CES 2024, formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show, runs January 9-12 in Las Vegas.
CES is a big show. The 2020 show, which ran just prior to the Covid shutdown, hosted 171,000 attendees. Attendance figures dwindled in subsequent years, but 2023 found the show hitting a respectable 115,000.
This year, CES expects to host approximately 130,000 attendees and 4,000 exhibitors, which includes more than 300 mobility-related companies.
Unlike smaller conventions in Las Vegas, CES fills all of the halls at the Las Vegas Convention Center plus overflows across 10 hotels. So, planning ahead is important if you’re going to prioritize the booths you want to visit.
A big part of CES’s evolution over the past few years has been its evolution into a major automotive show. This makes a lot of sense, given how technology is increasingly interwoven into the automotive industry.
Automakers typically take the opportunity for a sizable presence at CES, but this year shows a more muted footprint by the large car companies. Ford, General Motors, Stellantis and Toyota are not formally participating.
While sad, the lack of some of the larger automakers leaves much more opportunity for the remainder to stand out.
The new West Hall is where the big automotive players exhibit.The theme in this hall is “Vehicle Tech & Advanced Mobility” – where you’ll see the big vendor displays from Hyundai, Kia, VinFast, John Deere, Caterpillar, Magna and Amazon Automotive.
Honda intends to debut an all-new global electric-vehicle series and showcase key technologies. The company said it will introduce 30 new EVs by 2030, a number that includes both battery-electric and fuel-cell-powered products.
Separately, Afeela, the brand created by a Sony-Honda joint venture, will exhibit its latest vehicle prototype.
The map of the Convention Center’s West Hall reveals that Hyundai has the largest footprint. The company plans to share developments related to hydrogen fuel cells and software-defined vehicle technology.
In addition, Hyundai’s Supernal subsidiary will unveil a product concept for its eVTOL aircraft and show its associated vertiport.
Vietnamese automaker VinFast, who recently announced they expect to have 125 franchised dealers as part of an initial rollout and then hundreds by the end of 2024 throughout the U.S., will present two vehicles at CES that could be coming to U.S. dealerships within a couple of years: an electric pickup and the VF 3 microcar that could sell for under $20,000.
Electric vehicle and charging news made a splash at the 2023 CES tech show. But their presence this year mirrors what's going on in the automotive market — a bit of an EV growth slowdown. At the 2024 CES, EV announcements are much more subdued than at last year’s show.
Blink Charging plans to exhibit. Additional major charging companies such as EVgo, ChargePoint and Electrify America say they won't exhibit or break news at the show.
Looking over the exhibit hall space, Autonomous (self-driving) technology no longer seems to be an auto industry obsession. Problems at GM subsidiary Cruise highlighted a troublesome 2023 for robo taxis in particular. Ford announced last year that it would move away from fully autonomous tech. Both Ford and GM took huge losses on automated tech last year. Unlike previous CES expos, few self-driving demonstrations are expected.
Having said that, a number of companies will show off how using AI inside vehicles is making them smoother and safer for drivers through better in-vehicle virtual assistants and cabin monitors.
Beyond the automakers, Tier 1 automotive suppliers use CES to showcase cutting-edge technologies. Expect to see new offerings from companies such as Qualcomm, Mobileye, Bosch, Magna and others.
I expect that this year, on the back of their announcement with Hyundai, the Amazon Automotive booth will be quite busy.
The North Hall hosts a number of smaller vendors in the Vehicle Tech & Advanced Mobility theme and is worth checking out.
But, by no means are the automotive and mobility innovations limited to just these locations. For example, last year, we got a glimpse of the brand-new Honda-Sony JV vehicle named the Afeela in the Central Hall.
In recent years, CES has become much more focused on startups. I believe that the earlier-stage companies in the smaller booths at the Venetian Expo make up the best part of the show. The Venetian Expo hosts a number of interesting sections, including the “Innovations Showcase” and “Country Pavilions.”
Finally, I will be up on stage twice on Monday this week, both at the Connected2Car Conference. I will kick off the conference with a keynote on the state of vehicle electrification, and then I’ll moderate a panel on the evolution of the dealership sales channel, with panelists Mike Stanton (NADA), Jeremy Beaver (DGDG), Beth Hill (Ford Direct) and Jessica Stafford (Cox Automotive).
CES is the premier conference for new technologies and has become a major conference for breaking news in the automotive and mobility industries.