Startup companies from outside the US showed off all-electric and smart vehicles at CES 2023 in Las Vegas, everything from the all-Canadian Project Arrow concept vehicle to several production models from VinFast, based in Vietnam.
For the Canadians, it was their first visit with Project Arrow to CES. It was the second appearance for VinFast, which erected a large, flashy booth along with chauffeured rides near the Vegas Strip in its VF 8, an all-wheel drive electric with front and rear motors.
VinFast Holdings CEO Madam Le Thi Thu Thuy greeted a large kick-off crowd in English on the opening day of CES, noting the company’s transition from internal combustion engines to all-electric, with four electric designs revealed over the past year. Video on a curved mega-screen showed recent deliveries of nearly 1,000 VF 8 City Edition vehicles rolling off a ship into port in the US. New VF 6 and VF 7 models on display at CES will “resonate well with young customers passionate about technology,” she said.
Reports have suggested the VF 7 could cost in the mid-$30,000 price range, while the 2023 VF 8, a 5-seat electric SUV, sold initially for $40,700 and is eligible for a federal tax credit of $7,500. The VF 7 Eco is rated to provide up to 280 miles of range on a full charge. Hitting a retail price point of $35,000 for an EV with good range closing in on 300 miles is considered by many analysts to be the golden key to sales in the US, especially for cost-conscious younger buyers who are also interested in green energy.
VinFast was established in 2017 and now owns an auto manufacturing complex in Hai Phong, Vietnam, that is 90% automated. The company also makes four e-bike models.
Meanwhile, Canada’s Project Arrow concept vehicle will be featured at a kickoff event April 11 at Curiosity Lab in Peachtree Corners, Georgia, a smart community that pushes technologies for sustainability and has designed streets and sidewalks set up to demonstrate vehicle and pedestrian safety tech.
The Project Arrow concept vehicle features inductive charging capabilities that the community will support with in-ground charging locations, according to Brandon Branham, assistant city manager and CTO and a proponent of a number of smart city projects including C-V2X along a busy thoroughfare. The city has about 45,000 residents and an equal number of workers, which offers transportation challenges for traffic flow, safety and sustainability, he told Fierce Electronics at the Project Arrow venue.
Peachtree Corners already has used two autonomous shuttles to ferry workers back and forth. Those Ollie shuttles are managed and deployed by Beep, an autonomous shuttle provider that announced two partner announcements during CES with Holon and ZF. Their shuttles could be deployed in the city in coming months depending on operational needs, according to a spokeswoman.
Canada has not launched a global automaker in 100 years and Project Arrow is the result of more than 58 Canadian companies working together through the Automotive Parks Manufacturer’s Association on mobility technology in the vehicle. Project Arrow was spurred by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s call for zero emissions by 2050.
One of the companies involved in the concept, Meta Materials of Halifax, Nova Scotia, makes nanocomposites and Nanoweb, which can be embedded into glass for deicing and defogging. Kingston, Ontario-based Distributive provided open-network computing models in Project Arrow based on its Ditributive Compute Protocol software which takes app workloads and spreads them over all the idle computers in a network.
The protocol could allow Arrow’s connected computers to be used for compute jobs not related to its driving or idle functions, but perhaps even cancer research, according to Distributive CEO Dan Desjardins in an interview with Kingstonist.