2022 What Car? Innovation Award contenders revealed

Contenders for this year's Innovation Award range from charging solutions for electric cars to new systems designed to make driving safer...

What Car? Ceremony

The technologies and advances that are in contention to win the 2022 What Car? Innovation Award, held in association with Thatcham Research, have been revealed. 

The winner of the Innovation award will be named on 20 January as part of our annual Car of the Year Awards event. The innovations in contention range from new charging solutions for electric cars to infotainment technologies, and even systems designed to make driving easier and safer in the years ahead.

Announcing the contenders alongside What Car?, Thatcham Research Chief Executive Jonathan Hewett said: "The last two years have been extremely challenging for all industry sectors – including automotive and tech. With that in mind, it’s impressive that our 2022 nominees have not only managed to forge ahead with their innovations and break new ground, but have done so safely and responsibly."

What Car? Innovation Award 2022: The contenders

BMW iX head-up display and augmented reality sat-nav

The all-new BMW iX electric SUV is intended to act as a flagship for its maker, and that means it has the very latest technologies on board, including the use of augmented reality for its sat-nav. This presents the driver with a real-time image of what's in front of them on the car's infotainment screen, overlaid with arrows and instructions from the sat-nav system. The result is a sure-fire way to make sure you never miss your turning again. In addition, the iX's head-up display can put the most crucial information, including the sat-nav map, right in front of your eyes by projecting it on to the windscreen.

Ford / Vivacity Roadsafe project

Roadsafe is a joint project between Ford and a UK-funded consortium which includes AI sensor specialists Vivacity, and involves collecting and analysing driving data from connected vehicles, roadside sensors, news reports and local authorities. This enables drivers to plan safer journeys, with their car able to predict hazards and traffic hotspots, and even highlight details such as unrepaired potholes and badly placed signs.

Gridserve Electric Forecourt

The Electric Forecourt in Essex is the first service station of its kind, and one that puts electric car drivers first. With rows of charging stations equipped with chargers able to deliver up to 350kW, there's no danger of not being able to find somewhere to charge up. And while your car does that, you can enjoy the facilities on offer, including shops, meeting rooms and even gym equipment.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 2021 front

Hyundai Ioniq 5 fast-charging capability

We've been deeply impressed with the new Hyundai Ioniq 5 electric car, and especially with its 800-volt battery system, which means it can charge at a rate of up to 220kW, far outstripping the speed of rivals. That means you can get a 10-80% charge in just 18 minutes (if you can find a charging point capable of supplying enough power). Even better, every Ioniq 5 has that ultra-fast charging capability, which until recently was the reserve of far pricier models.

Hyundai Blindspot View Monitor

Another innovation from Hyundai, and one which is also present on the Ioniq 5 as well as other models from the brand, is Blindspot View Monitor. The system uses small cameras mounted underneath the wing mirrors to give you an expanded view around the car. They supplement the car's own mirrors rather than replacing them, and can give you a better idea of any hazards around you, for example when you're changing lane on a motorway, or opening your door into the path of a cyclist or pedestrian in town.

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Read more: 2022 What Car? Car of the Year Awards contenders revealed >>