Futuristic electric cars steer tech expo

Electric cars powered by the sun, ones that glow in the dark, and others that come with 3D surround-sound systems have been unveiled at the world's largest technology show as automotive innovations steal the spotlight from traditional gadgets.

Concept cars revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week also included an electric ute with three rows of seats and a futuristic saloon car with a rectangular steering wheel.

The news came after the Consumer Technology Association revealed CES had become one of the world's largest auto shows this year, hosting almost 300 automotive and mobility companies and boosting space dedicated to the trend by 25 per cent.

One of the most show-stopping vehicle launches at CES was the Ram 1500 Revolution, a prototype electric ute Stellantis promises to release next year.

Unlike other utes, it features three rows of seats, "level three" self-driving features, and the ability to add 160 kilometres of range in a 10-minute charge.

Ram brand chief executive Mike Koval said the vehicle's launch would be followed by "a steady drumbeat of announcements and initiatives as we embark on our electrified journey".

Another scene-stealing vehicle at CES came from Dutch firm Lightyear, which showed off its second solar-powered vehicle with the promise it would sell for less than 40,000 euros ($A62,200) after entering production in 2025.

Like its predecessor, the Lightyear 2 will feature solar panels built into its bonnet and roof to top up its battery. Lightyear chief executive Lex Hoefsloot said the car would produce half the lifetime carbon emissions of a traditional electric vehicle.

"By harnessing the power of the sun, Lightyear 2 elevates the electric driving experience and reduces reliance on strained electricity grids," he said.

Volkswagen's CES launch used bright colours to grab attention, with its ID.7 electric sedan glowing with "electroluminescence".

The vehicle's exterior was covered with 40 layers of paint and included 22 areas that could be electrified to show different patterns.

The car will also feature a 700km range, a 15-inch touchscreen, a head-up display, and dashboard touch controls.

"The ID.7 is one of 10 new electric models that we are planning to launch by 2026," Volkswagen passenger cars chief executive Thomas Schafer said.

Volvo also showed off its EX90 SUV featuring a 25-speaker 3D sound system at CES, while Peugeot unveiled a futuristic-looking concept sports car called Inception, with sharp lines and a "Hypersquare" rectangular steering wheel that used four touchscreens.

The car was designed to inspire future cars from the French automaker, with the unique steering wheel due to launch in vehicles before 2030.

The Consumer Electronics Show will continue until January 8.