14 September 2015

Frankfurt Motor Show - Highlights

Here's a selection of the highlights from the Frankfurt Motor Show, where manufacturers have made significant incremental, or in some cases revolutionary, improvements to the sustainability of the automobile.  Although it's hard to avoid the launch the (hideous) Bentley Bentayga, the Rolls-Royce Dawn, the Jaguar F-Pace, and the Ferrari 488 Spider, it's the news below which is setting the future direction of the industry.

Artega Scalo

The Scalo offers 402bhp from two electric motors powering the rear wheels. 0-60mph comes in 3.6 seconds. A 37kW battery supports a range of up to 250 miles.

Artega Scalo

Audi Q6 e-tron

Audi has released a concept all-electric SUV, sized somewhere between the Q5 and Q7. Its figures suggest innovation in aerodynamics contribute to a claimed range of 310 miles.

Audi Q6 e-tron concept

BMW is the 'traditional' manufacturer which I predict will be the first to have an alternative powertrain available in all of its model series first.  And a pre-show announcement has helped them achieve this...

BMW 225xe Active Tourer

The Active Tourer 225xe mates a 134bhp front-mounted 1.5L petrol engine, with a rear-axle mounted 88bhp electric motor.  25 miles of electric-only range should be possible, courtesy of the 7.7kWh lithium ion battery.

BMW 225xe Active Hybrid

BMW 225xe Active Hybrid

BMW 330e

Also delivering a 25 mile all-electric range, the 330e has a different powertrain - a 2L petrol engine, alongside a 65kW electric motor.  A top speed of 140mph (75mph in electric only), as low as 44 CO2 g/km.

BMW 330e

The powertrain within the BMW 330e

BMW 740e

To complete the trio and with 25 miles of all-electric range again, the 740e will be available in standard and long wheel based version (the latter also available as an xDrive 4WD option). Claimed figures are 134mpg and 49g CO2/km.

BMW 740e
Mercedes Concept IAA

Mercedes has introduced a new design language and world-beating aerodynamics in its IAA Concept (Intelligent Autonomous Vehicle')

Mercedes Concept IAA

Mercedes Concept IAA, with a Cd of 0.19
Its coefficient drag coefficient (Cd), is a mere 0.19, helped with automatic changes to the car's exterior above 80km/h.  And this isn't just about a rear spoiler which raises at speed... The changes are:

  • Eight segments extend at the rear, increasing its length by up to 390 millimetres
  • Front flaps in the front bumper extend by 25 mm to the front and 20 mm to the rear, improving the air flow around the front end and the front wheel arches
  • The Active Rims alter their cupping from 55 mm to zero
  • The louvre in the front bumper moves 60 mm to the rear, improving the underbody air flow

With a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain, CO2 emissions can be as low as 28g CO2/km.

Nissan Leaf

The Nissan Leaf has been a global success, in fact is the world's best-selling EV. And now Nissan have announced improvements, which include a 30kWh battery, increasing the motorway range to 250km, for only a 21kg increase in weight.

Nissan Leaf with 30kWh battery

Peugeot FRACTAL Concept

Peugeot have launched a new concept car, the FRACTAL, an electric urban coupe.  Its main focus is on sound, supporting their i Cockpit® sight and touch sensory experience.

Peugeot FRACTAL concept
"The 30kW/h lithium-ion battery powers the electric motors on the front and rear axles to provide a total output of 150kW/204hp and combined-cycle autonomy of up to 450km"

Porsche Mission E Concept

  • 600bhp+
  • 331 mile range
  • 3.5 seconds to 60mph
  • 800V charging capacity
  • Tesla have some competition!

Porsche Mission E

Porsche Mission E

Smart ForTwo and ForFour

"Both vehicles will be fitted with an electric motor produced by Renault’s ClĂ©on plant in France, the same one used in the Renault ZOE. The battery of the new smart electric drive will be produced by the Daimler subsidiary, “Deutsche ACCUmotive,” in Kamenz, Germany."

Thunder Power

A new entrant to the sector, from Taiwan, Thunder Power have introduced a concept car looking to take Tesla on with some impressive stats:

  • 430bhp
  • 373 mile range
  • Top speed of 155mph, with a 0-62mph sprint in less than 5 seconds

Thunder Power Concept

It's set for a 2017 release in Europe, so it will be interesting to see how much of an impact it will make, as more established brands enter this segment.

Toyota Prius

Back in 1997, Toyota released the Prius... and started a revolution.  Well, it's time for an update, and although you can see some familiarity with the previous versions, it's fair to say the latest incarnation takes more than a little inspiration from the hydrogen-powered Mirai.

Toyota Prius through the generations

The 2016 Toyota Prius
The petrol engine now boasts a thermal efficiency of 40%, whilst the new nickel-metal hydride hybrid battery is more compact with its durability and charging performance being significantly improved.  It's claimed that there's a 10% improvement in efficiency overall.

Volkswagen Tiguan GTE Concept

Alongside Volkswagen's refreshed Tiguan series, they have introduced a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid GTE concept.

Volkswagen Tiguan GTE
A 1.4L TSI turbocharged petrol engine is combined with an electric motor to power the front wheels, generating 215hp.  CO2 emissions are expected to be 42g/km.  The 13kWh lithium ion battery can also be topped-up by solar panels on the roof, with optimum sun conditions extending the car's range up to 621 miles.


With a combination of existing models being upgraded, and some new concepts released, the Frankfurt Motor Show has clearly demonstrated we're accelerating towards more sustainable motoring.  And if you're in the UK, and would like to see what's available on the forecourts today, please check out my UK Sustainable Car Directory.

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