It’s not your imagination: Cars really are becoming more capable. A walk through the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show reveals new models in the pipeline that can drive themselves around town, on the racetrack and even farther afield, using electricity to get there.
Automakers lifted the veil on several next-generation mobility concepts at the annual show, which opens to the public on Friday. Here are five of the most exciting concepts that may come to a road near you within the next few years.
Audi Sport e-tron GT concept
Audi revealed its forthcoming electric sports car, the e-Tron GT, in concept form. Similar in appearance to Audi’s A7 coupe-like sedan, the 590-horsepower e-Tron GT will be able to travel up to 248 miles on a fully charged battery and is expected to arrive in dealer showrooms for the 2021 model year. The sporty four-door will follow the all-electric e-Tron crossover the German automaker revealed earlier this year. Tasked as a Tesla competitor, the e-Tron GT shares its platform with Porsche’s new EV, the Taycan, and helps Audi reach its goal of offering a dozen fully electric models worldwide by 2025.
BMW Vision iNext
The BMW Vision iNext concept will guide the automaker’s next generation of all-electric self-driving vehicles. “Shy technology” allows passengers to operate the infotainment system by tracing symbols with their fingers into the cabin’s wood and cloth surfaces. Inspired by high-end living rooms and luxury hotels, the interior features a wooden coffee table instead of a center console and a couch as second-row seating. “Intelligent projection” turns any surface into an interactive display to project movies, books, and photos, while a virtual keyboard lets passengers type and write emails by detecting the user’s finger position. In 2021, BMW will launch a production version of iNext, a mid-size battery-powered crossover with semi-autonomous driving capabilities.
Chinese electric vehicle-maker Byton makes its LA Auto Show debut with a concept for its K-Byte sedan, which demonstrates the company’s view on integrating sensors for Level 4 autonomous driving. A production version will go on sale globally in 2021. The company, founded by former executives from BMW and Infiniti, is focused on bringing battery-powered, self-driving vehicles to the marketplace. Byton will also bring its M-Byte SUV concept, originally shown at CES in January to reveal a four-foot-long display screen and hand gesture controls to operate the dashboard. A production version of M-Byte will go on sale in China by the end of next year and in the US and Europe in mid-2020, which details to be announced at CES 2019.
Volvo 360c concept
Rather than use its display space at the auto show to highlight a car or two, the Swedish automaker featured its 360c concept, a driverless car designed with the comforts of a first-class airplane cabin. Conceived as a space to work, sleep or unwind during long road trips, the 360c offers full connectivity, mood settings, and a sleeper configuration. The concept is fully electric and designed for Point A to B service on demand.
Volkswagen I.D. Buzz Cargo
Volkswagen adds another configuration to its growing I.D. family of all-electric, semi-autonomous vehicles. Based upon the original Volkswagen Transporter, the I.D. Buzz Cargo concept shown at the Los Angeles Auto Show is a work van with an electric range of 340 miles. The concept features a solar roof that can add 9 miles of daily range and a 230 volt plug for workers to charge their tools. VW says the van could go into production in Europe as soon as 2022. The first model from VW’s I.D. line, the I.D. compact car, is due in 2020 with an expected range of more than 370 miles.