CES, the new global auto show? The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which opens Thursday (January 5) in Las Vegas, Nevada, is the world’s largest technology and electronics trade show. This gives more and more space to car manufacturers. If electronics still play an important role, the electrification of cars seems to be the challenge of tomorrow.
CES, the new car show
Established in 1967, CES brings together hundreds of exhibitors each year to promote innovation in technology. After two dark years marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2023 edition hopes to return to pre-crisis levels. About 100,000 participants expected by the organizers will be able to take advantage of various new technologies: artificial intelligence, connected devices, virtual reality…
For several years, the car has been a significant presence at CES. Las Vegas is benefiting from the decline of traditional auto shows: Detroit, Paris, Frankfurt and even Geneva. Thus, in October 2022, the Paris Motor Show experienced a bold recovery, rejected by several of the sector’s main brands, after a four-year hiatus. The latter prefer to showcase their models at events that highlight the latest innovations, as in Las Vegas.
For the 2023 edition of CES, an entire showroom will be devoted to the car. There are several headliners coming to present their new models in the sector: Stellantis (born in 2021 from the merger of PSA and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles), Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, etc. “You’ll almost feel like you’re at a car show”, Kevan Yalowitz, head of software and platforms at Accenture, described to AFP. BMW CEO Oliver Zipse and his Stellantis colleague Carlos Tavares will take the floor to present their company’s future developments.
Electronics are still popular
But Las Vegas is Las Vegas. If the event is increasingly attractive to automakers, it focuses on Tech above all else. The reason why electronics occupy a prominent place in the new models presented.
For several years, the goal of car manufacturers: the autonomous car. At CES, self-driving cars driven in space by means of electronic sensors caused such a sensation. Austrian equipment manufacturer Benteler’s Holon brand, for example, presents a car that can travel at speeds of up to 60 km/h without a steering wheel or pedals.
However, if electronica is definitely promoted in Las Vegas, it pays less and less attention to the concerns of manufacturers. This expensive technology is not profitable enough in the short term, and the global supply of electronic components takes time to adapt. Moreover, despite the occasional accidents of self-driving cars “completely exaggerated” According to Holon director Marco Kollmeier, it also comes to tarnish the results of this new technology.
Economics lecturer Bernard Jullien also points to a turning point in 2015 when the Volkswagen scandal was revealed and developed techniques for lying about its pollutant emissions: “While the autonomous car was presented as the future before the Volkswagen case, we understand that this enthusiasm has to be tempered.”, he explains. Today, the frenzy surrounding the driverless car has died down again.
Electricity is a new concern for manufacturers
“The car of the future cannot be made like before, we are in a period of technological renewal”, adds Bernard Jullien. And now the new horizon of automakers has a name: electric. Electrification of vehicles is developing at full speed due to the need to rethink transportation in the period of ecological crisis. Lagging behind Europe and China, the US pushed hard on the electric car with the election of Joe Biden and the subsequent passage of the De-Inflation Act.
At the electronics show in Las Vegas, electricity surprisingly seems to be another key area of the future. “There is an optical illusion in Las Vegas, Bernard Jullien explains. In reality, electricity has surpassed electronics and has become the priority of priorities. » This is the case, for example, with Stellantis, who mentioned his goal in a recent press release“Achieve carbon neutrality by 2038”. In Las Vegas, the group presents several electrified vehicles, such as the Jeep 4xe.
Stellantis also announced that it is strengthening its partnership with American company Archer to develop electric flying taxis. Another highlight of the spectacular Las Vegas exhibition: the first car prototype presented by Sony, a Japanese brand specializing in electronics and audiovisual, in collaboration with Honda. The car, which will go on sale at the end of 2025, will be ultra-close and… electric.