Everything that stood out to us at the 2022 LA Auto Show

The 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show is in the rearview mirror, leaving us with one last task: to share a roundup of the weird and the wonderful, the goofy and dazzling vehicle unveilings and new announcements that made the show this year.

The auto show didn’t quite capture the energy of those heady pre-COVID pandemic days, although it was much livelier than last year.

Electric vehicles, and the greenwashing that often accompanies them, took center stage, and hydrogen fuel cell technology made a few cameos at the 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show. There were even several startups who showed up to reveal electric restomods, 3D printing technology, and three-wheel design.

Let’s dive into the good, bad, ugly and surprising moments of the 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show.

The Toyota Prius gets a makeover

Picture credits: Kirsten Korosec

Rumor has it on the street that there has been an internal debate at Toyota headquarters about the future of the Prius: leave it unchanged and allow it to retain its basic car status or invest in the vehicle and give it a cure of youth ?

The company took the latter approach, and the end result surprised many who were on hand for the reveal at the 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show.

The result ? The Toyota Prius is attractive, even racy. The all-new Toyota Prius has a sportier powertrain and a curvier, lower silhouette to broaden its appeal for sports car customers who might not have considered a Prius in the past. However, the hybrid won’t get much greener: Toyota said the new model can deliver 57 mpg, similar to the outgoing Prius.

A lower, longer and wider Prius Prime, the plug-in hybrid version of the nameplate, also debuted at the auto show. The electric range of this PHEV has increased from 25 miles to 37 miles, an increase of 50%.

Toyota also unveiled a new concept under its “beyond zero” badge.

The Porsche 911 gets a rally mode

porsche 911 dakar 2022 LA Auto Show

Picture credits: Kirsten Korosec

Porsche wanted to pay homage to the Porsche 953, a heavily modified 911 Carrera, which won the 1984 Paris-Dakar Rally prize. So it took a Carrera 4 GTS coupe and turned it into a sporty four-wheeled monster capable of tackling sand dunes, gravel and rocky passes. The Porsche 911 Dakar comes with a sports suspension – the only 911 to have one – tuned chassis package, rear axle steering and a twin-turbo flat-six engine that produces 473 horsepower, which is transferred to all four wheels by the 8-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK).

There are two new modes, rally mode for gravel roads, muddy trails and wet grass, and off-road mode for sand dunes and rocky conditions. The automaker removed the rear seats, added lightweight components like a carbon fiber hood and lighter glass, a red toe hook and special double-ply tires specially designed with Pirelli to prevent punctures.

Porsche said it makes 2,500 examples of the 911 Dakar, which starts at $220,000.

Vinfast’s American strategy: SUVs

Los Angeles Auto Show Vinfast VF6 2022

Picture credits: Kirsten Korosec

Vinfast really wants to exploit the American market. And his answer is an SUV in all sizes.

The company unveiled four electric vehicles, ranging from small five-passenger crossovers to large seven-passenger SUVs. VinFast plans to release two SUVs, the VF6 and VF7, by early 2023.

Vinfast unveiled a few vehicles at the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show. But these had a decidedly prototype feel. This year, the vehicles seemed more complete. The company even showed the interior and took rides.

Vinfast still has a long way to go, but it’s getting much closer. And his next vehicle could even be a sports car.

Hydrogen fuel cells appear

Hyperion Auto Show 2022 LA

Picture credits: Kirsten Korosec

Hyperion presented its vision for hydrogen refueling, a mobile and space station-inspired station capable of storing 200 kilograms of fuel. The mobile station, which is estimated to cost $900,000, can be transported to different locations as needed. The station is also equipped with solar panels to power station accessories such as lighting.

For it to be green hydrogen, which Hyperion recommends, a system would have to be located next to renewable energies such as wind or solar. The fuel could be manufactured on site and then transported to the stations.

The so-called “XF-1 Hyper: Fuel” mobile hydrogen station can also relieve strained distribution networks by providing emergency mobile backup power through its advanced hydrogen and electricity storage systems.

Hyundai’s concept isn’t inspired by DeLorean

hyundai N brand concept 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show

Picture credits: Kirsten Korosec

A concept hydrogen fuel cell hybrid vehicle called the Hyundai N Vision 74 has received a number of “hey, looks like a DeLorean!” But Sang Yup Lee, the Hyundai Global Design Center and executive vice president of the automaker, was quick to make the correction.

The N Vision 74 pays homage to the 1974 Hyundai Pony Coupe concept, which was developed by legendary automotive designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, who also designed the DeLorean. (The DeLorean debuted in 1981 after the Pony Coupe.)

“Don’t say they look alike, because we did that first,” Lee said.

Hyundai calls the N Vision 74 a “rolling laboratory”, a sort of testbed for future products, including how electrification may play a role.

A muscle car, hold the vroom

Charge Cars 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show

Picture credits: Harri Weber

Startup Charge Cars showed off its 67, a carbon-fiber-clad EV inspired by a 1967 Mustang — don’t expect it to rumble like a V8.

“This car, when it’s on the road, you get honest EV noise for free,” said creative director Mark Roberts, who was hired from McLaren in 2020. “I hate that people have fake spaceships, or symphony orchestras, and things like that,” the exec said.

He added during a presentation at the 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show: “You might think for 10 seconds, ‘Hey, that’s okay.’ Then you turn it off.

Ford apparently sees things differently! The Detroit automaker built false engine noise optional in its Mustang Mach-E, and many other companies have turned to more original sound effects, even melodiesto support quieter electric vehicles.

Fiat’s strategy for the all-electric 500e is experimental

2022 all-electric Fiat 500e LA Auto Show

Picture credits: Kirsten Korosec

The all-electric Fiat 500e was launched in Europe in 2020 and has since sold like hot cakes in the region. The small vehicle – fresh with a purpose-built EV platform – proved to be a huge hit for Stellantis. It is not known if it will be adopted by American buyers.

Fiat CEO Olivier François adopted an experimental tone in an interview after his stage presentation of the upcoming Fiat 500e which will arrive in North America in early 2024.

Stellantis plans to “explore alternative business models”, such as subscriptions and car sharing, when it launches the Fiat 500e in the United States. François didn’t rule out limiting the US launch of the 500e entirely to subscriptions in early 2024, saying, “Maybe you’ll never get a prize. Maybe it will just be the use. Perhaps there will be a combination of the two.

The executive added cryptically: “There will be a good dose of digital, that’s for sure. We must all collectively reinvent the economic model.

Here are some more details about the Fiat 500e slated for the US.

Recycled gold dust, marine waste seats

All-electric Fiat 500e gold seats 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show

Picture credits: Harri Weber

While touting the return of the 500th to the United States, Fiat showed off three unique vehicles made in collaboration with Bvlgari, Kartell and Armani. For the exterior of the 500 Bvlgari in particular, the brand “literally transformed recycled gold from its jewelry making into metallic paint,” said Fiat CEO Olivier Francois. He added that “nothing is too valuable not to be reused”. The vehicle also featured seats made with recycled ocean plastic.

Fiat’s one-offs are destined for auction, and when the all-electric 500e arrives in the US in early 2024, its exterior won’t be swathed in gold. But according to François, the seats of the 500th North American will be “really made with plastic recovered from the oceans”. The executive declined to share details, including the percentage of seats that will be made with virgin plastic.

A few more cover items:

Everything we know about the 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6

Genesis teases its EV future with the Genesis X convertible

Hyundai launches home charging ecosystem

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