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Detroit reality punctures CES dreams

A truck amongst a crowd of people at the Detroit Auto Show
Photo: Bill Pugliano / Getty Images

Last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas promised a glittery future of autonomous vehicles and self-delivering pizzas — punctuated by GM’s plan to mass produce a car without pedals or a steering wheel by 2019. But this week’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit is showcasing an automotive reality that’s much more business as usual.

Why it matters: While it’s great to think big, the market takes a long time to adapt to manufacturers’ moonshots. Electric vehicles — theoretically, an easy concept to get consumers on board with — comprise only about 1% of the U.S. market, per FleetCarma. That’s largely a result of the perceived inconvenience surrounding battery technology, and fully autonomous vehicles will be a much tougher nut to crack in terms of both the adoption of the underlying tech and government regulation.