The COVID-19 pandemic put the auto industry on its own lockdown in 2020. But the technological upheavals haven’t slowed a bit.
The march toward electric propulsion, for example, continued unabated. Nine of our 10 Top Tech Cars this year are electrically powered, either in EV or gas-electric hybrid form. A few critical model introductions were delayed by the virus, including the debut of one of our boldface honorees: the long-awaited 2021 Lucid Air electric sedan. It’s expected to hit the market in a few months. But the constellation of 2021’s electric stars covers many categories and budgets, from the ultra-affordable, yet tech-stuffed Hyundai Elantra Hybrid to the US $2.4 million Rimac C Two hypercar.
The past year brought a reality check for that other relentlessly hyped tech, the self-driving car. In its fully realized form, it will take quite a few years to reach showrooms. Yet behind the smoke and mirrors there’s real substance. Several of this year’s honorees show the remarkable new capabilities of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), which are providing the stepping-stones toward full autonomy. Someday.
About the Author
Lawrence Ulrich, an award-winning automobile journalist, regularly writes about cars for many magazines, including IEEE Spectrum.