Battery-powered vehicles will get top billing at the Los Angeles Auto Show, which opens this week after a year-long hiatus due to the new coronavirus.
Subaru, which has experienced strong sales growth in the United States over the past decade, will unveil its first all-electric car, a small SUV called the Solterra.
VinFast, a Vietnamese automaker that plans to start selling in the U.S. next year, will showcase two all-electric SUVs.
Car shows have been declining in importance because car companies have decided to avoid spending and reveal vehicles at their own events. Automakers showcasing new vehicles have only scheduled 10 news conferences for the LA show this year, many from the launch of electric cars. In 2019, the show said it had 25 global revelations from automakers.
But shows are still big, big draws for customers in urban areas who want to see what’s new, all in one place.
The Subaru’s Solterra, the size of a Forester gas-powered SUV, can drive about 220 miles (350 kilometers) on a single charge and will have the brand’s trademark four-wheel drive to drive off the road and cope with bad weather.
The carmaker says that Solterra’s lithium-ion battery can be charged with AC chargers in the home and also has the ability to handle DC fast charging on the road. Its electric motor provides 215 horsepower.
Subaru says the Solterra with five passengers will go on sale sometime next year. The price was not announced.
Vietnam’s VinFast introduces VF e35 medium and VF e36 large electric SUVs at the show.
Michael Lohscheller, the automaker’s global CEO, said VinFast plans to start accepting orders in the spring and delivering vehicles in the U.S. by the fall. Initially, the SUVs will be built at a new factory in Vietnam, but VinFast plans to build a US factory that will begin production in the second half of 2024. The company is currently looking at locations.
The VF e35 will have a maximum range of 310 miles (499 kilometers) per charge, while the larger e36 will be able to travel up to 422 miles (679 kilometers) per charge, Lohscheller said in an interview Wednesday.
He will not reveal the prices yet.
VinFast, with a US headquarters in Los Angeles, plans to sell vehicles through its own network of stores, where much of the ordering process takes place online. Already, the company has plans for 60 stores in California alone. It will also have some service centers and mobile service, Lohscheller said.
“We would come to your home and arrange it for you,” he said.
Visit the LA Auto Show to have a look at the most talked about vehicles of the future. “California Live” checks out an all-electric old-fashioned car that combines new school with old school with no gas emissions. The LA Auto Show is in the West Atrium of the Los Angeles Convention Center from November 17-28.
VinFast is part of the Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup, which provides capital to expand sales of electric cars to the United States and ultimately Europe, Lohscheller said. VinFast plans to make a U.S. stock offering for further fundraising over the next year or two, he said.
The company already sells cars with internal combustion engines and electric powertrains in Vietnam, he said.
Los Angeles Auto Show promoters say it will have more test drive options than at previous shows, including an indoor test track for electric vehicles as well as outdoor test drives.
Press days for the show are Wednesday and Thursday, and it opens to the public from 19-28. November.