The 89th edition of the Geneva International Motor Show took place from 7-17 March, 2019 at the Palexpo. Recent years have seen many motor shows promising electric concepts, but the range of electric production vehicles this year at Geneva was encouraging. Here is an overview of both electric and hybrid world premieres.
Alfa Romeo Tonale Concept
The Italian carmaker moves towards plug-in hybrid technology for the first time with its Tonale. Slightly smaller than the existing Stelvio SUV, the Tonale borrows styling cues from its larger sibling and is built on the same platform as the Jeep Renegade. It’s not known which engines will be offered in the Tonale, but the electric motor will be mounted at the rear in order to achieve the best performance characteristics. As well as the appeal of hybrid driving, Alfa Romeo will concentrate on making the Tonale one of the best-handling models in the compact SUV class.
Audi Q4 e-tron
The Audi Q4 e-tron gives an insight into the production model that will follow in late 2020 or early 2021. It marks the German manufacturer’s fifth electric car, after the larger Audi e-tron, e-tron GT, e-tron Sportback and an electric version of the Q2 crossover destined for the Chinese market only. The Q4 e-tron concept features an 82kWh battery returning a range in excess of 450km. The Q4 e-tron is compatible with 125kW rapid charging, allowing a 0-80% charge in around half an hour.
The car will hold two electric motors – one to drive the front wheels and another to drive the rear. The Q4 e-tron will use only the rear motor in most situations in order to extract the best possible efficiency, with the front motor engaging for fast acceleration.
Audi TFSI e plug-in hybrid versions of A6, A7, A8 and Q5
The Audi A6, A7 and A8 executive cars, along with the Q5 SUV, are getting petrol-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrains added to their ranges in 2019.
While the ‘e-tron’ badge was applied to now-discontinued plug-in hybrid versions of the A3 hatchback and Q7 SUV, that name will now only be used for Audi’s fully electric models, such as the recently launched e-tron SUV and upcoming e-tron GT high-performance fastback. The brand’s new plug-in hybrids are instead identified by the badge ‘TFSI e’, indicating a pairing of the Audi TFSI turbocharged petrol engine with an electric motor. All new models will be able to travel at least 40km on purely electric power.
New BMW plug-in hybrids
New to the range are the BMW X3 xDrive30e and BMW X5 xDrive 45e SUVs, as well as the plug-in hybrid versions of the latest BMW 3 Series (the 330e) and BMW 7 Series (the 745e).
Production of the BMW X3 xDrive30e is set to start in December 2019. It has four-wheel drive as standard and offers up to 50 km of emissions-free electric driving, with a CO2 output of 56g/km.
The larger plug-in hybrid SUV is represented by the new BMW X5 xDrive45e, which pairs a six-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor for a 0-100 km/h time of 5.6 seconds and an electric range of just under 80 km. CO2 emissions of 49g/km are promised, and like the smaller X3, the new X5 hybrid comes with BMW xDrive four-wheel drive as standard.
The new BMW 330e, meanwhile, claims a 50% increase in pure-electric range over its predecessor, for a total of 60 km, while CO2 emissions are 39g/km. Acceleration from 0-100 km/h is completed in six seconds.
BMW’s luxury flagship 7 Series gets two plug-in hybrid variants: the standard-wheelbase 745e and long-wheelbase 745Le. Respective electric ranges are 31 and 36 miles, while CO2 emissions are 48 and 52g/km respectively.
Citroen AMI ONE concept
A two-seater electric city car, the AMI ONE is classified as a ‘quadricycle’ rather than a full-size car (similar to the Renault Twizy) and so could be driven by 16-year-olds without a license. The brand describes it as “a popular, modern and timely response to new customer behaviour and the challenge of the energy transition in the city”.
Hispano Suiza Carmen
The first model produced by the historic Barcelona-based brand, this is an exclusive all-electric hyperluxury grand tourer with a classically inspired design leaning on the 1938-built Dubonnet Xenia, featuring state-of-the-art technology, like its carbon-fibre monocoque.
The little-known company (founded in 1904, built cars and airplane engines until 1946) last appeared at Geneva with a prototype unrelated to the Carmen in 2002. The Spanish car brand says an 80kW battery will give a range in excess of 400 km, with two rear-mounted electric motors, and deliver a 30-80% rapid charge in less than half an hour. Weighing in at 1,690kg, the Carmen can do 0-100 km/h in under three seconds, with a top speed of 250 km/h.
Honda e Prototype
This car is a follow-on from the Urban EV concept and a preview of the production model of Honda’s electric city car, which will go on sale later in 2019. Its electric rear-wheel drive platform offers a modern, urban-specific package and has a range of over 200 km.
‘Imagine by Kia’ concept
The Korean carmaker reveals its visual embodiment of a move towards electric cars. This 4-door electric concept car indicates a more progressive design language for future Kia models. The concept defies easy categorisation, combining the muscularity of an SUV with the elegance of a family saloon and the versatility of a crossover. Conventional wing mirrors have been removed in favour of cameras that are sleeker and more aerodynamic.
