Your Next Car Will Probably Be an EV

If auto-shows are any indication, that is

It was different than in years past. The Los Angeles Auto Show was where nearly every automaker at least showed up with a booth and some news to share with the press. With the pandemic waning but definitely not going anywhere soon, this year’s show was a more subdued affair. But what was shown off was the result of all those past automaker news announcements about going electric.

Hyundai Seven at the 2021 LA Auto Show

Lifewire / Roberto Baldwin

They really are going all-in on an electrified future. Well, at least some of them. 

For years, the Los Angeles Auto Show has billed itself as the tech showcase. It calls itself “Automobility,” cramming the overused word “mobility” in place of “show” to create a nonsense jumble of letters meant to signify the future of transportation. It’s typically marketing and bravado that, in addition to traditional car news, involves a host of startups, some of which we’ll hear from again.

Performance and Third Rows

This year, the smaller show focused like a laser beam on EVs. Even when an automaker introduced several new vehicles, the focus was on the EV. This was incredibly apparent with Porsche’s unveiling of five vehicle variants. What should have been the show stopper, the 718 Cayman GT4 RS, was overshadowed by the Taycan GTS and the Taycan GTS Sport Turismo. Especially the latter, as it was in the Porsche booth in brilliant red and larger than life, letting you imagine what life would be like with the ultimate electric hot wagon. 

Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely adore the 718 Cayman GTS. It’s one of the best cars I’ve ever driven, and I’ve driven far too many vehicles. But the Taycan GTS Sport Turismo was the belle of the ball. 

Porsche wasn’t alone in announcing some EV news, however. Hyundai and Kia unveiled EV concept SUVs, though the segment has been largely overlooked in the electric vehicle market. And while the Hyundai Seven and Kia EV9 concepts will undergo transformations to make them more road and production-friendly, they are ushering in three-row electric transportation from the companies that brought us the impressive Telluride and Palisade. 

While Ford didn’t have any news for the show, as you walked into its booth, it had its F-100 Eluminator EV restomod on display. It also had its upcoming Ford F-150 Lightning and the impressive Mach-E on display amongst the rest of its lineup. 

The Love vs Hydrogen Issue

Then there’s the weird dichotomy of the Toyota and Subaru booths. The automakers collaborated on their upcoming EV crossovers, but while the vehicles are essentially the same, the stark contrast in how they were presented seems to be especially on-brand for both companies. 

Subaru’s large Swiss Family Robinson outdoorsy booth continued to impress with its trees, fake rocks, and crazy display floor, but the star of the show was the all-electric Subaru Solterra. It even received its own news conference. A clean version sat perched on a pedestal above all other things, and Subaru even adjusted its slogan to “Love is now electric.” On the show floor, one accessible to attendees was outfitted with a roof rack stuffed with what I assume was half of the camping gear available at the local REI.

Subaru Solterra at the 2021 LA Auto Show

Lifewire / Roberto Baldwin

Meanwhile, over at the Toyota booth, the electric bZ4X (yes, that’s its actual name) was relegated to a corner space in the automaker’s humongous booth. On Toyota’s main stage was the new Tundra pickup. Even though the Subaru and the Toyota are essentially the same vehicles, their presentations were very different. To be fair, Toyota did have a large shindig for the bZ4X earlier in the week off-site, but the auto show floor is where the public sees these vehicles for the first time. Where Subaru appeared happy to share its news with the world, Toyota seemed less enthusiastic.

This isn’t surprising, of course. Toyota has been reluctant to go battery-electric and continues to push hydrogen-powered vehicles and rail against government regulations concerning electric vehicles. 

Top Down, EV Up

The LA Auto Show delivered EVs in anticipated segments but also became the place where automakers highlighted they were expanding their electrification beyond the small SUV. Those looking for a third row can look towards Kia and Hyundai. The Patagonia-outfitted Subaru set can finally go green while going off-road. And Porshe is making the wagon awesome again. 

Even top-down enthusiasts like myself got some good news. Mini is definitely working on a convertible and is making sure it drives and feels like a proper Mini. The automaker even hinted at a smaller EV Mini in the future to go alongside its micro-bus Urbanaught. 

"Yes, the show is far smaller than in previous years, but it’s also more focused on EVs."

EV to the People

The press days at auto shows are a nice way for automakers and the press to catch up and figure out what’s happening in the industry and gauge a company’s priorities. But it’s the public days and how those priorities are presented that matter. 

Yes, the show is far smaller than in previous years, but it’s also more focused on EVs. Showcasing electric vehicles is the first step to selling an EV, and as far as some of the automakers are concerned, you’re buying an EV.

Want to know more about EVs? We have a whole section dedicated to electric vehicles!

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