The 89th Geneva International Motor Show is underway at Palexpo in Geneva, where products are being showcased and vehicle premieres are taking place emphasising the future trends for the automobile industry. The 89th Geneva International Motor Show is taking place until March 17.
A number of global automotive companies have been unveiling products with internal combustion (IC) engines, as well as those featuring hybrid and pure electric powertrain technologies. In fact, the most powerful car ever designed and built in Italy, which happens to be a pure electric vehicle was revealed at the motor show. We take a look at some of the top vehicle launches and concepts showcased at this edition of the Geneva International Motor Show.
TRANSITIONING TOWARDS ELECTRIFICATION
The Geneva International Motor Show 2019 clearly showed the mood of companies in transitioning into the future with electrification. A number of concepts and unveils by OEMs showcased existing models being upgraded with hybrid or plug-in hybrid technologies in their journey towards electrification. While electric mobility seems to be the agreed future of the automotive industry, the steps needed to achieve full-electrification are being taken by the industry.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles previewed its Jeep Renegade and Compass SUV models with plug-in hybrid electric technology. It noted that this technology enhances the off-road performance of these Jeep models, taking advantage of the high torque control. In addition, the combined action of the IC engine and electric motor delivers a higher peak power for these vehicles. The Jeep Renegade and Compass plug-in hybrid models are rechargeable from an external power outlet in addition to being charged by the IC engine. The powerful electric motors in the vehicles translate into a pure electric range of about 50 km and a top speed of about 130 km/h.
Meanwhile, BMW has showcased hybrid iterations of its 2 Series hatchback, 3 Series, 5 Series and 7 Series sedans, as well as its X3 and X5 SUVs. Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz also announced that it would launch a plug-in hybrid version of its newly-launched facelifted GLC compact SUV later in the year. This trend of hybridisation goes to show that car manufacturers are taking up the transition towards electric mobility seriously, and it seems that moving towards hybrids is a stepping stone in the journey to complete electrification.
At the Geneva International Motor Show 2019, Kia Motors showcased an all-electric line-up with its Soul EV, upgraded Niro and the Imagine By Kia concept. The event was the European debut for Kia Soul EV, with long-range, fully-electric powertrains. This was also the first reveal of the upgraded Niro hybrid and plug-in hybrid models. Another debut of Kia was the new UVO CONNECT telematics technology for Europe.
IC ENGINES APLENTY
A highlight premiere for IC engine cars at the Geneva International Motor Show 2019 was the Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake. This station-wagon model has been deemed to be an intelligent sports car with load space, according to the company, which focuses deeply on exterior and interior design. In addition, the CLA Shooting Brake is equipped with the latest driver assistance systems with cooperative driver support, and offers active safety with functionalities straight from the S-Class.
Luxury car manufacturer Rolls-Royce debuts its full current product portfolio for the first time on an international stage. The company presents one of a collection of 25 Phantoms, alongside the first publicly-revealed Bespoke Cullinan commission. In addition, two powerful visions of Black Badge and a highly Bespoke Dawn have been revealed, each informed by the taste patterns of a younger, more assertive breed of entrepreneur drawn to the brand, it noted.
Italian sports car maker Ferrari launched its F8 Tributo mid-rear-engined two-seater sports car, which has been created as homage to the most powerful V8 in Ferrari history, the Berlinetta. The F8 Tributo’s turbocharged V8 engine delivers about 710 hp of power, making it the most powerful V8 ever to be mounted in a non-special series Ferrari. It also puts out peak torque of 770 Nm. The sports car has been designed by the Ferrari Styling Centre, and is claimed to essentially be a bridge to a new design language that will continue to emphasise Ferrari’s key characteristics of high performance and extreme aerodynamic efficiency. The F8 Tributo replaces the 488 GTB, with enhancements over the latter in terms of being 40 kg lighter, and benefiting from a 10 % improvement in aerodynamic efficiency along with the latest version of the Side Slip Angle Control.
