2017 Geneva Auto Show

 

   


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Sunday March 12, 2017 2017 Geneva Auto Show The Geneva Auto Show is the first major auto show of the year in Europe and it has always been the place where the European manufacturers tend to show of the latest trends and future direction.  Many Plug-in cars have made their debut here and this year there were a few more to add to the tally.

 

Luxury carmaker Bentley has indicated that it will be moving into the EV space.  It will be launching a plug-in hybrid version of its Bentayga SUV sometime next year.   It also indicated that it intends to move into the full EV space by showing their EXP 12 speed 6e concept.  This car is a 2 seat roadster and while Bentley did not give out specifics on the drivetrain they did imply that the car will have a range of about 200 miles.

 

The best selling EV in Europe isn't sold here in the US but the Renault showed a version at the Geneva Auto Show that is sure to peak interest in the brand here in the US.  The Renault ZOE e-sport concept is a two seat version of the hatchback that is fitted out with electric motors on both the front and rear axles powered by a 40KW lithium ion battery pack.  The combination is capable of putting out 456hp and 472 lb-ft of torque.  This gives the e-sport a 0-60 time of 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 130 miles.  The bad new is that it's unlikely Renault will make a production version of this car. 
 
European carmakers have learned that they can obtain a pretty sizable performance boost by adding an electric motor.  Porsche has sold plug-in hybrid versions of the Cayenne SUV and Panamer S sedan for quite sometime now, and the Porsche 918 Spyder is the most powerful Porsche ever built. They took the Panamera one step closer to the 918 Spyder with the Panamera Turbo S e-hybrid.  The powertrain blends a 4.0 liter V8 engine that puts out 550hp with a 136hp electric motor.  This gives the car a 0-60 time of 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 193 mph.  The 14.1 KWh lithium-ion battery pack is rated at 31 miles of electric range based on the European test cycle which probably translates to about 25 miles on the stricter US standard.  There is also an optional 7.2KW charger to allow a full charge in about 2 hours when plugged into a 240V supply.

 
At the other end of the scale Honda gave a sneak peek at the autonomous vehicle concept that they will be showing at CES in April.  This car is a small 2 seat EV known as the NeuV and looks to be about the same size as a Smart.  The details of the power train and its autonomous capability will be revealed at CES, but it was noted that the concept does come with a steering wheel so it looks like a driver will be required to take control if necessary.

 

VW on the other hand did not provide a steering wheel or pedals in its Sedric automated vehicle concept.  The Sedric looks like a box on wheels with an interior that just features comfortable seating and a windshield that is actually an LED screen.  VW has invested a lot of money in moving toward autonomous vehicles and the Sedric is intended to be a level 5 autonomous vehicle meaning that it can drive itself anywhere.  The plan is to sell such vehicles to both customers and ride hailing services like Lyft and Uber.  VW is also launching their own rideshare service. 

 

The Geneva Auto Show is also about performance so a lot of the big reveals were high performance sports cars luxury cars but this year we have continued to see more cars that are adding a plug.  The growth of autonomous vehicles is also beginning to pick up pace as companies begin to show what will become their first generation of self driving cars, the first of which is expected to make an appearance in showrooms around 2021.

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