If you’ve never made it to the annual CES event in Las Vegas, we have a warning for you: It’s a freaking madhouse, but we think in a good way (some may take umbrage with this). It’s so big that it takes over three separate areas of Vegas, including 11 official venues, some 4,500 exhibitors, and more than 2.5 million square feet of exhibition space. Most of the action, however, is at or near the Las Vegas Convention Center.
We had a chance to dash in and around the central hall, where we waded through the mass of humanity and where most of the mainstream automakers were posted up along with car-related tech—much of it high-end sound system stuff. (Official vehicle debuts included the 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA-class and the longer-range Nissan Leaf Plus.) Cool cars were strewn about everywhere and we were able to snap off a few photos of some of the raddest, biggest, and strangest things we saw. Some have been on display already at other shows, but CES is a great opportunity to revisit those ones all over again.
Schaeffler 4ePerformance concept
The German tech giant uses this car as a test bed for its electric-vehicle technology development, and it’s a monster. Based on Audi’s RS3 race car, the 4ePerformance features a 220-kW electric motor at each wheel cribbed from Schaeffler’s Formula E race car campaigned in 2015–16. It pushes an insane 1,180 horses in all, deploys active torque vectoring, and, when you mash the juice pedal, it can hit 124 mph in just seven seconds. Whoa.
Cub Porsche 911 GT3 RS
A maker of traffic awareness and blind-spot detection systems primarily for mobile homes and campers, the folks at Cub knew a way to get us to wander over—station this Cub-wrapped 991-Series GT3 RS that participated in a recent Fuelrun Midnight Run in its booth. We’re betting it has all manner of Cub sensors all over it so it can more easily sense when some midnight runner in an Aventador is approaching.
Kenworth / Toyota Fuel-Cell Electric Vehicle
We’ve already told you about this bad mother of a big rig, and the cool part about it is that 10 of these are promised to be running around the Port of Los Angeles by 2020. With 300 miles of range per fill-up—which takes about 30 minutes from empty—it can do some real hauling, and it’s whisper quiet at idle, which truckers dig while they’re sitting around waiting for cargo. While the test truck had a single-speed transmission, the production versions will have a four-speed. Let’s see, this or a Mirai?
Infinite Auto Design Corvette
We’re suckers for killer Vettes, and while weren’t able to get the lowdown on what this wild C7 build by IAD had under the hood, it sure looks like it could stomp fools who might try to mess with it. In the back is a colossal audio setup by AudioControl.
FOMM Concept Electric Sports Car
This darling little two-seat EV sports car concept was built by the FOMM Corporation using electronic componentry form the Japanese electronics giant Funai Electric Co., Ltd. Funai is looking to break into the dashboard display market and the car is meant to showcase its tech—Funai also built the inverter for the car. For its part, FOMM is using the scissor-doored concept as a way to gain more visibility for its fledgling electric vehicle called the FOMM 1 it launched in Thailand using similar underlying components. The FOMM sports car, which is about 10 feet long, has four in-wheel motors and is rated at about 26 horsepower in all. While there’s no way it would ever be sold here, it’s a neat little machine that would be fun to run around Bangkok in.
Addictive Desert Designs Ford Ranger
First shown at last year’s SEMA show, Ford recycled this 2019 Ford Ranger XLT SuperCrew FX4 done up by the folks at ADD, because Xbox is very CES. Using the Xbox Design Lab controller program as inspiration, the ADD team added 35-inch BFGoodrich Mud Terrain tires and an ADD roof rack and tire carrier, and then sprayed it in an arctic-style color scheme with Xbox accents. When you’re done getting after it on the trails, you can play games one the Xbox One X consoles installed in the back.
Kenwood 1973 Plymouth Barracuda
One of the biggest purveyors of audio systems out extant, Kenwood is using this sweet ’Cuda as a way to demonstrate that vintage muscle cars can be technologically up to date as well. Built by Luxe South Bay, the Plymouth features the latest in Kenwood in-dash entertainment, speaker systems, and Kenwood’s drive recorder. It also features Escort radar tech that’s integrated with the Kenwood system, upgraded A/C, and a HushMat system designed to help properly absorb all that sound. We’d probably like to hear the car just as much, but the stereo can at least be turned down.
Powerbass Ford F-350
We were just walking along minding our own business when the floor started to shake, and there it was, this colossal 2017 F-350 fitted with Powerbass products trying to bring down the convention-center roof. The owner wasn’t around when we stopped by so we weren’t able to get any specifics, but one of the Powerbass guys said it can raise or lower between eight- and 20-inch lifts thanks to all of its suspension components. It’s hard to put into perspective how big this thing is, but think fire truck and you’re in the ballpark.
Nissan Leaf Nismo RC
Back in 2013, Nissan rolled out a race car version of its Leaf billed as the world’s first ever electric race car. It didn’t exactly leave a lasting impression, but it served as a test bed for Nissan engineers to help it develop the Leaf and possibly position it as a platform for e-racing. The latest version of the Leaf Nismo RC, which made its North American debut at CES, has come a long way, roughly doubling the power and torque of the first car. It features two electric motors positioned front and rear that deliver power to each axle independently. The motors produce roughly 320 horsepower in all and there’s an impressive 472 lb-ft of torque on tap from the moment you put your right foot down. It looks the part, too, with a low, wide, and mean stance, plus a livery cribbed from Nissan’s Formula E car.