Geneva 2015 – 'Green' is the New 'Black'

Written By: Assen Gueorguiev

Lake Geneva - Switzerland. Photo Credit - Swiss Tours by Te

Not surprisingly, this year’s Geneva Motor Show brought shame upon the Detroit and Chicago Auto Shows. And to be more specific, the green vehicles presented there were quite a few and pretty impressive, to say the least.

But, Europe will be Europe and we could not have expected less from the Swiss!

Just in case you missed what all the fuss and buzz was about, we offer you another quick look at the green vehicles presented at this year’s Geneva Motor Show:

 

Aston Martin DBX Concept (All-Electric):

Even though very few specs surrounding this stunning SUV were released, it still received its fair share of spotlight.

Highlights:

  • All-wheel drive with individual wheel motors

  • No axles, transfer cases or engine compartment, resulting in lots of luggage space and a clean underbody

  • Its interior, wrapped from A to Z in brown leather

Did it break the Internet? Not quite. Aston Martin gave us a hint of what to expect in its future lineup, but with no specifics on what the vehicle can do, in our eyes this remains a concept in its early stages (for now).



Audi Q7 e-tron TDI (Plug-in Hybrid):

If you’re on the market for a big luxury SUV for your family, a year from now you’ll have one more option.

Highlights:

  • 3 rows of seats, fitting 7 passengers (something the market has been impatiently waiting for)

  • 17.3 kWh lithium-ion battery capable of going 34 miles (not bad for such a powerful vehicle)

  • 138 MPG (US) with 876 total mile range

  • 373 horses and 516 pound-feet of torque

  • 0 to 60 in 6 seconds and capped at 139 mph top speed

It’s expected to first hit the European dealerships in early 2016, and soon after the US. So start saving up now and don’t rob any banks along the way!


 

Audi R8 e-tron (All-Electric):

Audi’s back this year with yet another improved version of the R8 e-tron. And this time they mean business!

Highlights:

  • Rear-wheel drive with two individual electric motors

  • 280 miles or pure electric range (up from 134)

  • 92 kWh lithium-ion battery pack (up from 49), capable of fully charging in less than 2 hours

  • 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds with top speed capped at 131 or 155 mph (electronically restricted)

  • Carbon fiber reinforced plastic combined with aluminum, lead to a space frame & body shell that weigh only 441 pounds

Was it worth the wait? Most definitely! Many were worried that an all-electric R8 will be dead on arrival because its battery range will be overshadowed by Tesla. Now there's one less thing to worry about. Their engineers were able to very masterfully incorporate such a large battery pack into such a small body. The price is still a mystery, but unless Audi decides to surprise us, expect it to be north of $115,000.

And if you just won the lottery and badly want one, you can order it later in 2015. Don’t expect to find one at the dealership that you can take home!



Hyundai Tucson Concept (Plug-in Hybrid):

Unlike Toyota and their obsession with Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Hyundai is making a clear statement that it doesn’t plan on having all of its eggs in one basket. It revealed a Hybrid and a Plug-in Hybrid version of its beloved Tucson SUV.

Highlights from the PHEV version:

  • 1.7 turbo-diesel engine with 113 horsepower focuses on the front wheels

  • A 10.7 kWh lithium-ion battery gives juice to the rear and adds 67 extra horses

  • Combined horsepower – 180

  • All-electric range of 31 mules

Lets not forget that in January, Hyundai also revealed the 2016 Sonata PHEV, and everyone is expecting an all-electric vehicle from them as early as next year. All we have to say is…way to spark the competition Hyundai!


Koenigsegg Regera (Plug-in Hybrid):

Born in Sweden, this beautiful beast represents the top of the top!

Highlights:

  • 5.0 twin-turbo V8 sends 1100bhp to the rear wheels

  • Three electric motors add an additional 700bhp. Two of them at the front wheels and one used for the torque gap

  • 1500 combined horsepower

  • 0 t 60 in 2.7 seconds and 0 to 250 in 20 seconds

  • 9-kWh 620-volt battery allows this hypercar to go 18 miles in pure electric mode

  • The electric system adds only 200 extra pounds to the vehicle, when compared to its gasoline powered bother, the Agera.

