The Los Angeles Auto Show Focuses on Electrification

The Los Angeles Auto Show Focuses on Electrification

The 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show, on through Nov. 27, includes new model introductions, and it’s not surprising that many of them are battery electrics and hybrids. 

The industry is moving dramatically in that direction. But the internal-combustion engine is still showing some signs of life, especially from performance car makers such as Porsche. 

Here are some highlights from this year’s show:. 

2023 Porsche 911 Dakar

The name comes from the famous Dakar Rally (formerly Paris-Dakar), launched in 1978. The name is a bit misleading, however, since the rally no longer involves Senegal—it was held in South America from 2009 to 2019, and now takes place in Saudi Arabia. 

But wherever it’s held, the off-road event is a real test of both competitors and their machines, with 500 miles of difficult terrain daily. Porsche had its first overall victory in the Paris-Dakar event of 1984. (René Metge won in a modified 911 Carrera.)

The Porsche Dakar made its world premiere in L.A. Only 2,500 Dakars will be built, with U.S. deliveries to start in the spring of 2023. The starting price is US$222,000. 

Off-roading requires clearance. The Dakar sits 50 millimeters higher than a standard 911 Carrera with sport suspension. A standard lift system can raise the car another 30 millimeters using the “High Level” setting, giving the Dakar an SUV-type ride height. Above 105 miles per hour, the car goes back to its standard height. The vehicle rides on reinforced Pirelli Scorpion All-Terrain tires.   

The power comes from a three-liter twin-turbo Boxer engine making 473 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. It can reach 60 miles per hour in just 3.2 seconds, and the higher cross-section of the tires limit the car to 150 mph. The Porsche has an eight-speed double-clutch (PDK) transmission and all-wheel drive, with rear-axle steering. Two new driving modes are Rallye (for loose surfaces, prioritizing power to the rear axle) and Off-Road (maximizing traction on sand, with High Level automatically engaged). 

The Dakar has serious off-roading capability, with such features as an optional roof basket, and an available roof tent. The Dakar uses lightweight glass and removes the rear seats, yielding a 3,552-pound curb weight. Porsche spokesperson Luke Vandezande says the Dakar “occupies a very exclusive portion of the 911 model range and is designed for customers who appreciate Porsche rally racing history. It is designed to be fun where the road ends and, at the same time, it’s still a very capable sports car on pavement.”

2023 Toyota Prius

The Toyota Prius is all-new for 2023. Expect 57 miles per gallon. The photo shows the plug-in hybrid Prime model.

Toyota photo

The new fifth-generation Prius made its North American debut in L.A., showing off a new and much sleeker shape to replace the existing polarizing design, plus the promise of 57 miles per gallon combined on the LE FWD model. Toyota claims a more than 50{49e09b23eae7466ccc7574c19ebb3019301c9a11d2999feff81a3526451546a5} increase in EV range. The hybrid drivetrain uses a two-liter engine and produces up to 194 horsepower, yielding a 7.2-second zero to 60 time (up from 9.8) in front-wheel drive models. Pricing will come later in the year. 

The 2023 Prius is based on the second-generation TNGA-C platform, which allows a lower center of gravity compared to earlier models, as well as reduced weight and increased rigidity. The roofline has been lowered two inches compared to the outgoing Prius. LE, XLE, and Limited models will be offered, and all-wheel drive versions that use a motor on the rear wheels. The new lithium-ion pack increases battery output by 15{49e09b23eae7466ccc7574c19ebb3019301c9a11d2999feff81a3526451546a5}. 

Toyota also showed the battery-electric bZ Compact SUV Concept. Among other features, it includes Yui, an in-car personal assistant who responds to requests from passengers in the cabin and uses audio and visual lighting cues. The production 2023 bZ4X, also in Los Angeles and starting at US$42,000, offers up to 252 miles of range on front-wheel drive models. 

2023 Hyundai IONIQ 6

The IONIQ 6 is a sleek sedan on the IONIQ 5’s platform. (Hyundai photo)

Toyota photo

After winning converts with the fast-selling IONIQ 5 electric SUV, Hyundai unveiled the IONIQ 6 four-door sedan (on the same platform). Based on the Prophecy concept, the IONIQ 6 (making its North American debut) is super-slippery, with a drag coefficient of just 0.22. It has a targeted range of 340 miles, and uses fast 800-volt DC charging to go from 10 to 80 full in 18 minutes. Pricing (estimated) starts around US$44,000, but will go much higher. 

There will be both single- and dual-motor versions of the IONIQ 6. The former will likely offer 168 horsepower (similar to the IONIQ 5) but twin-motor versions will have 320 horsepower and zero to 60 in 5.1 seconds. 

Hyundai’s stand also featured the N Vision 74 fuel-cell hybrid concept, making its U.S. debut. It’s both a hybrid electric vehicle with a 62.4-kWh battery pack and a hydrogen vehicle. The front-mounted 85-kilowatt fuel cell converts hydrogen to electricity to recharge the battery pack. The hydrogen tanks, with 9.3-pound capacity, can be refueled in five minutes. Driving range is an estimated 373+ miles. 

Lucid Air Pure and Touring

The Pure is a relatively affordable Air electric at $87,400.

Lucid photo

The Arizona-built Lucid Air is a formidable Tesla fighter, with the biggest obstacle being its sky-high price. The 819-horsepower Grand Touring model carries a US$154,000 tag. The Air just became more competitive with US$87,400 Pure and US$107,400 Touring models shown in Los Angeles. 

The 480-horsepower Pure will go on sale in January, with a 410-mile range. With what Lucid executive
Derek Jenkins
describes as “dozens of small improvements,” the Pure will have a 0.197 coefficient of drag, down from 0.21. The Touring, now in production, has 425-mile range, and 620 horsepower from its dual-motor, all-wheel drive configuration. 

Also in conjunction with the L.A. show, Lucid previewed its new three-row SUV called the Gravity, which goes into production in 2024 with “supercar performance.” The company also promised stellar range. Reservations begin next year.