LA Auto Show highlights: 2023 Prius, Fiat 500 electric, Genesis EV convertible and more
The 2022 LA Auto Show proves car makers are ready for an all-electric future
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: LA Auto Show 2022
⛽️ CA and NY recently passed legislation banning new gas car sales by 2035
⚡️ Car brands are finally showcasing EVs other than sedans and SUVs
🔋 The Prius is still hybrid, but can now run on battery alone for up to 40 miles
🚙 Chrysler’s Fiat 500e subcompact electric city car returns to the US in 2024
🔥 Genesis teased its “X” design language, this time for a convertible coupe
This week’s LA Auto Show features a must-see fleet of electric vehicles that perfectly tie into the recent news out of California and New York. By 2035, both states will require car manufacturers to sell only zero emissions vehicles – at least when it comes to new models.
What’s different at the 2022 LA Auto Show is that the electric cars inside the Los Angeles Convention Center aren’t just the predictable four-door sedans and SUVs. Sure, those are practical, but some of us prefer our rides to be a little more adventurous. More than five years on from the initial second-gen Tesla Roadster reveal, drop tops are back, the Prius has swag, and Fiat is bringing its iconic city car back to the US with an electrifying twist. Ahead of the show, I shared my wishlist with a colleague who’s currently on the showfloor sending me live updates on what is hot (the Hyundai Ioniq 6) and what is most certainly not (Lexus grilles).
The automotive industry is undergoing a seismic shift like nothing we’ve seen in decades. With the LA Auto Show 2022 running from November 18 to November 27, we’ll be updating this article with our key takeaways from now until it ends.
The Toyota Prius pioneered the electric vehicle as the world’s first mass-produced hybrid over 20 years ago. This latest version would be unrecognizable to 2001 Larry David, who famously drove a first-edition Prius in the early days of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Early reception to the 2023 redesign concedes that, yes, the Prius is sexy now, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it.
It’s still a hybrid – with both plug-in and HEV full hybrid models available – but this time it can travel up to 40 miles on battery alone, giving it 60% more pure electric range than its predecessor. Although historically few people have purchased a Prius for its performance, Toyota has decided to shake things up a bit and subvert our expectations. The meaner, sportier and dare I say it, Tesla-inspired plug-in Prius Prime packs a whole 220 horsepower. Sadly, the standard plug-less model, which I just found out still exists, “only” has 194 hp.
When Chrysler pulled the plug on the Fiat 500 in the US market back in 2019, I was heartbroken. Not that I ever planned to buy one, but I love seeing those little things zip around New York City and parallel park like it’s no one’s business. Now, with an overhauled, all-electric design, the subcompact city hatchback returns once again as the Fiat 500e.
Squeezing 150 miles of range from a 42 kWh battery, the Fiat 500e is no slouch. That’s around the same distance the base model Nissan Leaf can travel on a single charge in a significantly smaller form factor. The front-wheel drive car features an electric motor capable of pushing up to 117 hp. While it’s still a ways out for US drivers looking to make the switch, Fiat says it’ll make its full debut at the 2023 LA Auto Show.
Genesis EV X convertible
Despite being nothing more than a concept, the renders we’ve seen of the Genesis “X” convertible coupe is my personal favorite reveal of the show.
With an electric powertrain, a retractable hardtop and a futuristic design both inside and out, the X convertible might not be a real product, but Genesis assures it’s a preview of what’s to come from Hyundai’s luxury auto brand. As cool as the wrap-around headlights look in action, I’m more excited for the moonroof. Being a convertible owner in New York means the top stays up half the year anyway – with that, I could have my cake and eat it too.
Hyundai Ioniq 6
Its first fully electric sedan introduces a sleek new design language for Hyundai. From the back, you could understandably mistake it for a Porsche; and though the front is less flattering, especially if you don’t mind the bug-eyed aesthetic of a Tesla.
The low-profile companion to the Ioniq 5 likely won’t come cheap given its 380-mile range, which exceeds that of the $76K Mercedes EQE and even the dual-motor Tesla Model S. Of course, it only has a fraction of the performance compared to its beefier rivals, ranging from 225 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque for the RWD models to 320 hp and 446 lb-ft of torque for AWD. Early reports suggest it will be priced somewhere in the ballpark of $40-50K.
VinFast VF 6 and VF 7
Vietnamese startup VinFast is making a name for itself in the EV market, where being a startup doesn’t preclude car companies from financial prosperity. The nascent auto maker’s brand identity is evident throughout. From the headlights on the nose of the car, to the corners and edges of the interior, to the similarly angular tail lights, the VF 6 and 7 may share an outline, but that’s where the similarities end.
While the 166.9-inch VF 6 is a single-motor crossover with 174 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, the VF 7 is a foot longer and has a dual-motor AWD option. That model can get you up to 349 hp and 368 lb-ft of torque. Each is also available in an “Eco” trim, which trades its vegan leather upholstery for cloth. As of now, it’s not clear what the maximum driving range will be for either model. Both are expected to start somewhere in the $30-40K range, with the VF 6 being the more affordable choice.