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Green Cars at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show

Green Cars at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show

These are the most important green cars at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. And what an exciting choice green motorists are about to get. Whether you want a hybrid BMW performance car or a two-seater electric commuter vehicle, it’s on its way. Some of these cars are concepts, others are here soon, and some are here right now. We wandered for miles around the sprawling mass of halls at Frankfurt to make sure you know the most important green cars out of the many, many cars on show! So here’s your user-friendly summary of the latest and most important green cars that you need to know about


BMW i8 Concept

The all-electric BMW i3 and i8 Concepts had their world premieres at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The BMW i8 Concept is a plug-in hybrid sports car combining an internal combustion engine and an electric drive, resulting in extremely low fuel consumption and emissions – but with excellent performance.


BMW i3 Concept

The BMW i3 Concept , known as the Megacity Vehicle during its development stage, will be the first purely electrically-powered production car within the BMW Group. There may also be plans for a range-extender version. Both the four-seat i3 and the 2+2 seat i8 will be here in 2013.


Audi Urban Concept

Audi revealed its electric urban concept study – the commuting car of the future – in both Sportback and Spyder (open top) forms. Both cars have a 1+1 seat cockpit and free-standing wheels. Weighing just 480 kg, the Audi urban concept aims to combine elements of a racecar, a roadster, a fun car and a city car into a radical new concept.


Volkswagen NILS

The Volkswagen NILS is a similar idea to the Audi Urban Concept, but it has just a single-seat, in an electric commuter concept vehicle that weighs only 460 kg. It has the same basic layout as a Formula 1 racing car, with the driver in the middle, the engine in the back, and free-standing outboard wheels, with a range of 40 miles and a top speed of 80 mph.


Vauxhall RAK e concept

Frankfurt also saw the world debut of Vauxhall’s two-seater electric RAK e concept car which has a 60 mile range, a 75 mph top speed, and at 380 kg, it weighs only around a third of a small modern car. Vauxhall says it has ‘production potential’, and it will be affordable for young/teenage drivers who are the target customers.


Peugeot EX1

We’ve seen it before, but while we’re looking at two-seater electric cars, the EX1 Concept is Peugeot’s take on the electric roadster idea, and is powered by two electric motors, one located at the front and the other at the rear of the vehicle. Together they produce a peak maximum power of 340 bhp with a constant torque of 240 Nm.


Peugeot HX1

The six-seater Peugeot HX1 concept can manage 88.2 mpg with CO 2
emissions of 83 g/km thanks to its HYbrid4 power plant integrating ‘plug-in’ technology. It has a 204 bhp, 2.2 litre HDi diesel engine at the front (powering the front wheels) linked to an automatic 6-speed gearbox, and an electric motor at the rear (powering the rear wheels). It also enables the vehicle to be driven at low speeds powered just by the electric motor in ‘Zero Emissions Vehicle’ mode. Coupled with a 95 bhp electric motor, the combined output can develop a potential 299 bhp. The plug-in functionality means that the lithium-ion batteries can be recharged by plugging in the vehicle to a standard 240V mains electric socket. This means that it can have a longer ‘ZEV’ range, i.e. it can cover up to 18.6 miles in all-electric drive mode.


Chevrolet Miray

The Chevrolet Miray concept combines a 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine with two electric motors, and it had its European premiere at Frankfurt. The 1.5-litre engine is mounted behind the driver. It also has two front-mounted 15-kW electric motors, powered by a 1.6 kWh lithium-ion battery that is charged through regenerative braking energy. This enables zero emissions in urban driving as well as quick acceleration.

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Jaguar C-X16 hybrid concept

The Jaguar C-X16 concept has a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 hybrid powertrain capable of 0-62 mph in 4.4 seconds, with CO 2
emissions of 165 g/km. The C-X16 concept also produces 380 PS, has 450 Nm of torque, and a top speed of 186 mph – yet can travel at speeds of up to 50 mph under electric power alone.


Citroen Tubik Concept

The Citroen Tubik concept is inspired by the old Type H or ‘TUB’ van, but with the modern twist of a Hybrid4 full hybrid diesel drivetrain and four-wheel drive. The Tubik is large enough to carry up to nine passengers but with its Hybrid4 full-hybrid diesel drivetrain, CO 2
emissions are close to those of a conventional saloon.


