- more than 2200 exhibitors will be at ces this year from january 5 to 7—at least, that was the number as of december 31—but overall, the show is getting way scaled down, with many major companies deciding that an in-person show is not the right move to start off 2022.
- in the automotive space, general motors, bmw, and mercedes all canceled their physical presence, but smaller automotive and related companies including fisker, brightdrop, and blink charging still plan to have people in vegas for the show.
- two exciting new electric vehicles—the chevrolet silverado ev and the mercedes-benz vision eqxx concept—will be unveiled through online events during ces.
the rapid increase in the number of positive covid cases spreading across the u.s. changed the way many people celebrated the holidays, and the start of a new year isn't stopping the spread just yet. ces, the massive electronics and tech trade show that has become an important place for the automotive industry to make announcements about autonomous and electric vehicles, had a busy in-person schedule—until a few weeks ago. today, the balance has shifted to a more blended in-person/virtual affair, with some companies pulling out of an in-person ces appearance altogether.
over the holidays, ces organizers also decided to shorten the event by a day, as "an additional safety measure to the current health protocols that have been put in place for ces" but the in-person portions of the show were not canceled altogether as they were in 2021.
gm goes virtual
non-automotive companies including twitter, t-mobile, and amazon all decided against keeping their in-person appearances on the schedule recently. one of the biggest automotive names to join them was general motors, which means ceo mary barra's keynote address and press event revealing an important new electric vehicle will now be done online.
"we have decided to move to an all-digital approach with our activation at ces 2022 in january," a gm spokesperson told car and driver. "ces is an important technology platform, and we are continuing with our plans on january 5 to share our significant company news including the reveal of the chevrolet silverado ev." gm's new tech startup brightdrop will still send some people to las vegas, and it plans to offer executive interviews and to invite people to its booth to see the ev600 electric commercial vehicle and the ep1 electric pallet in person. brightdrop will also make an announcement tuesday, via a virtual press call.
bmw canceled its in-person ces appearances this year, announcing that due to the pandemic all of the automaker's planned media activities for ces will be shifted to a fully digital program livestreamed from germany this year. mercedes benz has made a similar decision, telling cnet that "the health and safety of our customers, partners, employees, and guests are our highest priority. in view of the current situation in connection with the covid-19 virus, we've therefore decided to cancel mercedes-benz ag's participation in ces 2022, after intensive consultations." the company still plans a digital unveiling of the vision eqxx on monday, january 3, at noon et.
fisker to appear with 4d radar; other suppliers go virtual
fisker will still have a small onsite presence, with ceo henrik fisker conducting both virtual and in-person interviews as his company promotes the advanced adas system in the upcoming fisker ocean, the company's first all-electric suv. the ocean will use what the company said is the first 4d radar system that will ever be offered in a passenger/consumer vehicle, although aptiv uses a 4d radar system in its test vehicles.
plenty of suppliers and other automotive companies have canceled their in-person ces appearance this year as well. the zf group will present its next generation mobility now news virtually, and valeo has decided to adjust its participation at ces to a "reduced on-site presence," with executives now offering interviews about the company's autonomous driving and adas advancements announcements from paris. electric vehicle charging station company blink charging is launching seven new products in-person at ces and is augmenting the show event with an online one.
waymo also made what it called a "difficult decision" not to participate in ces 2022 on the ground but will still offer updates to its self-driving technology and gender equality in the industry during ces panel sessions.
the information in this article was accurate as of sunday morning. with the holiday and the rapidly changing covid reality on the ground, things may have changed by the time you read this.