CES 2019 Concept Cars

The purpose of concept cars is to show what technologies, designs, and ideas might be incorporated into production cars in the not-too-distant future. While many of these vehicles rarely make it past the design process, they do occasionally contain elements that trickle down to mass-produced cars.

I was fortunate to attend the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. While it mostly focuses on smartphones and wearable tech, there is a significant portion of the show dedicated to cars. Here are some notable concept cars that I spotted at #CES2019.
The Audi AICON is a 2+2 autonomous luxury sedan. Powered by four electric motors, the vehicle is projected to have a range of 450 miles between charges, with an 80% charge taking just 30 minutes.


Byton is a Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer based in Nanjing. Founded by former BMW and Nissan executives, the company hopes to begin selling its first models in China later this year. The Byton K-Byte is a luxury sedan with Level 4 autonomous driving and a 325 mile range. It has LiDAR modules mounted on both the left and right front fenders.

Meet the Byton M-Byte, a luxury electric crossover from China. I saw the car on display at the 2019 CES Show in Las Vegas. The dashboard is a single 48 inch wide display screen. Even the steering wheel has a screen! This isn’t just another startup with big dreams, the company has $1.7 billion in backing from the Chinese government.

This one is not a concept car, but is currently in production. The Karma Revero is based on the former Fisker Karma sedan with an updated powertrain. This luxury hybrid has an onboard gasoline engine to recharge the battery pack, for a range of up to 300 miles.

The Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow is an exciting, single-seat concept car that looks otherworldly. Its smooth carbon fiber body conceals an 80 kWh battery pack and a 738 hp electric motor. Styling is designed to resemble the Mercedes W125, a record setting race car from 1937. Will this car ever see production? It is unlikely, but as a concept car, it checks all the boxes.

The Mercedes-Benz Vision Urbanetic is a new concept van. It sort of looks like a bicycle helmet on wheels, but Mercedes claims that this autonomous, self-learning van is a “visionary mobility concept for urban areas.”

Nissan unveiled the NISMO Leaf RC02 in Tokyo in late 2018. The Formula E race car is all electric with two motors producing 322 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque. It zips from 0-60 mph in 3.4 seconds and weighs just 2,690 lbs thanks to its extensive use of carbon fiber.

1969 Farago CF428 Coupe – The Italian Pontiac

There are no shortage of beautiful American-made cars, but I believe that when Americans and Italians combine their talents to build a car, the results are truly magic. There are numerous examples from history such as the Hudson Italia, an American car that wore a body designed by Carrozzeria Touring. Another example is the DeTomaso Mangusta and the Pantera, designed by Ghia and powered by Ford V8 engines. Though they were not hugely successful, the Stutz Blackhawk and the Chrysler TC by Maserati also paired American powertrains with Italian-designed bodies.

At the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, I discovered another car that followed the “American powertrain + Italian design” formula. Designated as a 1969 Farago CF428 coupe, this car was a one-off prototype created by Paul Farago and Sergio Coggiola, formerly of Ghia. Coggiola and Farago were two designers who formed Carrozzeria Coggiola in 1969.

Their first project was from none other than John DeLorean, who was at the time head of the highly successful Pontiac division over at General Motors. DeLorean wanted a concept car that would grab attention for Pontiac, something exciting that could be used to promote the brand. A 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix with a 428 cubic inch V8 was appropriated for the project.

Though it maintains its Pontiac drivetrain and chassis, the resulting coupe is a low-slung, wedge-shaped car that looks like a more refined, sophisticated Pontiac that just spent a semester studying abroad. The extreme angle of the windshield and seamless integration of the roof into the rear deck reminds me of the Ford Mustang Mach I with the Sportsroof body style. Though the sheet metal has been changed dramatically from a Grand Prix, the car retains its Pontiac door handles, tail lights, and interior.

The car was displayed at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance by its owner Frank Campanale of Michigan, who is a relative of Farago. The car captured the 3rd Place win in its category of “American Dream Cars of the 1960s,” a well-deserved honor.

After this project, Paul Farago went on to work with Virgil Exener from Chrysler on the Stutz Blackhawk, which also used a Pontiac drivetrain. He also worked on the Maserati Ghibli, which bears a stunning resemblance with its long hood and short deck.