Ford Evos Plug-in Hybrid Concept

The four-door, four-seat fastback Ford Evos Plug-in Hybrid Concept made its global debut at Frankfurt. The Ford Evos Concept has a state-of-the-art lithium-ion plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain providing the same next-generation performance and fuel economy as the Ford C-MAX Energi scheduled for introduction in North America in 2012 and Europe in 2013.



The electric Renault FRENDZY is designed to be a commercial business vehicle which can double up as a car, so meeting the requirements of business users and families. The passenger side is intended to represent the world of work, and the driver’s side to be the world of the family. Its powertrain is the same as that of electric Kangoo Van Z.E.


Audi e-tron Concept

The electric Audi e-tron concept at Frankfurt looked remarkably identical to an existing Audi R8. The previous e-tron Spyder concept combined a diesel engine with two electric motors, giving a top speed of 155 mph with 128.4 mpg and 59 g/km CO 2
. A mid-mounted bi-turbo TDI engine mated to electric power also had a plug-in hybrid capability, which resulting in a zero emission electric range of 31 miles at speeds of up to 37 mph.


Audi A2

The electric Audi A2 is an all-electric four-seat concept which will weigh just 1,150 kg, it will have a range of 124 miles, and deliver 116 PS and 270 Nm, giving a 9.3-second 0-62 mph time and a governed 93 mph top speed.


Fisker Karma

The four-door, four-passenger Fisker Karma premium plug-in hybrid electric vehicle develops 403 hp, reaches 62 mph in 5.9 seconds, has a top speed of 125 mph, yet it can achieve an average economy of 100 mpg and CO2 emissions of just 83 g/km. Driven only by electric motors at all times, the Karma delivers the zero-tailpipe-emissions of an all-electric vehicle and eliminates range anxiety with the 300 mile (480 km) range of a traditionally powered car thanks to its 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder range-extender petrol engine. The Karma can achieve 50 miles electric-only when powered by its 20 kWh lithium ion battery. The Karma features the world’s largest continuous solar panel roof for a car and is the first car to be equipped with 22-inch wheels as standard equipment.


Fisker Surf

The new Fisker Surf , revealed for the first time at Frankfurt, is basically a Fisker Karma estate – an electric vehicle with extended range.


Vauxhall Ampera

The Vauxhall Ampera , which goes on sale in the UK early in 2012, will be the first electric car in Europe to offer zero emission potential and zero range anxiety. Thanks to its unique Voltec propulsion system, the Ampera allows drivers to travel up to 50 miles on a full charge while emitting zero CO 2
tailpipe emissions. For longer journeys of up to 310 miles the system engages a range extender to generate electricity to power the electric motor, while simultaneously sustaining minimum charge in the battery pack.


Renault ZOE Preview

Renault has an alliance with Nissan for the development of electric vehicles, with the two companies sharing technologies. Renault has produced a car that is smaller than the Nissan LEAF, in the form of the ZOE. The ZOE Preview is around a 90 per cent accurate likeness of the final production version. It’s a Clio-sized car designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle, and featuring Renault’s new design style. It has a top speed of 84 mph and a range of 100 miles, together with a 0-62 mph time of 8.1 seconds. The ZOE will be available from mid-2012 and Renault claims that it will be a similar price to a Clio diesel, in other words, around £15,000 after the UK government grant (if it still exists), so it will be much cheaper than the LEAF.


Renault Fluence

The Renault Fluence Z.E. is a four-door, five-seat saloon that goes on sale in the UK during the first half of 2012, priced from £17,850, after the deduction of the £5,000 Plug-In Car Grant. There’s also a lithium-ion battery monthly hire cost of £69.60 per month including VAT, based on 9,000 miles per year and a three-year agreement.


Renault Kangoo

The electric Renault Kangoo Z.E. (two-seater) and Kangoo Maxi Z.E. (five-seater) van will reach showrooms in just a matter of weeks. It will be on sale from November 2011 in the UK from £16,990 excluding VAT, with monthly battery hire from £60 (6,000 miles and 3 years).