In the commuter segment, Fresh car maker Renault unveiled its new Clio hatchback, which features a new design theme, as well as new powertrain options. The new Clio is also said to debut new technologies in the form of the E-TECH hybrid, EASY DRIVE driver assistance systems, a 360° camera and the Highway and Traffic Jam Companion. It also features EASY Link, an all-new connected multimedia system. The Clio is claimed to feature a more modern and expressive exterior design that makes it look more elegant and dynamic from all angles. It features a larger grill and more pronounced front bumper. The all-new Clio is shorter and lower that the outgoing model. The car is available with the new TCe 100 turbocharged engine with an electrically-operated discharge valve, an exhaust manifold partially integrated into the cylinder head and twin variable valve timing control. The engine is mated to either a five-speed manual transmission, or an X-TRONIC gearbox, and the car is also available in a dual-fuel petrol/LPG version.
Automobili Pininfarina, Mahindra & Mahindra’s premium electric vehicle company unveiled the Pininfarina Battista, which is claimed to be the world’s first luxury electric hyper performance GT. The Battista is the first solely Pininfarina-badged car that is said to deliver unprecedented performance and a new target of zero emissions with extreme power. The Battista, when launched in 2020 will be the most powerful car ever designed and built in Italy, delivering a level of performance unachievable today in any road-legal sports car featuring internal combustion engine technology. The Battista is claimed to be faster than a current Formula 1 race car with its 0-100 km/h sprint in less than 2 seconds. The car has a power rating of 1,900 hp, and 2,300 Nm of torque, combining extreme engineering and technology in a zero emissions package. The car is equipped with a 120 kWh Li-ion battery pack that has a claimed range of 450 km on a single charge.
Indian OEM Tata Motors revealed four global premiers and one European premier at the motor show. The company displayed the BUZZARD SPORT - Geneva Edition, which it has already launched in January 2019 as the Harrier SUV in India. Tata also unveiled its flagship SUV based on the OMEGA Architecture, the BUZZARD – Geneva Edition, in addition the ALTROZ and the ALTROZ EV premium urban cars that have been designed and developed on the all-new Agile Light Flexible Advanced (ALFA) Architecture. This architecture also has the ability to evolve into a range of modern, exciting vehicles in a short development cycle. Flexible solutions in the Architecture also make it capable of handling connected/ hybrid car offerings in future. Another showcase was the H2X Concept, a sub-compact SUV based on the ALFA architecture.
Aston Martin has revived its Vanquish name at the Geneva International Motor Show, with the Vanquish Vision Concept that is the company’s first mid-engined series production supercar. The Vanquish Vision Concept is highlighted by its bespoke bonded aluminium structure and new V6 engine, and is expected to enter production in 2022. The company also showcased its AM-RB 003 that is Aston Martin’s third mid-engined hypercar and Lagonda All-Terrain Concept.
In a case of merger of concept and production models, PAL-V unveiled a production-spec model of the world’s first flying car, Liberty Pioneer. The 90-piece limited edition Liberty Pioneer is based on the PAL-V Liberty that was unveiled at GIMS in 2018. Deliveries for the limited edition PAL-V Liberty will begin in 2020. It is equipped with a dual control cockpit and Electronic Flight Instrument system.
Volkswagen has carried out four world premieres at the Geneva Motor Show, providing powerful and electrifying highlights. The first is the ID. BUGGY concept that takes the idea of the legendary dune buggy into the age of electric mobility. The second premiere was the eighth-generation Passat which is yet to go one sale. The T-Roc crossover model and Touareg V8 TDI were the other two premieres, both being concept vehicles in near production forms. Volkswagen’s subsidiary Skoda showcased electric, smart, innovative and emotive products at the show. These included the Vision iV all-electric vehicle; Kamiq city SUV; Scala compact car; Fabia R5 rally car for WRC 2; and Klement electric two-wheel concept.
The Geneva International Motor Show 2019 was a global melting pot of numerous showcases of technological advances by OEMs from across the globe. The common ground for development was definitely the area of electrification and the steps towards the same. It was clear that concepts showcased will be backed by production models that would be seen in the market in the coming years. The growth in advancements of technologies to make vehicles more efficient, with alternate powertrains, or even enhancing existing powertrain technologies was clearly visible.