LA Auto Show 2018: 5 Electrifying Concept Vehicles (And a Bonus One)

Where did all the exhaust pipes go? It’s always exciting to see the concept vehicles at the LA Auto Show, and this year the theme of the the concept vehicles I saw was “electric,” which isn’t a bad thing given that electric motors produce 100% of torque immediately and electric vehicles are often all-wheel drive, which equals quick acceleration. Electric components and batteries can be placed in different configurations than the standard internal combustion engine so the use of electric parts (some of which don’t exist, yet) allow for designers to come up with fantastic concepts. Here’s a few photos of some of interesting concept vehicles I saw at the show.

1. Mitsubishi: e-Evolution

Mitsubishi describes this vehicle as “…a peek into the future product direction…that incorporates the strengths of a sport utility vehicle, electric vehicle, and the ability to integrate new systems for a connected mobility customer experience.”

2018 LA Auto Show Mitsubishi e-Evolution side profile

I’m not sure what a “connected mobility experience" is, but I like the features of the vehicle: batteries stored centrally for excellent balance, triple motor 4-wheel-drive system coupled with a dual motor active yaw control (AYC) and Mitsubishi’s super-all-wheel control (S-AWC) dynamic system.

2018 LA Auto Show concepts Mitsubishi e-Evolution rear three-quarter

I don't know what to think about the built-in artificial intelligence system. It augments driver capabilities and builds a picture of the driver’s skill level which constructs a training program that will give advice to said driver through voice dialogue and a dashboard display. If everyone had that feature it could be revolutionary—would it help make everyone better drivers?

2018 LA Auto Show concepts Mitsubishi e-Evolution front three quarter

2. Hyundai: Le Fil Rouge

Meaning “a common thread” in French, this concept “embodies Hyundai’s latest design language, ‘sensuous sportiness’ that is defined by the harmony between four fundamental elements in car design: proportion, architecture, styling, and technology.”

2018 LA Auto Show concepts Hyundai Le Fil Rouge side profile

The designers are said to have used the Golden Ratio through the basic design of the exterior: with a long wheel base, large wheels and short overhangs—and the interior: the distance from the front wheel center to the base of the windshield, which they claim, “ensures the perfect driving position.”

2018 LA Auto Show concepts Hyundai Le Fil Rouge open doors

It certainly is a good-looking car that is sleek, and no one should have trouble entering it with the standard doors front and “suicide” or forward opening doors for the rear seats. Unfortunately, there was no mention of any potential power plant.

2018 LA Auto Show concepts Hyundai Le Fil Rouge rear window

3. Volkswagen: Buzz

It looks fun and it definitely reminds us of the VW Bus from yesteryear in its size and layout. Geared toward 21st century needs, this Buzz is slightly more aerodynamic than its predecessor and it won’t be considered under-powered with an anticipated 369hp electric motor.

2018 LA Auto Show concepts Volkswagen Buzz ID side profile

Side-mirrors are out, but rear-facing side-cameras are in. The interior is spacious and looks like it could be converted for a variety of enjoyable uses like surfing and camping, and a bunch of commercial uses, too, like delivery van.

2018 LA Auto Show concepts Volkswagen Buzz ID front three quarter

I’m happy to see VW revive the bus, even if they misspelled the name.

2018 LA Auto Show concepts Volkswagen Buzz ID open cargo door

4. Infiniti: P10

Drawing from the design elements of early “speedsters” where power to weight ratios were improved with a single-seat and never intended for passengers, Infiniti’s P10 (Prototype 10) is simply beautiful.

2018 LA Auto Show concepts Infiniti P10 rear three quarter

It’s a driver focused car (who else could it be focused on?), meant to be enjoyed on the left coast of the continental United States, “This instinct for challenging accepted automotive norms—aided by the ever-temperate weather—meant California was destined to become the spiritual home of the high-performance speedster.” I assumed the association was because there was no top.

2018 LA Auto Show concepts Infiniti P10 cockpit

The P10 is part of their “electrification strategy” and promise that electrification equals performance in their eyes, “our cars will be powerful, efficient, and highly rewarding to drive, and P10 is a physical representation of our electrified future,” according to Karim Habib, Infiniti’s Executive Design Director.

2018 LA Auto Show concepts Infiniti P10 front end

5. Toyota: TJ Cruiser

This is what you get when you cross a van and an SUV, according to Toyota (don’t call it a mini-Flex).

2018 LA Auto Show concepts Toyota TJ Cruiser front three quarter

It’s also the most realistic and most-likely-to-see-production concept on this list. My favorite aspect of the truck is the fold-down seats from the cargo area all the way to, and including, the front passenger seat—spanning a distance of almost 10 feet. One of those clever ideas that I’m surprised wasn’t thought up sooner.

2018 LA Auto Show concepts Toyota TJ Cruiser rear three quarter

Power will come from a 2.0L engine with the Prius’ hybrid components and options include front or four-wheel drive. Production could happen in as little as two years.

2018 LA Auto Show concepts Toyota TJ Cruiser front grille

Bonus Vehicle: Icona Nucleus

Out of left field comes the Nucleus concept car, thought up by an Italian design firm. They call it “the ultimate self-driving living room,” (seriously!).

2018 LA Auto Show concepts Icona Nucleus front three quarter

While it is probably a dream for commutes that last an hour or longer, I can’t think of a less inspiring tag line—but then this car is obviously not intended for people who like to drive because there is no steering wheel or dashboard. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be many controls at all with the exception of a seat recliner and climate controls.

2018 LA Auto Show concepts Icona Nucleus rear three quarter

However, there is one aspect worthy of note: there is no side glass, instead it employs semi-transparent bodycolor panels that the passengers can see out of, but people outside the vehicle cannot see in. Neat, but I like my living room stationary.

2018 LA Auto Show concepts Icona Nucleus interior

More from the LA Auto Show: see Jeep's new Gladiator truck.

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