Renault Twizy

The Renault Twizy is basically a four-wheeled electric scooter, with two seats, one behind the other, and better occupant protection than a two-wheeled version. The Twizy is due to go on sale in the UK in early 2012 alongside the Fluence ZE. The Twizy weighs 450 kg, including the 100 kg batteries, has a 60-mile range, and a top speed of 47 mph. A full charge of Twizy’s batteries takes three and a half hours using a domestic supply. The Twizy features a range of up to 62 miles on a single charge, and costs from only £6,690 including VAT. Its monthly battery hire cost is £40 including VAT for a three year and 4,500 miles per year agreement.


Mitsubishi i-MiEV/Citroen C-Zero/Peugeot iOn

The electric Mitsubishi i-MiEV has been around for a while. It’s based on a petrol car rather than being a clean-sheet electric design. It’s almost as refined to drive as the Nissan LEAF, but it’s not as big. Its narrow width makes it great for driving in urban areas, but doesn’t make it great for family use. However it can still seat four people, can reach 81 mph, and has a range of 93 miles. It’s priced at £23,990 (after the £5,000 government electric car grant). The electric Citroen C-Zero and Peugeot iOn are both essentially Mitsubishi i-MiEVs.


smart fortwo electric drive

The smart fortwo looks like it should have been an electric car from the start. Its miniature size mates well with an electric powertrain – in our view it’s better to drive than the petrol and diesel-powered versions with their frustrating gearboxes. The fortwo ed has been around as a trial for over two years, with 100 cars leased to a very limited audience. The ed can travel up to 72 miles between charges, which typically take around 8 hours for a full charge. It achieves the equivalent of 300 mpg and has an electronically-limited top speed of 60 mph. The smart fortwo ed is fine for city use, but it doesn’t have the performance or range to drive it outside of city limits.



The French-German Mia Electric MicroBus is available as a three or four-seater, and has been designed by the former Volkswagen chief designer Murat Günak. It has a central driver’s seat enabling the driver to get in and out of the car on both sides. There are three models of the vehicle, the mia, mia L, and mia box van. The four-seat mia L has three back seats. The three-seat model weighs only 750 kg including the standard 8kWh battery and has a top speed of around 66 mph. The standard lithium ion phosphate battery is capable of covering a distance of around 50 miles and it can be fully charged in three hours using a regular household power outlet. As an option, a more powerful 12 kWh battery is also available. The Mia costs from 23,500 Euros, the Mia L starts at 24,500 Euros, and the Mia box van starts at 22,500 Euros.


Volkswagen up!

A variety of the forthcoming Volkswagen up! models were on show for the first time at Frankfurt, ranging from the petrol version, to the electric up!, and various beach buggy-type concepts. The forthcoming Volkswagen up! will be available with a new generation of three-cylinder petrol engines, including a BlueMotion Technology version with sub-100g/km CO 2
emissions. There are also plans for an electric up!


Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4

The new Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4 , the world’s first full diesel hybrid, is now on sale, with 99 g/km CO 2
emissions and fuel economy of 74 mpg – along with 200bhp and the ability of four-wheel drive, as well as a zero emission mode. There is a 99 g/km CO 2
model priced at £26,995, and a 104 g/km CO 2
model at £28,495.


Volvo V60 Plug-in hybrid

The Volvo V60 plug-in hybrid is a significant car because it’s a Volvo estate with great performance, all-wheel drive, and 49 g/km CO 2
emissions, equating to 150 mpg. It also has 640 Nm torque, 285 hp, a 0-62 mph time of just 6.9 seconds, and a top speed of 124 mph. It offers around 30 miles zero-emission driving range. The V60 plug-in hybrid is due to go on sale in the UK in 2012.


Infiniti M35h

The petrol/electric hybrid system of the Infiniti M35h saloon produces 364PS, giving a 0-62 mph time of 5.5 seconds, combined with CO 2
emissions of 162 g/km and 40.4 mpg, and it’s now on sale in the UK at £46,840, just £1,180 more than the equivalent Infiniti M30d.


Lexus GS450h

The new Lexus GS450h has completely new styling, but the big news is that the emissions from its V6 petrol engine and hybrid powerplant have dropped from 179 g/km to 145 g/km CO 2
, which is highly impressive for a car that can accelerate from 0-62 mph in just 5.9 seconds.