If the Regera is a must have for your collection, or you and 20 of your relatives decide to cash out your retirements, you better hurry! Only 80 will be made with a starting price of $1,890,000.

After all, who doesn't want to have the “fastest accelerating, most powerful production car ever”?



Magna Steyr Mila Plus Concept (Plug-in Hybrid):

If the Tesla Roadster and Ferrari had kids, there’s a chance one of them could look like this.

Even though you may have never heard of the Austrian Magna Steyr, you have probably seen their work. They build production cars and technologies for other auto-makers who use their own badge on them. To name a few of their partners - Mini, Mercedes, Peugeot and Aston Martin.

Highlights:

  • Impressive 47 mile range when in all-electric mode

  • 0 to 60 in 4.9 seconds

  • 272 horses and 427 pound-feet of torque

What’s next for the Mila Plus? Hopefully it caught the attention of some of the big players and they’ll want to put their logo on it. Maybe Toyota should give it a try? We know the world “consists” of Hydrogen, but doesn't evolve around it. Time to further diversify their green vehicle portfolio!



Mercedes-Benz C350e (Plug-in Hybrid):

Even though it didn't make its debut here, everyone expected this 2016 model PHEV to make an appearance in Geneva.

Highlights:

  • It can go only 19 miles in E-mode (all-electric), thanks to the small 6.2 kWh battery pack

  • 4 cylinder turbo-charged engine allows the car to zip from 0 to 60 in 5.9 seconds (Saloon version)

  • 279 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque

  • 5 transmission modes and 4 driving modes

It’s available in 2 versions – Saloon (sportier) and Estate (wagon-like). European drivers will get to enjoy this ride as early as this month, while the US won’t see them until the fall of 2015, where the prices should be below $50,000.

Very few in the US will find 19 miles to be sufficient for their daily commute. Nonetheless, let’s give Mercedes-Benz some credit for making the first steps, and let’s not forget their goal of having 10 plug-in models on the market by 2017.



Mercedes-Benz V-ision e Concept Van (Plug-in Hybrid):

When the US soccer moms (and dads) wished for a more fuel efficient van that can also save them money, this is definitely not what they envisioned.

Just as expected from a Mercedes-Benz concept, the interior is polished, yet it beautifully integrates with all the techy bells and whistles.

Highlights:

  • 31 miles of all-electric range

  • Tops speed of 128 mph

  • 4 cylinder engine combined with a 90-kW electric motor

  • And we can’t ignore the wooden floor, leather executive seats and the dual sun roofs

It’s not a secret that if this van is to make it to production one day, it will have a much bigger success in Europe. Hopefully by then Chrysler will have finally released its 700C plug-in minivan with a price tag that most can afford.



Mitsubishi XR-PHEV II Concept (Plug-in Hybrid):

First displayed at the 2013 Tokyo Auto Show, the improved version of this crossover decided to make an appearance this year in Geneva.

Highlights:

  • Front-wheel drive with 160 horsepower

  • 12-kWh battery pack

  • Engine – possibly 1.1 liter (not confirmed and based on the previous version)

Not surprisingly the electric range was not announced, which tells us that this concept still has a long way to go. The looks are not as disturbing as the GC-PHEV Concept that was displayed in Chicago earlier this year, yet many find the rear quite unappealing. Can you blame them?

Ohhh, and Star Trek called and asked for their interior back!



QUANTiNO and Quant F by nanoFlowcell AG:

The truth is, many still don’t believe in nonoFlowcell and that their technology can actually work, and deliver results as promised. It’s only a matter of time before those on one side of the fence will be able to say “I told you so!”. For the sake of technological innovation, let’s all hope what we see is what we get, and then some!

