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VW CES tweet

Autonomous Electric Cars Drive CES 2016 Hype

VW CES tweetElectric vehicle technology and autonomous cars are expected to steal the show at CES 2016, the annual consumer electronics show that runs Jan. 6-9 in Las Vegas.

More than 115 automotive tech companies and nine automakers will debut products at CES. The car industry will dominate almost a quarter of the floor space, according to Fortune. Additionally, two of the eight keynote speakers are auto execs: General Motors CEO Mary Barra and Volkswagen CEO Dr. Herbert Diess.

Both auto companies will debut electric vehicles. GM’s Chevrolet will roll out its Bolt all-electric vehicle at CES. The Bolt is impressive for it’s nearly 200-mile range, which represents a major step forward in affordable EVs, CNET reports. And Diess will premiere an electric concept car — widely believed to be a microbus — during his talk.

Diess’ remarks will focus on electric mobility driving the automotive market and illustrate “the synergy between the internet of things and the automotive industry,” although his keynote may be clouded by VW’s emissions scandal. Yesterday, the US government sued VW for allegedly installing illegal defeat devices in about 600,000 diesel engine vehicles that allowed them to cheat emissions standards.

When asked about VW’s keynote in light of the emissions scandal, Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, Consumer Technology Association (CTA owns and operates CES), told Environmental Leader: “Our decision to invite VW’s Dr. Herbert Diess to keynote at CES is based in fundamental principles that guide our organization and CES. This summer, prior to any news breaking about the emissions testing, we learned of the company’s plans to launch an all-electric concept car, and it seemed a perfect opportunity for a CES keynote. Our criteria for selecting keynotes favors those global company leaders who can present a vision, are innovative, and can showcase how technology is changing their company and improving the world. We invited VW to keynote initially based on their focus on innovation and their commitment to use our stage to introduce an electric concept car.”

Here are some other companies that will be making headlines at CES:

Ford and Google are expected to announce an autonomous car partnership. While the two companies are keeping mum on the rumors, Google has been testing a self-driving car that is without a steering wheel, The Globe and Mail reports. IHS Automotive estimates the search engine giant has invested nearly $60 million so far in autonomous vehicle research and development, at a run rate of nearly $30 million per year. Additionally, Ford today said it is tripling its fleet of autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid test vehicles – making it the largest in the automotive industry.

Toyota and Kia will also showcase autonomous car tech at CES, according to news.com.au. Additionally, Toyota will debut its new map-generation technology. CNET says Toyota’s mapping system utilizes onboard cameras and GPS devices, relying on crowd sourcing to deliver maps that are constantly updates.

Electric car startup Faraday Future yesterday announced its futuristic EV concept car that will be built at a $1 billion electric vehicle factory in Las Vegas.

In advance of CES, General Motors says it will invest $500 million in ride-sharing company Lyft to create a network of on-demand autonomous vehicles in the US. In announcing the partnership GM president Dan Ammann said: “We see the future of personal mobility as connected, seamless and autonomous.”

And judging from CES 2016 lineup, the future of the auto industry is connected, emission-less and autonomous.

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