Autoweek’s 2023 Vanguard Award Winners

Jackson Wheeler
7 Min Read


Welcome to our first annual Autoweek Vanguard Awards, an accolade established to acknowledge and celebrate exemplary vision in the automotive field.

Never has the auto world witnessed such a dynamic time since those heady first decades after Karl Benz strapped a four-stroke engine to the back of a wire-wheeled carriage. The very idea of the car is changing before our eyes, its place in our lives and the fundamental ways in which we interact being redefined in real time.

autoweek vanguard award

Autoweek is endlessly curious about where these changes will lead, if the push toward full electrification of the fleet will continue unabated or if regulatory pushback, buyer disinterest—or even good old fashioned cold feet—will derail the momentum we’ve witnessed over the last decade.

Or if things will contract back to the way it used to be. (We hope not.)

Really, though, it comes down to one question we ask ourselves everyday: What will we find sitting in the driveway in five or even 10 years? Our work is driven by that question, what the path to that future car will look like, how the industry and consumers will respond, what we’ll learn along the way, but most importantly, who will lead us there.

Leading the Way

To that end we thought it high time to start identifying those leaders. We established these Vanguard Awards to do just that.

We know there are many awards given in our industry. Most are given in recognition of an “Of The Year,” and in almost all of these cases, the award is an affirmation of the recipient’s current quality, how “best” it is right now.

What the Autoweek Vanguard Awards strive to do is honor those people, entities, and ideas that are committed to looking down the road, not simply in preparation for that future car, but defining it, risk-taking now for validation later.

And without further adieu, the winners.

autoweek vanguard award, company hyundai motor company

Vanguard Award, Company
autoweek vanguard award person alejandro agag

Vanguard Award, Person
autoweek vanguard award our next energy one

Vanguard Award, Technology
autoweek vanguard award rivian r1t r1s dual motor

Vanguard Award, Vehicle

Vanguard Award, Company

Hyundai Motor Company continues to lead the charge of global electric vehicle development, developing world-class EVs that have garnered the praise of automotive media and instilled excitement from both the EV-buying stalwart and the simply electric-curious.

autoweek vanguard award

It’s the company’s unwavering commitment to the future of carbon-free mobility—and a goal of carbon-neutral cradle-to-grave vehicle lifecycle—that has earned it our inaugural Vanguard Award-Company.

While it continues to turn out award-winning EVs, Hyundai Motor Company is also devoting tremendous energy to continue to develop “clean hydrogen,” using solar and wind energy to produce hydrogen without need of fossil fuels as fuel for its advanced fuel-cell.

All of this is part of the company’s corporate goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2045.

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Vanguard Award, Person

Alejandro Agag is the co-founder and CEO of Formula E and is the founder and CEO of Extreme E, an electric off-road racing series, which will soon transition to Extreme H, set to launch in 2025.

autoweek vanguard award

His commitment to the decarbonization of racing is sincere, steadfast—and effective. “We have shown that Formula E is more than just a race,” said Agag. “The championship has the potential to serve as a framework for electric vehicle R&D, accelerating general interest in these cars and promoting clean energy and sustainability.”

Since the establishment of Formula E more than a decade ago, Agag has been working to broaden the footprint and influence of electric- and environmentally sensitive racing formats. To add to his cred, he will launch a brand-new series called E1, an electric boat racing series, early next year.

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Vanguard Award, Technology

Our Next Energy (ONE) is pushing the boundaries by developing durable, long-range lithium-iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, built with abundant raw materials (iron and manganese) and requiring no cobalt and smaller amounts of nickel, lithium, and graphite.

autoweek vanguard award our next energy one

The brainchild of battery systems engineer Mujeeb Ijaz, ONE is already producing LFP and anode-free battery cells at a massive new facility in Van Buren Township, Michigan, primarily for commercial trucks and stationary applications to power the grid.

But the company’s next step, with its dual-chemistry Gemini battery, allows the LFP cells in mainstream passenger vehicles to deliver an initial 150 miles of range, and then the anode-free cells to tack on another 450 miles—effectively doubling the range of most EVs on the road today.

It’s only a matter of time before this smart, sustainable technology finds its way to high-volume EVs. BMW already has a development agreement with ONE.

Vanguard Award, Vehicle

Fun-to-drive both on and off road, with plenty of capability to satisfy veteran truck owners while offering all the cool EV-specific features for tech fans to nerd out on, the R1 Dual-Motor checks almost every box.

autoweek vanguard award

And though while not exactly entry-level EV—the company promises it will get closer to that segment with the R2 platform—the R1 Dual-Motor (both R1T pickup and R1S SUV variants) nonetheless is testament to the company’s ongoing commitment to developing vehicles that increase the number of buyers in the EV space.

This makes the recognition of the R1 Dual-Motor as much a commendation of the vehicle itself as symbol of the ethos embodied by Rivian and its overall success to date where so many others have failed.

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at Speedofdaily.com, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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