With big events like the German Autoshow struggling this year, you might be forgiven to think that COVID-19 has killed the traditional car show. But you’d also be completely wrong.

In China and the US, auto shows are back with a vengeance and they’re not taking any prisoners. In the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen a whole host of cool stuff coming out of the massive LA Auto Show and Guangzhou International Auto Show.

Now, if you’re looking for some serious breakdown on what the  shows’ new releases mean, you’ve come to the wrong place. Because I’m much more interested in diving into the vehicles that encompass the weird, the eclectic, and the bizarre.

So let’s dive in!

Hyundai Seven Ioniq

inside the Ionic Seven
The Hyundai Ioniq Seven blurs the space between home and car.
inside the Ionic Seven

I’ve always been fascinated by the notion of the car as the third place. No longer a just mode of transport, but a place to hang besides work and home. 

Hyundai describes this car as a “living room on wheels” and “a premium lounge where you can live life to the fullest.” 

It’s a testament to personalized design. Passengers and drivers will have an unprecedented amount of freedom to change the architecture inside their vehicles. The company predicts that no two E-GMP cars will look the same way inside.

It even comes with a built-in Mini Fridge and the Shoe-care Compartments to “refresh passengers’ footwear.” No, I’m not sure what that means either… but I love how ridiculous it sounds. 

The Ioniq Seven disinfects passengers and vehicle
The Ioniq Seven comes with some serious disinfecting capabilities.
The Ioniq Seven disinfects passengers and vehicle

While the shoe thing might sound indulgent and deeply unnecessary, the Ioniq Seven does come with some more useful features as well.

For example, probably partly due to the pandemic, it comes equipped with a Hygiene Airflow System that takes inspiration from cabin air management from passenger aircraft. The airtight control determines how the air flows inside the vehicle, moves fresh air towards the passengers, and extracts used air out as efficiently as possible.

In addition to that, UVC Sterilization kicks in when passengers leave the vehicle and automatically prepares the car’s interior for the next journey. Neat.

Buick GL8 concept car 

inside the Buick gI8
Buick GL8 Flagship Concept car features a cool modular four-seat open space layout.
inside the Buick gI8

Buick smart pod 

Inside the Buick Smart Pod
The Buick Smart Pod looks kinda utilitarian on the outside, but wait until you see the features.
Inside the Buick Smart Pod
The Buick comes with a tea tray.
Bonus points for the tea tray!
The Buick comes with a tea tray.

The Buick Smart Pod is a cute little chonkster, as well as a highly compelling fully autonomous electric concept vehicle. It’s smart cabin supports enhanced navigation and real-time integration with personal devices.

Seat sleep.
A folding table can be reconfigured into a sleep seat.
Seat sleep.

But that isn’t all, it also wants to be your office on wheels.  The chairs swivel and there’s a table and… okay maybe it’s a stretch saying it’s trying to be an office.It does, however, use intelligent voice command and advanced eye-tracking technology. So you can program your personalized suggestions into the car for various functions, from infotainment to comfort to vehicle operation.

Guess you could also create one to fire up Zoom?

To be honest, it isn’t the office possibilities that interest me. The real star of the show is the Buick’s sleep seat, and I bet those backseat Tesla drivers would agree.

Barbie electric car 

Barbie Extra EV
Credit: Mattel
Barbie Extra EV

If you’re hungry for something truly weird, look no further than the Barbie electric car. This full-sized bundle of joy comes with winged doors, an all-pink interior with fluffy headrests, topped off with star-shaped head and taillights. Oh, and the rainbow-painted five-spoke wheels are a particular favorite of mine.

But don’t let its looks fool you, the Barbie car is proper machinery. Under the frilly exterior, it’s a modified Fiat 500e convertible, featuring an electric powertrain with 111hp and a 170km of range.

Look, while I enjoy pink monstrosities as much as the next person, I’m not sure whether this car just reinforces tired gender stereotypes, or is an actual example of Mattel trying to bag some green cred by jumping or the EV bandwagon. Does it matter? You decide.

GAC Vision Emkoo

GAC Vision Emkoo
The GAC Vision Emkoo takes futurist design to another level.
GAC Vision Emkoo

I can hardly wrap my brain around what I’m looking at when I see a picture of the Emkoo… but it looks rad. Does it get its inspiration from some crazy sci-fi or futuristic manga? No clue, all I know is those hidden wheels are to die for.

I’m not entirely sure what else to say about it.. but the same goes for the company. On its website, it simply states:

The cutting-edge EMKOO concept car has a low front and high rear body posture and represents a more refined side of the trend for electrification. Its design has a strong sense of the future, and will guide the designs of a series of upcoming GAC Group models.

Inside the GAC Vision Emkoo
Yep, that’s a lounge in the back.
Inside the GAC Vision Emkoo

It also asserts that the neon-lit cabin and corner lounge are “metaphors for a shockwave from breaking the sound barrier.”

EdisonFuture EF1-T

EdisonFuture EF1-T
The EdisonFuture EF1-T comes with a retractable solar roof, to charge your car while sitting idle.
EdisonFuture EF1-T

Ok, confession time, I have a thing for solar vehicles. Solar electric vehicles are an important part of the future of sustainable mobility, and I’ll fight anyone who thinks otherwise.

EdisonFuture is a subsidiary of the Chinese renewable energy company SPI Energy. Unveiled at the LA Auto show, the truck shows that Ford, Rivian, and Tesla aren’t the only pickup trucks in town. Their earlier solar electric delivery van is equally impressive. 

It’ll be available in the three models, with the Super model including three engines and reaching a range of 450 miles (EPA estimate), which brings that range just a little under other EV trucks on the market

But what’s so cool about the EdisonFuture in particular? Not much, really. I just like the way it looks and can’t help but to celebrate any new addition to my beloved solar cars.

So we’ve some pretty cool ideas turned into prototypes and concept cars. How much of this translates into future releases is anyone’s guess, but you have to love the creativity.

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