This car never made it into production, but I find it fascinating to see what a 1970s collaboration between Pontiac and Italian designers would have looked like.

CES 2015: Cars of the Future

Every year in January, the titans of the tech industry converge in Las Vegas, Nevada forĀ  the annual Consumer Electronics Show. At this industry event, thousands of tech companies come to show off their latest products and innovations.

The growing demand for high-tech connected automobiles has resulted in many of the world’s biggest automakers joining the show. Manufacturers such as Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Toyota were on site to show off their newest automotive technologies. Here is a quick look at some of the things we saw at CES 2015.

Mercedes-Benz F 015 concept car
ces-2015-mercedes-f015-conceptThis Mercedes concept car is a cutting-edge example of an autonomous car – one that can completely drive itself! The car is powered by an electric drive system with a hydrogen fuel cell, which will deliver up to 1,100 km (683 miles) of zero-emission driving.

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Kepler Motion Supercar

When PayPal co-founder Elon Musk launched a new company building mass-market electric cars, he was clever in picking the name Tesla Motors. Tesla was an 18th-century inventor and engineer who was obsessed with the properties electricity. He was a brilliant man who was under-appreciated in his own time, and using his name to sell electric-powered cars is a fitting tribute.

Taking a page from Elon Musk’s playbook, another upstart car company has adopted the moniker of a famous inventor. Meet the Motion supercar from Kepler Motors!

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2014 Corvette Stingray Gran Turismo Concept Car

Does art imitate life, or does life imitate art? In this case, it’s both.

Here we have a car that existed first in a video game and was then re-created in real life. The 2014 Corvette Stingray Gran Turismo Concept is based on a playable car from the Gran Turismo 6 video game for PlayStation 3.

Performance wise, this car is identical to any other new Stingray. But this is SEMA, and the car is decked out in lots of appearance and trim pieces. It starts with the custom matte blue paint, which is definitely not a factory color.

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Falcon F7 Supercar

The history of the automobile in America is filled with dreamers who saw an existing car or idea and thought to themselves “I can do better.” People such as Henry Kaiser, John DeLorean, Malcolm Bricklin, Henrik Fisker, and countless others held that dream for a short time, only to watch it slip through their fingers. Starting a car company is really, really hard to do – even for those who are blessed with talent, ideas, money, and a whole lot of luck.

Enter Jeff Lemke, an entrepreneur from Holly, Michigan (a small town about 50 miles outside of Detroit). Lemke has years of experience in building aftermarket parts for Dodge Vipers. In 2009, he decided he wanted to do his own car and started a company called Falcon Motorsports.

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Automotive Tech Takes the Stage at CES 2014

Every year in January, the world’s consumer electronics companies congregat in Las Vegas at the International CES Show to show off their latest and greatest products. Everything from digital cameras and tablet computers to washing machines and televisions are on display.

In past years, car manufacturers occupied a small part of the show to demonstrate the latest in-vehicle technologies. For 2014, automotive companies reserved 140,000 square feet of floor space for their booths – a 20% increase compared to 2013!

Here are some of the top automotive headlines from CES 2014:

Audi Introduces Self-Driving Car

Audi was at CES 2014 demonstrating a self-driving car, which uses a combination of RADAR, LASER, and imaging technologies to be aware of its surroundings. Last year, the car’s entire hatch was filled with computers to process this information. This year, it’s been shrunk down to a computer in the trunk no bigger than an iPad. Audi calls their new technology “piloted driving,” and it looked very close to production-ready on this A7 sedan.

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SEMA 2013: Galpin Ford GTR-1 Supercar

In honor of its 100th anniversary, the Ford Motor Company produced a limited production supercar from 2004 to 2006. Known as the Ford GT, this mid-engined marvel had a production run of just 4,038 vehicles.

The folks over at Galpin Auto Sports wondered: what if Ford had kept making the GT? What would it look like today? Based on that concept, they created the GTR 1 supercar.

This amazing car is based on the Ford GT, but features some significant changes. Check out the video below to learn more about the Galpin Ford GTR-1.

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