IEEE Spectrum Lists 2017 Top Ten Tech Cars: Excludes Tesla For The Likes Of Chevy Bolt, Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, Hyundai IONIQ



The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is chock full of tech.

IEEE Spectrum chose its 2017 Top Ten Tech Cars. The posting goes into a full explanation regarding the fact that though autonomous tech is the next big thing,

“there’s not a fully autonomous car available in any showroom in the world … It’s wishful thinking.

Even Tesla’s vaunted (and misleadingly named) Autopilot doesn’t come close to it. One unfortunate Tesla driver learned that lesson the hard way, milliseconds before perishing when his Autopilot failed to detect and brake for a semi truck directly in his path.”

The Hyundai IONIQ Electric’s tech makes it highly efficient.

It goes on to praise Ford and Waymo for “racking up countless autonomous kilometers in test vehicles.” 

Hmm … well anyhow, following the seemingly unrelated self-driving talk and Tesla bashing, the publication decides that it will leave that tech feature out, and lists its top tech cars for the model year.

Categories that factor in, are:

“breakthroughs in performance, materials, electric power trains, and energy efficiency—and a couple of advances in semi-autonomous systems as well.”

The list includes:

  • Chevrolet Bolt
  • Ford Focus RS
  • Alfa Romeo Guilia
  • Morgan EV3
  • Cadillac CT6
  • Hyundai IONIQ
  • Porsche Panamera
  • Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
  • Infiniti QX5
  • Mercedes-Benz AMG E63S

The original publication goes on to provide an in-depth, test-drive supported review of each vehicle. We will just recap notable takeaways below, along what “tech” features IEEE commends.

Chevy Bolt EV cutaway

Chevrolet Bolt

It’s the world’s first affordable, long-range electric vehicle, and it’s fast. GM was able to get the latest lithium-ion battery tech from LG Chem, at a very reasonable price. It utilizes advanced liquid cooling, like that found in the Volt, instead of traditional air cooling. “Econobox” styling is the biggest drawback, but it comes with the price. Reliable range prediction and superb regen braking are also mentioned.

Waymo’s self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

The world’s first hybrid minivan (and it’s a plug-in), brings excellent performance and range. The Pacifica employs dual electric motors with an electronic clutch, and planetary gearset, to boost power and efficiency. The system works seamlessly, much like a CVT without lag. IEEE extends kudos to Chrysler for the automated parking tech, 10-inch touch screen, family theater mode, built-in games, and active safety tech.

Autonomous Hyundai IONIQ concept

Hyundai IONIQ

IEEE calls the IONIQ electric “an EV that wastes no watts.” According to the review, you won’t find another car today that gets more range per kilowatt hour (124 miles for the cost of 1.5 gallons of gas). This is possible, due in part to a 20 percent weight reduction from recycled interior plastics, volcanic stone and powdered wood. Let’s not forget Hyundai’s innovative subscription plan, which offers “unlimited mileage, charging costs, scheduled maintenance, and replacement of worn-out items into a single monthly payment.”

Morgan UK 1909 Edition EV3

Morgan EV3

Spectrum jokes:

“Like a Trike: The Morgan EV3 is the environmentally safe therapy for midlife crises … Dropping an electric power train into a Morgan is like putting a nuclear reactor in a clipper ship. This romantic, inimitable three-wheeler still employs the ash-wood frame and hand-beaten sheet metal that the originals did, in 1909.

It employs a rear-mounted liquid-cooled electric motor providing power to the single rear wheel. While it’s not fast by the math, it’s size and design will make you feel otherwise. It is also the first Morgan that utilizes carbon composite panels to reduce weight.

The Cadillac CT6 PHV arrived on dealer lots in March (like this example at Suburban Cadillac of Costa Mesa)

As noted above, the Cadillac CT6 and the Porsche Panamera also made the list; each of which come in PHEV configurations. While the publication doesn’t detail the EV models, let’s take a look at what IEEE makes of these vehicles.

The CT6 is referred to as a “lightweight land yacht,” due to being two-thirds aluminum, which makes it a perfect candidate for electrification. It uses 11 different weight reducing materials, and 13 aluminum castings, instead of 35 stamped parts.

IEEE touts the Panamera’s diesel configuration as the best in the lineup, but the Porsche’s spot on the list really comes down to its wealth of tech. Notable mentions are electronic shocks, torque vectoring, available chambered air suspension, and the electronically controlled steering rack. Other new features include:

“InnoDrive, which analyzes GPS data from up to 3 km away to autonomously steer, shift, and control the Porsche’s speed. That radar- and camera-based system also reads road signs to automatically keep the Panamera at the speed limit. And a new thermal-imaging night vision system, in tandem with LED Matrix headlamps, will alert drivers to animals or pedestrians in your path, far beyond high-beam range.”

IEEE Spectrum is a publication, which is edited by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Its detailed description is as follows:

“IEEE Spectrum is the flagship magazine and website of the IEEE, the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and the applied sciences. Our charter is to keep over 400,000 members informed about major trends and developments in technology, engineering, and science. Our blogs, podcasts, news and features stories, videos and interactive infographics engage our visitors with clear explanations about emerging concepts and developments with details they can’t get elsewhere.”

Source: IEEE Spectrum

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8 Comments on "IEEE Spectrum Lists 2017 Top Ten Tech Cars: Excludes Tesla For The Likes Of Chevy Bolt, Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, Hyundai IONIQ"

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I find it strange that the title of this article specifically points out that IEEE “excludes Tesla.” It also excluded the Volt and the i3.

But Tesla is the Elephant in the room.

I suspect this list is for new models released this year. Tesla has not released anything new this year. Don’t fret. Tesla will get all the awards next year, or do you expect Tesla to top the list every year no matter what?

Tesla continously introduces improvements, i.e. January this year 100D with 335 miles EPA rated. Being the tech leader yes I would assume them to be on every list every year.

In my mind “who can cram a bit more battery into an existing space” is not in the top 10 innovations among most efficient production electric vehicle, first hybrid minivan (which is also a plug-in), etc.

Tesla’s innovation would have been the prior years when they first launched a large pack, dual motor vehicle.
This year’s is just a small % increase over prior (P95D->P100D).
The items on this list are all large leaps forward, or items that didn’t exist before, not just being 5% better than last year.

The Hundai Ionic is the overall winner in my opinion especially because of it’s use in recycled materials. Tesla is no doubt the best at styling and performance.

That and best in class energy efficiency, getting 124 EPA range with less than 28 kWh puts it at almost 5 miles per kWh rated, maybe more assuming not all 28kWh are actually available for that.

But ignoring that, comparing Tesla model S 100D is at 3.35 miles per kWh, the performance SUV X P100D is at 2.8 milels per kWh, our 2015 VW e-Golf is rated at 3.5 miles per kWh, which in reality we have seen less on highway speeds and more, up to 5 miles per kWh, in stop and go traffic commuting home.

…and no doubt worst in price.