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Auto Show:  2011 Consumer Electronics Show

Preview - 2011 Consumer Electronics Show

author photo by Autotrader January 2011
January 4, 2011

Welcome to gadget-freak heaven. This is the Consumer Electronics Show that re-energizes Las Vegas after the city’s New Year excesses. Among this year’s 3D television sets, iPad-rivaling tablets and even smarter smartphones are some car-related technologies that will eventually be inhabiting our dashboards. But the biggest gadgets will need a whole garage to themselves.

Instead of using a conventional car show to launch its newest vehicle, Ford is unveiling the unconventional Focus EV at CES 2011. Based on the new-generation 2012 Focus compact car, this battery-powered model has a claimed range of 100 miles, providing apples-to-apples competition for the 2011 Nissan Leaf.

If Audi’s Twitter activity is anything to go by, it looks like CES will play host to the company’s E-tron Spyder, an open-top version of its futuristic green sports car concept. It will join the Ford Focus EV in the show’s Electric Vehicle Tech Zone and very possibly General Motors’ ENV (electric networked vehicle), which is a kind of covered-in Segway. GM said the ENV “could benefit from real-time rerouting to avoid congestion, while advanced sensing technology could allow autonomous operation.”

Hyundai is planning something big this year and it could be along the lines of General Motors’ OnStar navigation/communications system. And as for OnStar, it looks like it will be moving over to the quicker 4G cellular network.

Many of the 75 million registered users of Pandora, the personalized music website, may be pleased to learn that it will be part of Toyota’s new Entune multimedia system. Vehicles with this system are expected to debut later this year. Entune is much like Ford’s Sync infotainment system and other applications will be things like the Bing search engine and

This next item isn’t strictly automotive, but it might affect how we pay for our gas in the future: the Card 2.0 from Dynamics Inc. It’s a programmable credit card that can be used for multiple accounts – the better to buy some extras for your car. will be reporting direct from CES 2011, so stay tuned.

author photoCOLIN RYAN has driven hundreds of cars thousands of miles while writing for BBC Top Gear magazine, Popular Mechanics, the Los Angeles Times, European Car, Import Tuner and many other publications, websites, TV shows, etc.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Preview - 2011 Consumer Electronics Show - Autotrader