Mercedes EQV concept
Here is a production-ready all-electric concept version of a V-Class-style minivan. The capacity of the Concept EQV’s battery pack is 100 kWh, good for a range of 400 km. The front electric motor generates 150 kW. Weighing in at 3,500 kg, the concept EQV’s top speed is 160 km/h.
Charging details have not been released yet, but the German carmaker has promised that 100 km of charge will take just 15 minutes from a rapid charger. The battery cells are located in the vehicle’s floor in order to maintain passenger space; six-, seven- and eight-seat options are offered.
Mitsubishi Engelberg Tourer Concept SUV
Named after a Swiss ski resort, the concept showcases the future of both the Japanese brand’s plug-in hybrid technology and its SUV models.
The Engelberg Tourer shares some technology with the existing Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, including its 2.4-litre petrol engine and pair of electric motors. It has a larger battery than the Outlander, however; with 20kWh capacity, it can travel for up to 70 km in zero-emissions electric mode. Total range before refuelling or recharging is required is estimated at 700 km.
Nissan IMQ concept
The IMQ previews the next generation of the successful Qashqai SUV with a cleaner hybrid powertrain. The concept features a similar version of the e-Power setup used on the Nissan Note – Japan’s best-selling car – where a 1.2-litre engine is used to generate electricity to power an electric motor. In the case of the IMQ concept, a 1.5-litre engine acts as its generator, with two electric motors combining to produce 700Nm of torque. The Japanese manufacturer has confirmed that it will bring its hybrid e-Power system to Europe in 2022.
Peugeot 508 Peugeot Sport Engineered Hybrid
Peugeot Sport’s vision of the future is sporty vehicles with low CO2 emissions. The front petrol engine generates 200 hp, and a front electric motor produces 110 hp. A second, rear electric motor delivers 200 hp. The hybrid has an electric range of 50 km, does 0-100 km/h in 4.3 seconds and emits 49 g/km of CO2. Although just a concept for now, a ‘toned-down’ production version is expected to go on sale by the end of 2020.
Like the petrol and diesel versions, the first all-electric 208 is built on Peugeot’s new CMP platform. The 100 kW electric motor delivers 136 hp and its 50 kWh battery (LiIon) enables a range of 340 km. Peugeot’s Serenity Programme aims to attract and offer support to new e-mobility users. Up to 100kW rapid charging is offered, with Peugeot estimating a 0-80% charge taking as little as 30 minutes at that rate. The carmaker will begin accepting reservations for the e-208 at the end of March, with order books officially opening later in the summer.
Piëch Mark Zero
The new Piëch Mark Zero takes the sheer fun of driving a purist sports car into the electric age, with classic sports car features and timeless styling. The open, modular vehicle architecture can also host a wide variety of drive technologies. It comes with 4-wheel drive and generates 610 hp.
The Swiss firm is led by the son of former Volkswagen boss Ferdinand Piëch. It claims the Mark Zero will be capable of 500km of range on the WLTP test cycle, and that the car will weigh less than 1,800kg. Acceleration from 0-100 km/h is done in 3.2 seconds, and top speed lies at 250 km/h.
The batteries are remarkable in that their temperature doesn´t rise more that 10-15 degrees Celsius, even when driving at full speed. No special cooling system is needed – the external air is enough to keep the batteries cool. This is all thanks to a completely new cell type that makes over-heating virtually impossible.
The price of this sports car lies between 150.000 – 170.000 Euro, but buyers must wait until 2022.
The Automobili Pininfarina Battista is a luxurious hypercar, which sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 2 seconds thanks to an innovative 1,900 hp electric drive. Four electric motors – one on each wheel – combine to produce the headline figure, along with 2,300Nm of torque. The Battista features a 120kWh, liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery. Pininfarina says it’ll charge from flat to 80% full in 25-40 minutes using an IONITY fast charger. Only 150 Battistas will be built.
This is essentially the Spanish brand’s version of the Volkswagen I.D. hatchback, based on the Volkswagen Group’s ‘MEB’ (Modular Electric Toolkit) platform – a common set of electric-car underpinnings. Seat’s first electric vehicle, developed in Barcelona, will launch in 2020. The 62-kWh battery provides a range of 420 km, and the 150-kWh (204 hp) electric engine propels the Seat el-Born from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.5 seconds. The car’s battery can be recharged in as little as 47 minutes.
Skoda Vision iV concept
This concept is also based on VW’s MEB. An electric motor on each axle makes the Vision IV a 4-wheel drive vehicle. The Vision iV´s two electric motors result in a 0-100 km/h time of 5.9 seconds and a limited top speed of 180 km/h. An 82kWh lithium-ion battery returns up to 500 km of range according to WLTP testing, with a 0-80% rapid charge possible in as little as half an hour.
Volkswagen I.D. Buggy concept
Volkswagen presents the first all-electric version of a new buggy. Based on the popular US dune buggies of the 1960s-1970s, this VW study is also based on the MEB, demonstrating that the new platform is just as variable as the VW Beetle was back in its day.
The Volkswagen ID. Buggy is powered by an electric motor mounted at the back for rear-wheel-drive. Acceleration from 0-100 km/h takes 7.2 seconds, with the top speed limited to 160 km/h. The battery is a 62kWh unit and Volkswagen promises it will deliver a range of 250 km.