While Tesla appears to have captured the public's imagination with its electric cars and "Gigafactories", a new player in the market recently released its first car - and it appears to have all the hallmarks of a genuine future contender.
Car companies' claims about their products are many, varied and usually exaggerated - but the depth of know-how and talent behind Lucid, North America's newest car company, is worth noting for brand cred alone.
Billion-dollar sums of Saudi money are being tipped into Lucid, where the vice-president of design, Derek Jenkins, was the former director of design for Mazda North America, and the chief executive, Peter Rawlinson, was chief engineer at Lotus and was at Tesla during the development phase of the Tesla S. The head of interior design, Joan Jung, had the same role at Ford before joining Lucid.
So there's a deep pool of money and experienced talent behind this car and driving the company along, metaphorically speaking. These are people who don't attach themselves to failures.
What's even more convincing is that Lucid's Silicon Valley technology arm is a company called Atieva, which supplies the battery packs for the entire 24-car Formula E electric car racing field.
The Lucid Air, the company's first EV, is a high-end product - but it's worth remembering that the top end is invariably a stepping stone to more affordable vehicles for the general public. More often than not, EV tech is scalable.
And the Air is a stunning first car. It's huge inside, gorgeous to look at (with, to these eyes, strong Peugeot/Renault design cues), all-wheel drive and a drag co-efficient of 0.21. The high-intensity LED headlights are a work of art, with the narrowest aperture of any vehicle on the market, including the Bugatti Chiron.
Specify the so-called 113kWh "Dream Edition" and the range of the car between charges is claimed at 827 kilometres, with a 20-minute charge providing 480 kilometres.
It's already set up for level 4/5 autonomous driving, and the company says that as countries approve these levels, it will program them free of charge.
But here's the rub: the Dream Edition sells in the US for $US169,000, or around $235,000 here at home.
However, within two years the company will be marketing an entry-level version simply known as the Air, which will sell for around $A110,000.
What we couldn't find among the specifications was the weight, which is a telling omission.
Autonomy's need for observation
Prosecutors in the US are claiming that the driver in the Uber autonomous car which struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona in 2018 had been watching The Voice on her mobile phone when the incident occurred.
In a landmark case which is certain to have ramifications for future autonomous vehicle regulation, 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg was crossing the street with her bicycle - jaywalking - on March 18, 2018, when she was struck.
A investigation by the US safety body, the National Transportation Safety Board, found that the Volvo XC90's sensors could not properly detect whether Ms Herzberg was a pedestrian, a vehicle, or a bicycle, and failed to correctly predict her path.
The system detected the woman 5.6 seconds before impact - which, if the driver had been attentive, should have been sufficient time to stop the car.
In its official report, the board determined "the immediate cause of the collision was the failure of the . . . operator to closely monitor the road and the operation of the automated driving system because the operator was visually distracted".
As a result, the board decreed that any current or future test of a vehicle with an autonomous driving system on public roads was required to have a full safety plan.
In March this year, the safety board also published its final report into the fatal crash in which a Tesla Model X with its autopilot engaged hit a crash barrier in Mountain View, California, a year before.
It found that "a review of cell phone records and data retrieved from [the driver's] Apple iPhone 8 Plus showed a game application was active and was the frontmost open application on his phone during the crash trip".
It also revealed the driver's hands were not on the steering wheel.
Zed's not dead
Just when we thought Nissan had completely lost its design "chops", the company has looked to the past and produced a prototype sports car which revives the glory days of yesteryear.
The Z Proto signals the company's intent to launch a new generation of the legendary Z sports car and harks back to the original 240Z, which launched the car and the brand to popularity back in the '70s.
The shape of the bonnet and the canted, teardrop-shaped LED headlights are both unmistakable reminders of the original Z .
Alfonso Albaisa, head of design at Nissan, described the car as "travelling between decades".
The engine in the Proto Z is a twin-turbo V6, and the company is adamant that the car will be sold with a manual gearbox.
The 370Z successor won't be sold in the UK or Europe because of their ever-tightening emission laws, which means that Australia, which has lagged behind much of the developed world in this regard, might just get a look in.
Jump early on a GR discount
The production car providing the basis for the Australian rally title-winning Yaris all-wheel drive turbo coupe will go on sale in November, with a first-come, first-served driveaway price of $39,990.
The Yaris GR price will be limited to the first 1000 vehicles sold and will then jump to $49,500.
It's the highest-performance version of the Yaris compact car with 200kW, competing head-to-head with the Golf Type R, Renault Megane RS and Honda Civic type R, all of which have bigger price tags.
It is only sold in red, black or white, with a carbon-fibre polymer for the roof and aluminium for the bonnet, doors and tailgate.
Eight-speed off the leash
Until now, one of the few things restraining demand for Hyundai's cracker little hatchback, the i30N, has been it is only sold in three-pedal form.
But from next year, sales will come off the leash when an eight speed dual clutch semi-auto gearbox arrives.
It will have some other modest changes, but this is the biggest one, which will broaden the car's appeal in urban markets like Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.