QUANTiNO Concept Highlights:

  • 600 mile range and over 120 mph top speed

  • Will run only on 48 volts (compared to the 360 of a Nissan LEAF)

  • Each wheel is powered by a 25 kWh motor, for a total of 136 horses

  • Powered by nanoFlowcell’s proprietary battery system:

The flow battery is similar to a hydrogen fuel cell. Rather than volatile hydrogen, nanoFlowcell uses two kinds of non-toxic, inflammable fluids charged with electrolytes and metallic salts. One (the catholyte) is positively charged and the other (the anolyte) is negatively charged. When the fluids are pumped from separate tanks into the battery, one on either side of a membrane, an electric charge is created.

Even though the QUANTiNO is the baby in the group, it’s also the most realistic one. Everyone is impatiently waiting to see if it will make it to production later this year, or if it will go down in auto history as yet another bold concept!


Quant F Concept Highlights:

  • Two wing doors and seats 4

  • All-wheel drive

  • Projected range of up to 500 miles

  • 0 to 60 in an impressive 2.8 seconds

  • Astonishing 1075 horsepower

  • Also powered by nanoFlowcell’s proprietary battery system

Even though still a concept, at least on paper it offers drastic improvements from last year’s Quant E. If it makes it to production one day, it’s almost destined to become a collectors' item right away.

Bring it on nanoFlowcell, the world is ready for another technological breakthrough!



Rainspeed Budii Concept (All-Electric):

Based on a BMW i3, this all-electric hatchback concept immediately grabs us with its over the top technology and gadgets. Its main goal is to give us a glimpse of the future…or at least of the future envisioned by someone.

Highlights:

  • Most key specs are almost identical to that of a BMW i3 (battery, acceleration, range, etc)

  • Autonomous driving, achieved by a roof mounted laser, a high resolution camera and many other technologies working in synch

  • 7-axis robotic arm can extend towards the driver or passenger and allows them to take over the retractable wheel

  • A new operating system capable of learning the driver’s habits and turning the vehicle into a “learning and proactive companion”.

  • Lounge-like interior – folding custom printed blinds, removable plexiglass work surfaces, and ambient lighting

If you happen to see this concept in person, don’t expect it to take you Back to the Future just yet.



Volkswagen Sport Coupe GTE Concept (Plug-in Hybrid):

This VW grabbed attention not because of some out of this world design, but because it represented something achievable, yet technologically advanced.

Highlights:

  • Capable of going 32 miles in all-electric mode, with a total range of 745 miles

  • 374 combined horsepower

    • 295 horsepower turbo-charged 3.0 liter V6 powers the front

    • 54 horse electric motor is located in the six-speed gearbox, and another 114 horse electric in the rear

  • Top speed of 155 mph, with 0 to 60 in 5 seconds

We have to give the VW designers credit for the very clean, yet technologically advanced interior. Lots of displays for the driver and passenger, 3D graphics and even the ability to monitor your health via an armband or smart watch, connected to the vehicle’s system.

Who would have thought it takes an Audi-like design to make a VW more likable?


Volvo V60 D5 Diesel Twin Engine (Plug-in Hybrid):

If there’s one manufacturer which likes to keep it classy and stay close to its roots, that would be Volvo.

Highlights:

  • 2.0 liter diesel, 4 cylinder engine with 230 horsepower

  • Seats up to 5 and not surprisingly all-wheel drive

  • 35 miles of electric range, brought to you by a 11.2 kWh lithium-ion pack

  • 0 to 60 in 9 seconds

Volvo has no plans for now to bring this roomy diesel PHEV to the US, but Europe will get to enjoy it this spring. If the price is attractive, maybe there’ll be enough pressure to bring a gas PHEV version to the US. Until that happens, we’re at the mercy of the tiny Volts, Bolts and LEAFs! And of course Tesla, for those who can afford it.

 

Not a bad list of green vehicles for just one auto show!

Please share with us, which one do you find most exciting, and of course most practical? 
 

Special Photo Credit - AutoBlog