Top 10 Green Cars at the 2017 Geneva Motor ShowMarch 9, 2017
Here are Green Car Guide’s Top 10 Green Cars at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, including electric, hybrid, hydrogen and ICE powertrains.
Toyota has been dreaming up oddball personal mobility vehicles every few years since its 2005 i-Unit concept, a sort of exoskeleton on wheels. The propositions took a turn for the practical with the 2013 i-Road, a single-seat electric three-wheeler that has been deployed in small numbers for public trials in France.
The i-Tril is the latest vehicle in this lineage. It offers a 1+2 seating layout and features a joint that allows the cabin to lean over by up to 10 degrees through corners for increased stability while the rear drive unit remains upright for better traction. The i-Tril is electrically propelled and should provide a driving range of at least 185 miles, according to Toyota. It has also been designed to operate in both autonomous and manual modes. Alas there is no word yet on whether the i-Tril will follow the i-Road into the real world.
Renault Zoe E-Sport
Just a bit of fun rather than a future product, Renault has underscored the recent arrival of bigger batteries in its Zoe EV with a race inspired E-Sport concept edition. The company says the car also celebrates its success in Formula E – the Renault team won the first two championships on the trot and is leading comfortably in the third season of the electric racing series.
Formula E single-seaters are limited to 270bhp but the two-seater Zoe E-Sport uses a pair of motors mounted front and rear to deliver almost 460bhp (340kW). The two motors are identical, and are fed from a 40kWh battery. The four-wheel-drive car can reach 62mph in just 3.2 seconds.
The pumped up bodywork remains recognisable as a Zoe, but has been fashioned entirely in carbon fibre with a steel inner roll cage and Kevlar protective panels.
Revitalised Swedish brand Volvo unveiled its latest XC60 mid-sized SUV in Geneva. It’s a little lower and wider than its predecessor and with a beautifully crafted interior similar to that seen in the current XC90 and S/V90 cars.
The debut line-up will include a T8 Twin Engine petrol plug-in version, offering 407hp, all-wheel drive and acceleration from 0-62mph in just 5.3 seconds. Prices and consumption figures are due be revealed shortly.
Naturally the new Volvo is full of safety kit. The latest XC60 will attempt to steer as well as brake its way out of trouble if it detects an imminent impact.
Lexus LS 500h
Geneva revealed Lexus’s new flagship LS 500 saloon in hybrid format. The large executive saloon made its debut at January’s Detroit show in a more gas-guzzling guise.
The car is a long wheelbase four-door saloon with a rakish, coupé-like silhouette. The hybrid LS 500h edition features a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine and two electric motors, together delivering up to 354bhp (264kW). Both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive versions of the hybrid will be available.
Acceleration to 62mph can be achieved in 5.4 seconds, while the motors in the new LS 500h will be powerful enough to allow the engine to shut down periodically even at speeds of up to 87mph. The new S-Class rival is expected to go on sale early in 2018.
The upcoming Jaguar I-Pace battery electric crossover made its European debut in Geneva, finished in an attention-grabbing red. It remains a concept edition – a production version of the luxury EV will be revealed later this year, while the first deliveries are expected in 2018.
First revealed late last year, the sleek five-door car will boast 294kW (400bhp) of power and four-wheel drive, and should be able to sprint to 62mph in about four seconds. A 90kWh battery is expected to provide a driving range of about 310 miles according to the NEDC test, and perhaps around the 250-mile ballpark in the real world. Prices remain to be confirmed.
Hyundai FE Fuel Cell Concept
The FE Fuel Cell Concept’s flowing form is inspired by nature and water, according to Hyundai. The Korean manufacturer says the clean, calm design reflects the non-polluting nature of hydrogen propulsion.
The initials FE in the car’s name stand for Future Eco, but Hyundai is of course a pioneer in bringing fuel-cell technology to the road today, most notably with the hydrogen-fuelled ix35 FCV, claimed to be the world’s first production fuel-cell vehicle.
The FE Concept features the fourth generation of Hyundai’s fuel cell technology. The latest stack is 20% lighter, takes up 30% less volume and offers 10% greater fuel efficiency than the system fitted to the ix35, the company says.
Geneva provided the first European outing for Honda’s NeuV, a cute, box-shaped electric concept car. The name stands for New Electric Urban Vehicle and the design explores ways to make better use of cars that currently sit idle for more than 90% of the time while their owners do other things.
Honda says the car has been conceived with autonomous ride-sharing in mind, and also acts as an off-grid energy store that could potentially earn cash by selling power back to the grid at times of high demand.
The compact cubic shape and large, vertically opening doors are designed to optimise the NueV’s use of urban space though not, presumably, its aerodynamic efficiency.
NanoFlowcell Quant 48Volt
An arresting, low-slung gullwing sports car provided the showcase for liquid battery technology developed by NanoFlowcell. The Quant 48Volt concept revealed in Geneva runs on “bi-ION electrolyte” – a pair of liquids, one containing an excess of negative ions and the other positive ions. These are stored aboard in separate tanks and brought together in the flow-cell unit to liberate electricity. The intention is to enable easily refuelled electric cars, as is the case with hydrogen fuel cells.
The 2+2-seater boasts power of 560kW (750bhp) delivered to all four wheels. However, rather than running at hundreds of volts like most other EVs, the Quant concept operates at just 48 volts. This brings benefits in both engineering and safety terms, the company says.
The all-new Kia Picanto city car made its global debut in Geneva. Unlike many rivals the Picanto has not ballooned in size with its latest generation and remains a neat, compact design.
The new Picanto is a joint effort from Kia’s design studios in Korea and Germany. The car’s cabin now features a 7-inch touchscreen with support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. An Autonomous Emergency Braking safety system is also provided for the first time.
Kia says the new bodyshell makes more extensive use of high-strength steel to offer better crash protection without excess weight. A choice of 1.0 and 1.25 litre petrol engines will offer CO2 ratings from 89g/km when the car goes on sale in the second quarter of this year.
Like most motorshows, this year’s Geneva event played host to various extreme electric, hybrid or plug-in sports cars with varying degrees of ambition and realism. Three worth gawking at are:
– Rimac Concept One (900kW/1224hp, 0-62mph in 2.5 seconds, £675,605)
– Techrules Ren (1287bhp, 0-62mph in 2.5 seconds, a triple-bubble canopy and expected to cost £2m)
– Vanda Dendrobium (likely to have 1000bhp, conceived with the help of race experts at Williams and set to cost £1m+).