13 jan 21

CES Day 2: it’s electric and it’s solar

The second day of the online-only CES 2021 brought a range of fascinating mobility innovations, including a car that can charge itself. But maybe not on a cloudy day.

BMW: all-new iDrive system

It’s already been 20 years since BMW introduced the first generation of iDrive at CES. This year, BMW is showcasing an all-new iDrive which promises to be more digital and intelligent.

With iDrive, BMW was the first carmaker to replace the growing number of buttons and by a rotary dial on the centre console. What’s more, the system also had voice control technology, still very revolutionary 20 years ago.

The next-generation BMW iDrive will use the potential of a connected vehicle even more. It will be officially unveiled later in 2021.

Sono Motors: the first solar electric vehicle for the masses

Sono Motors unveiled the Sion, a new car that’s not also electric, it’s also solar. The car has 248 integrated solar cells, allowing it to charge itself. This should give it a range of 255 kilometres.

Do not expect the car to charge fully using solar energy though. The carmaker expects up to 35 kilometres of additional range per day in Germany – the rest will need to come from a charger. At a fast charger, the Sono will charge up to 80% in 30 minutes. At a fast charger, mind you.

The Sion can be preordered today for a purchase price of €25,500 in Europe. Start of production is expected in 2022.

Geotab Energy: driving electrification forward

The global leader in IoT and connected transportation unveiled Geotab Energy. Focused on the electric utility and electricity demand management market, Geotab Energy helps to bridge sustainable transportation with sustainable energy by offering products and services designed to support the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) with electrical grid infrastructure.

By helping utilities understand, plan for and manage the integration of EV charging with the grid, Geotab’s new business unit helps ensure that EV owners can be supported by the key infrastructure that provides consumers with electricity at home, work and within their communities in the most efficient manner possible.

ZF: software as a mediator

ZF presented its new middleware, a “mediator” between the vehicle’s operating system and its software applications. Throughout the vehicle’s lifetime, functions can be updated or added on demand.

The middleware translates and standardises the communication between the vehicles different hard- and software layers by using “one universal language”.

ZF also unveiled its new Global Software Centre, where new automotive software products and services will be developed.

Webfleet Solutions: new mobility solutions

Together with parent company Bridgestone, Webfleet Solutions showcases its mobility solutions at CES 2021. Bridgestone World is an interactive city that demonstrates how Bridgestone will power a more sustainable mobility future.

Both companies will also explore how they are using smart tyre technology, advanced data analytics and new business models to shape a sustainable mobility system, now and in the future.

Authored by: Benjamin Uyttebroeck