: Tesla Motors

The American automaker has been making major headway in this field with cars such as the Roadster, Model S and the recently launched Model X. With Tesla selling cars in the luxury sedan and crossover markets since 2012, it seemed that the EV industry soon became a one horse race.

However, at CES 2016, mysterious indie electric car maker going by the moniker Faraday Future showcased its first ever vehicle for the public. We take a look at what Faraday Future and its concept, the FFZERO1 hopes to achieve and if its enough to topple EV giant Tesla.

The FFZERO1 is a dramatic concept designed to express the company's image of itself
The FFZERO1 is a dramatic concept designed to express the company’s image of itself

Although the general public and media remained largely clueless about the manufacturer’s plans, a considerable amount of hype was built around the newcomer’s debut earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Expo and was even touted to be a Tesla killer. For the brand’s first big preview, the car maker showcased a futuristic concept that supposedly represents the company.

Dubbed the FFZERO1, the concept has been designed as an exercise in publicity with the actual production model being closer to an affordable mid size sedan than an out and out sports car. While the FFZERO1’s exterior shell is more 2500 AD than 2016, the car does feature numerous components that will make it to the more conventional production ready car.

The car features styling elements that will make it to the car maker's first production model
The car features styling elements that will make it to the car maker’s first production model

The buzzword of the future of automobiles is modular and the FFZERO1 features a modular framework that allows the same underpinnings to be used in a vast array of differing scenarios. Faraday Future claims that its framework can be scaled based on the need to produce front wheel drive sedans to four wheel drive SUVs. Key characteristics of the start up’s Variable Platform Architecture is a layer of batteries found below the floor of the car. Faraday Future claims that the use of multiple batteries eases the burden of swapping or changing batteries.

The FFZERO1's underpinnings is modular and can be implemented on a wide array of body types and drivetrains
The FFZERO1’s underpinnings is modular and can be implemented on a wide array of body types and drivetrains

Visually, the FFZERO1 is absolutely stunning. The concept is a single seater that features completely radical implementations of regular car features such as entry & exit, infotainment system, instrument clusters. The exterior sports a ton of aero bits aiding in the wow factor. Its front end features a horizontal line that wraps around the car that is claimed to be the signature characteristic of all future models. The massive diffusers and spoiler adorning the rear of the FF concept is mildly reminiscent of the ultra rare Veneno from Lamborghini. Drivers enter the cockpit via the fighter jet inspired glass canopy.

Inside, the driver’s safety is managed by the car’s Halo Safety System that is even capable of delivering water and oxygen through his helmet. The carbon fibre steering wheel features a mount for a smartphone that displays instance specific information such as navigation. Similar to recent concepts, the FFZERO1 comes with autonomous driving technology as well.

The actual production model is kept under heavy wraps and will likely stay that way until near production stages
The actual production model is kept under heavy wraps and will likely stay that way until near production stages

The powertrain specifics have not been revealed save for the fact that the car is driven by four motors mounted on each wheel and produces over 1000 hp. Although Faraday Future’s all new car will be of a more conventional type, the FFZERO1 harks back to the times when manufacturers would bring out obscenely dramatic concepts to fuel the ambition and desires of petrol-heads from around the world. For the more grounded of the lot, Faraday Future has also given us a slight sneak peak into what could be their first production ready model.

The car is likely to compete directly with the Tesla Model X with cars such as the BMW X6, Mercedes Benz GLE-Class and Audi Q7 hot on its heels. Let’s wait and watch to whom the future belongs to…