The car has improved significantly in 2022. Electric cars have traveled unprecedented miles on a single charge. Sports car performance has reached a new peak. Electric pickups have been sought and conquered.
Here are five cars that shook up the industry and changed the way Americans drive.
Ford Motor Co. It took America’s best-selling pickup truck for 40 years and replaced the gas engine with an electric motor and battery. The results? Pioneer F-150 Lightning. The truck, which is nearly identical to its F-150 sibling, was an immediate success, and the Dearborn automaker says it’s on track to sell 15,000 units in 2022.
“Ford understands the truck customer and has applied that experience to the F-150 Lightning,” AutoPacific president Ed Kim told ABC News. “It’s a really good truck. You’re driving something the size of a small house, but it’s very fast.”
The F-150 Lightning delivers what’s important to truck owners: power, performance, towing capacity and road manners. Supply chain constraints and rising material costs forced Ford to raise the price of the truck dramatically.
“This is Tesla’s most important EV launch since the Model 3,” Tyson Jominy, JD Power’s vice president of data and analytics, told ABC News. “This has changed the perception of EVs and is great for the industry.”
GMC’s Hummer EV pickup truck has proven that it, too, can withstand the grueling demands of truck traditionalists. 9,000-lb. the behemoth can master cobblestones and nimbly navigate narrow, dirt roads with excellent rear steering while accelerating from 0 to 100 mph in 3.0 seconds. Did we mention horsepower?
“You buy this car for a lot of reasons. One of them is 1,000 horsepower,” Hummer EV chief engineer Al Oppenheiser told ABC News.
Car and Driver executive editor KC Colwell said that the R1T electric pickup truck from startup automaker Rivian caught his eye this year. Faced with a production recall, the young company also introduced the R1S pickup EV this year.
“I was really impressed with the R1T,” Colwell told ABC News. “Rivian has produced a really good EV in pickup form. The interior materials are also of high quality.”
The 69-year-old Corvette will soon embrace electrification. However, before that happens, enthusiasts can get a taste of the recently launched Z06. The magnificent sports car thrills, delights, thrills and intoxicates drivers and passengers with its all-new naturally aspirated flat-plane crankshaft V8 engine, a mighty engineering wizardry.
“This car is more powerful than the last generation,” Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter told ABC News. “It was a bit of a gut check when we started the project. We weren’t sure if we could match the output of the supercharged small block. [engine]. We pushed as much as we could.”
Car and Driver included the Z06 in its “10 Best Cars of 2023” list, noting that the “track-focused monster” has “taken the exotic car world by storm.” Colwell says Chevy has reached the “pinnacle Corvette” with this model.
“It was General Motors’ desire to make it very attractive — even more so than the base Stingray,” he said. “I’m amazed that the Corvette team was able to convince GM executives to design an all-new engine for this Corvette.”
Jack Holmes, host of the popular SavageGeese YouTube car channel, bought a Z06 when he learned it would be one of the last naturally aspirated, high-revving V8s on the market.
“It’s a swan song for the engineers … the Z06 is seen as their life’s work,” he told ABC News. “No car matches it for value and performance.”
In just 11 years, British marque McLaren has wowed the motoring community with its stunning, lightweight supercars. One of the company’s most popular vehicles, the P1 was a limited-edition hybrid that combined a 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8 with a 132kW electric motor (and it grossed over $1 million during production). Artura can be charged to 80% charge in just 2.5 hours with a standard EVSE cable. According to McLaren, the batteries can also collect power from the combustion engine while driving.
Now McLaren is returning to electrification in the Artura, the company’s first series production plug-in hybrid. At 3,303 pounds, the Artura is the lightest and most fuel-efficient McLaren in its class thanks to its new powertrain and MCLA platform. A twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 combined with an electric motor and an energy-dense battery pack produce a combined 671 horsepower and 531 pound-feet of torque.
“The Artura is more accessible than the P1,” Nicholas Brown, McLaren’s president of the Americas, told ABC News. “It’s a technological breakthrough – our moonshot.”
With McLaren’s signature dihedral doors and dramatic air vents, the sports car gets an estimated 11-19 miles of electric range and gives customers “the right mix of technology,” according to Jamie Corstorfi, McLaren’s director of product strategy.
“Customers want the performance of a combustion engine, but they also want the flexibility of a hybrid powertrain,” he told ABC News. “The compact engine has better throttle response and the flexibility of e-mode than our non-hybrid vehicles. We’re already seeing customers wanting quieter driving.”
Holmes said the hybrid powertrain and modern technology still offer a lively and engaging experience for the driver.
“You can feel the steering. There’s real feedback from the brakes,” he said. “McLaren is really trying to protect the core principles of driver feedback.”
Korean automaker Kia made a big splash this year with its EV6 electric crossover. Its futuristic looks and minimalist interior have won over fickle consumers, though its main selling point may be its fast charging times. The EV6’s 800-volt multi-charge architecture allows the battery to go from 10% to 80% in less than 18 minutes (up to 217 miles of range) on a 350kW charger (cold weather can affect charging speed).
Kia also said it is partnering with Electrify America to charge EV6 buyers with 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of free electricity at any Electrify America station in the United States. supports the same architecture.
“Long charging times are a burden for many EV owners,” Steve Kosowski, Kia’s manager of long-term planning, told ABC News. “The EV6 marks a milestone for Kia, both in terms of engineering and aesthetics.”
Kia, like the Hyundai and Genesis brands, is owned by the Hyundai Motor Group. The EV6, Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Genesis GV60 all share the same platforms under their skins, making them some of the best EVs for range-conscious consumers.
“These vehicles offer much faster charging and make EVs more consumer-friendly,” said Kim, who has driven all three and can attest to their fast charging times. “They show how platform sharing is done.”
Auto insiders have been waiting patiently for a “Tesla killer,” and Lucid Motors, an EV startup that assembles its cars in Arizona, could be the company to take on the industry leader. The company’s first model, the sleek Lucid Air, has an EPA-estimated range of 520 miles, makes 933 horsepower and, depending on trim, accelerates from 0-100 mph in less than 2 seconds. It received the 2022 MotorTrend Car of the Year award for its innovation and excellence.
“Lucid squeezes a remarkable number of miles per kilowatt-hour in this S-Class competitive luxury sedan, thanks in part to aerodynamic tricks from Formula 1 racing, contributing to a drag coefficient of just 0.200,” MotorTrend editors said. Lucid Air.
Lucid’s CEO, Peter Rawlinson, is Tesla’s former vice president of automotive engineering and former chief engineer of the Model S, the groundbreaking EV when it launched in 2012. Rawlinson and his team are trying to revolutionize the charging experience. The Lucid Air Dream Edition and Air Grand Touring versions feature a 900V+ electrical architecture, making them the fastest charging vehicles on the market.
“Official inconvenience and charging times are the main reasons people don’t want to go electric,” says AutoPacific’s Kim.
The only downside to buying the Lucid Air: the price. Few Americans can afford a $87,400-$249,000 electric car. wow