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Autopia 2099

A VW Bus at the Autopia 2099

Autopia 2099 showcases what the future might have in store.

The smorgasbord of automotive innovation and quirkiness you may leave excited, amused, amazed, intrigued, annoyed, depressed, or even repulsed. But definitely not bored.

By Zoran Segina

Mon, Dec 20, 2021 07:46 PM PST

The inaugural Autopia 2099 which took place right after the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show exuded a certain Kentia Hall vibe for the alternative propulsion crowd, or what organizers dubbed electric car appreciators. Kentia Hall sits in the bowels of the Los Angeles Convention Center - a non-conformist space where, for years, everyday’s American ingenuity encountered new technologies head on. Unlike in the shiny corporate exhibits of the South Hall a floor above, nobody wore a suit in Kentia Hall. Plus, one could buy stuff from vendors. Kentia Hall was quirky, bold, and - most importantly – merchandise was readily available.

a tent perched up on the back of a Rivian pickup.
Riveting camping on the bed of a Rivian.

Autopia 2099 organizers must have had this concept in mind when they invited owners of everything on two, three, four or more wheels to bring their wares as long as these were (currently) not powered by internal combustion engines. And the creations that rolled in to the – aptly selected – Optimist Studios did not disappoint. Converted BMW coupe shell. Fully electric Ford Mustang on a Bullitt chassis looking a helluva lot better than its works namesake. To paraphrase Juliet Capulet: a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but a snub-nosed electric named Mustang stinks. A once luxurious Jaguar Mark V with stripped interior down to a single seat (my friend Jim finds it sacrilegious ).  An old VW van.  A motorcycle using Tesla charging system.

the back of a black BMW, retrofitted for electric propulsion at Autopia 2099.
a classic hotrod with the trunk open, exposing the retrofitted  electric engine

Not everything was a home garage conversion. Nissan accepted a sponsorship of the event and displayed the Ariya, a new electric crossover-ute. Rivian set up a camping site on the bed of its RT 1. There were Porsches, an Acura NSX, a rally-configured Volkswagen ID 4 with a layer of dust included, a Tesla Model 3 GTR, and even a Formula E race car. Autopia 2099 resembled much more closely what the world may look like when cars no longer have exhaust pipes. In our smokeless not-so-distant future, sans government subsidies, a forty grand or more for a base model electric car from a major manufacturer will remain too steep for many. Not to mention limited refueling infrastructure. After more than a decade in existence the electric cars still need to get to reach a milestone so common in the hydrocarbon universe - every refueling point in the United States can handle every vehicle on the road whatever the make and model.

two cars at the Autopia2099 event
the outside parking with cars on display at the Autopia2099 event

After perambulating through the smorgasbord of automotive innovation and quirkiness you may leave excited, amused, amazed, intrigued, annoyed, depressed, or even repulsed. 

But definitely not bored… And in this industry, that’s half the success.

a classic mustang, retrofitted with an electric engine.
A classic, updated for the new world.



About The Author

Zoran Segina's profile picture

Zoran Segina

Zoran Segina grew up in Eastern Europe, where he owned several Zastava 750s (a variation of the Fiat 600) and participated in local rallies. After a lengthy diet of Yugoslav-manufactured cars, he came to the Mecca of automotive culture – wherein he promptly lost his heart to a tall girl and a short Dart Swinger. He currently commutes around LA in a BMW 633Csi, having made a switch from a Volvo 240 DL with a quarter million miles on the odometer.

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