Originally founded way back in 1907, the Los Angeles Auto Show (LAAS) is arguably one of the most influential and best-attended auto shows on the planet.
With over 1 million square feet on offer, it’s where the who’s who of the automotive and mobility industry gather to showcase all that is new and exciting. Here’s our top five stars of this year’s show.
Although it actually debuted last year, it seems remiss of us not to talk about the locally created (by INDIEV) Indi One. It’s back at the LAAS and bigger than ever (in terms of display that is). The Indi One is a five-passenger family crossover EV that comes with ‘VIC’, a supercomputer.
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The SUV rides on an adjustable air-ride suspension with all-wheel drive and is available in a range of battery options. The base model has a 75kWh battery capable of a 370km range; while the premium models are powered by a 95kWh battery capable of a 482km range and producing 350kW and 730Nm of torque for a top speed of 130 miles per hour. It also claims a 0-60mph (0-97kph) time of just 4.2 seconds.
Its interior offers a beautiful minimalist cabin, with extensive use of sustainable, recycled materials, complemented by a panoramic sunroof window, boasting a flat floor for the cabin provides plenty of legroom for passengers, as well as lots of cargo space behind the second row.
Now about that supercomputer. VIC (Vehicle Integrated Computer), is the first ever in-vehicle integrated supercomputer that (among other things) offers services such as Life Assistant, a personalized virtual assistant equipped to learn your habits and enhance your life.
On top of that, VIC is capable of playing the latest-generation games and its advanced software allows riders to capture content while on trips, with the many interior and exterior cameras, live stream videos.
So you can shoot, edit and upload content to the cloud – all from inside the vehicle. Who said driving an EV was boring?
Another California produced automotive statement is the hydrogen-powered Hyperion XP-1. Aimed at eliminating range anxiety compared to other electrics, the XP-1 features a mighty impressive 1600km-plus range and, with its hydrogen fuel cell providing electric energy four powerful motors, the XP-1 is capable of reaching 0-100kph in roughly 2.2 seconds.
This may be a road-going supercar, but Hyperion’s XP-1 claims the use of some of the most advanced technology in the world, including technology obtained from NASA!
Since this hydrogen-based zero emissions system eliminates the need for heavy batteries, its acceleration, braking, handling and powertrain efficiency are vastly improved when compared to traditional electric and hybrid vehicles. What’s more, the XP-1’s hydrogen storage system is not affected by extreme temperatures either, enabling the vehicle to consistently and reliably provide peak performance over extended driving sessions, both on the street and at the track.
Its looks are futuristic to say the least but it’s functional too as this supercar utilizes active aerodynamics structures which envelope each side of the vehicle to improve cornering at high speeds. Additionally, these elements double as solar panels, which can articulate to follow the trajectory of the sun.
To infinity and beyond.
Porsche 911 Dakar
A lot more down to earth is the 2022 Porsche 911 Dakar. Inspired by both the 1984 Paris-Dakar Rally winning Porsche 953 and embracing the fashionable off-roading ‘Safari 911s’, this limited edition Porsche 911 can raise itself 50mm higher than that of a 911 Carrera, and sports a unique and rugged look that’s ready to handle the rough stuff (at speeds of up to 170 km/h!).
Adding to its off-road appearance, the new 9111 Dakar comes with specially developed Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain Plus tires with chunky ‘cut-resistant’ rubber, 9mm deep tread patterns and reinforced sidewalls, ideal for taking on challenging terrain while offering sports car dynamics on the road as well.
Beside its impressive ride stance, this Porsche’s lift system can raise the front and rear ends an additional 30mm too, making its ground clearance and ramp angle rival those of conventional SUVs. This lift system is not perfect to slowly cross obstacles, but is an integral part of the retuned chassis and there’s also additional chassis protection for when and where you need it most.
Limited to 2,500 units, this Dakar edition evokes the first overall victory by Porsche in the 1984 Paris-Dakar Rally, which was simultaneously the birth of all-wheel drive in the Porsche 911 and that it’s also offered with an optional ‘Rothman’s-style’ Rallye Design Package, reminiscent of that iconic winning car
Another ‘out there’ looker is the Toyota LQ. According to Toyota, LQ is a concept vehicle that leverages advanced technology to build an emotional bond between car and driver under a core development theme of “learn, grow, love.” It all sounds very fancy but it would seem that there is plenty of tech to support their intentions.
LQ is equipped with automated-driving capabilities and “Yui,” a powerful artificial intelligence-powered interactive agent designed to learn from the driver and deliver a personalized mobility experience.
The LQ’s cabin is minimalistic and sleek with key elements like air conditioner vents hidden behind invisible registers. The 3D-printed center console is reinforced using the design technique of topology optimization, providing optimal strength and support and a forward-projecting silhouette that puts Yui at the center of the instrument panel.
As expected, the exterior design is as progressive as they come with the doors featuring glass that seamlessly connects with the interior of the vehicle, creating an integrated, elegant design.
Apparently the name LQ expresses Toyota’s hope that this approach will cue the development of future vehicles that enhance the relationship between car and driver – so if things don’t work out with your partner…
Hyundai N Vision 74
Last but not least, making its debut at the show is the Hyundai N Vision 74. This futuristic concept not only reveals the Hyundai N sub-brand electrification vision, but also the ‘Rolling Lab’ concept on which it is based is a testbed of future technologies from both motorsport and production car development.
The N Vision 74 pays homage to the Hyundai Pony Coupe concept from 1974 (developed by legendary car designer Giorgetto Giugiaro), with a dynamic-proportioned profile, and check out its unique B-pillar – while its parametric pixel lighting provides a futuristic finish.
It boasts a one-of-a-kind hydrogen hybrid architecture that’s been tailored for high performance, with a hybrid structure of a BEV combined with an FCEV system, while its Independent, rear-mounted motors, (one per wheel), generates a total power output of 500kW.
The N Vision 74 features dual-charging capability. Its rear-mounted hydrogen fuel tanks can be refueled within five minutes and the 85kW fuel cell converts hydrogen to electricity to charge the 62kWh battery. The battery also shares the 800V battery technology from Hyundai’s e-GMP platform with fast-charge capability.
Hyundai says that having fuel and charging ports for both hydrogen and electricity allow flexibility for various scenarios, including spirited driving on the highway or performance driving on racetracks – Quite frankly, we’d be happy with the opportunity to test it on either.