Inside the Seattle Auto Show, with more electric vehicles and a Hummer EV that’s ‘just crazy’ – GeekWire

Showroom at the Seattle International Auto Show at the Lumen Field Events Center on Thursday. (GeekWire Photo/Kurt Schlosser)

You know the move towards car electrification is getting serious when they roll out the electric Hummer.

GMC’s monster Hummer EV pickup is among the notable vehicles on display this weekend as the Seattle International Auto Show rolls back to the Lumen Field Events Center.

With more than 300 cars, trucks, SUVs, crossovers, hybrids and more, electric vehicles are once again the talk of the town thanks to the fact that mainstream automakers are getting more invested in the action.

“These are game changers. They’re the vehicles that people want to drive,” said show spokesperson Tom Voelk, a New York Times automotive journalist and host of YouTube channel Driven. “They don’t look like science fiction projects,” he added he pointed out Chevrolet’s new Blazer and Equinox electric cars.

Is it electric? Yes. The new Hummer EV pickup. (GeekWire Photo/Kurt Schlosser)
The electric Chevy Blazer, left, and the Equinox. (GeekWire Photo/Kurt Schlosser)

Across the expansive Events Center, Voelk GeekWire showed off numerous EVs from the likes of Ford, Volkswagen, Audi, Kia, Nissan, BMW, Hyundai and more that are sure to be head-turners.

“Cars aren’t just transportation. They’re pop culture, they’re image, they’re status, they’re political symbols, they’re all kinds of things. Electric vehicles started as these green images and quickly became geeky. But now we have very normal vehicles.”

Ford certainly learned that lesson with the F-150 Lightning pickup – an electrified version of the best-selling vehicle in the US. The truck was shown at the fair last year and is available for test drives this year. I couldn’t resist getting behind the wheel.

“Is it even on?” was the first thing out of my mouth when I started the truck – which is something I’ve never said in any truck I’ve ever driven. And the Lightning is unlike any truck I’ve ever driven.

In a quick cruise through Pioneer Square and SoDo, the Lightning impressed me with how quickly it accelerated—with virtually no noise. This is not a new revelation for electric vehicle drivers, but behind the wheel of a large pickup truck it felt like some kind of magic.

“Electrification actually makes the F-150 better,” Voelk said. And sales can confirm that. Ford announced last month that it tripled sales of electric cars in the US in September, led by the Lightning.

Ford’s electric F-150 Lightning is available for test drives this year. (GeekWire Photo/Kurt Schlosser)
This isn’t the old farm pickup – inside the F-150 Lightning. (GeekWire Photo/Kurt Schlosser)

The best way to make it feel special was to follow that test drive with a drive in Ford’s beefy (gas-powered) Bronco Raptor. With suspension and 37-inch tires designed for much tougher terrain, the loop around Lumen Field was a tease. While the F-150 felt comfortable on city streets, I would have preferred to get the Bronco dirty.

Talking about desirable electric trucks shows how far electric cars have come, especially in a city where every other vehicle on the road these days seems to be a Tesla. Voelk called the Hummer EV a smart move by General Motors, to show that electric vehicles are not just about the environment and that zero-emission vehicles can still have incredible capabilities.

“The Hummer was designed to make sure truckers are comfortable with electrification,” he said. “I’ve driven the Hummer off-road, and it’s amazing. It’s just crazy what it does. It’ll crawl — it’ll literally move sideways. It’ll do 0 to 60 in three seconds.”

For sportier car fans, the show once again features an “Electric Highway” display sponsored by Seattle City Light and Tacoma Public Utilities to compare electric cars from Chevrolet, Ford, Lexus, Polestar, Porsche, Volvo and Volkswagen. The Audi eTron SUV, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Jaguar I Pace, Volkswagen ID.4 and Polestar are all available for test drives.

BMW i4. (GeekWire Photo/Kurt Schlosser)
Rear view of the Volkswagen ID.4. (GeekWire Photo/Kurt Schlosser)

The ID.4, with its glowing red VW badge at the rear and honeycomb headlight at the front, is particularly eye-catching for this one-off Beetle and GTI driver. The cars shown are built in a new manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Sustainability gets an extra boost inside the Kia Niro, where Voelk said the seats are partially made from eucalyptus trees, the carpet is recycled bottles and the headliner is made from recycled wallpaper.

Visitors to the show who are attracted to different electric cars are sure to get caught up in the conversation around range and charging infrastructure. But Voelk thinks the focus is misguided given how many people use their vehicles primarily for 30-40 miles of daily driving, and not long trips.

“Electric cars are best when you charge where you sleep,” he said. “But on a longer trip, yeah, it’s going to take a little longer. You just have to plan a little differently. It’s amazing how fast your car charges when you just go and get a cup of coffee. It’s almost ready when you walk in at Starbucks and get your Frappuccino.”

Keep scrolling for more photos from the Seattle International Auto Show, which continues through Sunday. Check here for opening times and ticket information.

Hyundai IONIQ 5 EV crossover. (GeekWire Photo/Kurt Schlosser)
The charging port on a Jeep Wrangler 4xe hybrid vehicle. (GeekWire Photo/Kurt Schlosser)
Ford Bronco Raptor. (GeekWire Photo/Kurt Schlosser)
Kia EV6. (GeekWire Photo/Kurt Schlosser)
The nose of a Ford Mustang Mach 1 fastback coupe. (GeekWire Photo/Kurt Schlosser)
Porsche Taycan. (GeekWire Photo/Kurt Schlosser)
Parting shot — the upper level of the car show features a variety of vintage and exotic models. (GeekWire Photo/Kurt Schlosser)

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