Auto shows have always been a great way for automakers to increase brand awareness and drum up sales. Once the coronavirus pandemic struck and large sections of the country shut down, shows such as the Los Angeles Auto Show were put on hold. Now that the country is opening up and the economy is regaining some of its lost steam, the Los Angeles Auto Show is back on, and electric vehicles (“EVs”) are poised to play a big role.
With the United States looking to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and cut down its carbon emissions, plenty of automakers and EV startups have invested billions of dollars in developing zero-emission electric cars. This week’s auto show, which opens after a yearlong break, will allow these automakers and startups to showcase what they’ve been working on.
Japanese automaker Subaru plans on unveiling its first battery electric vehicle, a relatively small SUV with an estimated 220-mile range: the Solterra. About the same size as the gas- powered Forester, the Solterra is an electric compact crossover SUV with an all-wheel-drive system and two electric motors capable of generating 216 horsepower combined and 248 pound-feet of torque. Subaru hasn’t provided price details for the Solterra yet.
Another company unveiling electric SUVs will be VinFast, a Vietnamese automaker that plans on expanding into the U.S. market next year. VinFast will showcase two electric SUVs: a midsize called the VF e35 and a larger SUV called the VF e36. According to VinFast global chief executive Michael Lohscheller, the EV maker will start taking orders in the spring and begin American deliveries in the fall.
The two SUVs will initially be manufactured at a factory in Vietnam, but VinFast plans on building a factory in the United States to begin production in 2024. The smaller VF e35 will have an estimated range of 310 miles while the larger e36 will have an estimated 422-mile range, Lohscheller said. Like Subaru, Vinfast hasn’t revealed the price of its new EVs.
Vinfast wants to sell EVs directly to customers via its network of stores, and the company is already planning on launching 60 stores in California. Lohscheller says the Vietnamese company will also have service centers and offer mobile service that would see technicians travel to homes to fix possible issues. Although America is one of the largest EV markets in the world, the industry is still young and EV adoption is quite low. Vinfast, which is part of Vingroup, a Vietnamese conglomerate looking to expand EV sales into the U.S. and Europe, has a chance to carve out a portion of the market for itself.
Promoters of the Los Angeles Show say that unlike previous shows, this year’s event will provide drivers with more test-drive opportunities. These opportunities include an indoor EV testing track and outdoor test drives.
When the EV industry garners the kind of exposure that the LA Auto Show can command, the entire sector, including enterprises such as Mullen Automotive Inc. (NASDAQ: MULN), benefits as increased awareness can drive deeper penetration of electric vehicles.
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