Toyota Prius+

The Toyota Prius+ is a people-carrier version of the Prius, using the same petrol-electric hybrid technology as the base car. It will deliver sub-100g/km CO 2
emissions and is the first vehicle in Europe to offer the versatility of seven seats with the benefit of a full hybrid powertrain.


Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid

The Prius Plug-in Hybrid is the most technically advanced Prius yet, with CO 2
emissions potentially as low as 49 g/km. The Prius hybrid primarily runs on its petrol engine rather than an electric motor. However the difference with this version is that you can plug it in to the mains to recharge it. This gives you a much larger zero-emission range – up to 12.5 miles at speeds up to 62 mph – on its batteries and electric motor before the petrol engine kicks in. The result is 108.6 mpg and 59 g/km CO 2
. You can’t buy it yet but first UK deliveries are due in early 2012. In preparation for this, around 600 vehicles are currently taking part in demonstration lease programmes worldwide, including 20 in London. The car’s EV driving range in real-world testing has exceeded nine miles.


Ford Focus ECOnetic Technology

The new Ford Focus ECOnetic Technology will deliver 89 g/km CO 2
, equivalent to 83.1 mpg. This should make it the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid family (C-segment) car available in Europe when it goes on sale in Europe in mid-2012. The Focus will also be available with a new 3-cylinder 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine with less than 120g/km CO 2


Ford Fiesta ECOnetic Technology

The new Ford Fiesta ECOnetic Technology – the first Fiesta with Auto-Start-Stop technology – delivers 87 g/km and 85.6 mpg, and it had its debut at Frankfurt. The Fiesta ECOnetic Technology uses a five-speed manual transmission that also has been optimised to eliminate frictional losses. Enhanced gear ratios with a longer final drive mean the Fiesta should prove highly economical on longer motorway journeys.


Ford Focus Electric

Ford also plans to launch an all-electric Focus in 2012 following trials of the technology in the previous-generation Focus BEV .


Ford Focus C-Max hybrid / Ford Focus C-Max plug-in hybrid

Ford already has considerable experience with hybrids, but in North America rather than the UK, where the company has focused on diesels. However hybrids and plug-in hybrids are part of Ford’s plan in Europe, and this technology was showcased at Frankfurt in the Ford C-Max .


Mazda CX-5

The new Mazda CX-5 compact crossover will be the first of Mazda’s ‘new generation’ of vehicles using SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY, and it promises sub-120g/km CO 2
emissions. SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY includes all-new Mazda petrol and diesel engines, manual and automatic transmissions, and new bodies and chassis. The engine line-up for the European specification CX-5 will include Mazda’s SKYACTIV-G 2.0 petrol engine and SKYACTIV-D 2.2 diesel engine, which will be available in Standard Power and High Power versions. Each engine has a compression ratio of 14:1 for improved efficiency. Mazda has targeted CO 2
emissions of less than 120 g/km for the SKYACTIV-D 2.2 engined model – which has front-wheel-drive, SKYACTIV-MT manual transmission and i-stop fuel-saving technology.


MINI Coupe

Frankfurt saw the world premiere of the MINI Coupé , the first two-seater in the current range. The main visual difference between the MINI Hatch and the Coupe is the roofline, which falls from behind the occupants to the rear of the car. It will be offered from launch with a choice of four engine variants including the powerful yet efficient SD. The forthcoming two-seater MINI Coupé is designed to be the most driver-focused MINI yet, however it will also promise economy of up to 65.7 mpg. The 143 hp MINI Cooper SD Coupé will have a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesel engine with a 0–62 mph time of 7.9 seconds, a top speed of 134 mph, average fuel consumption of 65.7 mpg and CO 2
emissions of 114 g/km.


BMW 520d ED

There was also the world premiere of the BMW 520d EfficientDynamics Edition , with fuel consumption of 62.8 mpg, and CO 2
emissions of 119 g/km. The 520d EfficientDynamics will have a company car benefit-in-kind taxation band of only 13 per cent, although its 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine still produces 184 hp and 380 Nm of torque. The new model is on sale now priced from £30,435.


BMW X1 sDrive 20d ED

There was also the world premiere of the BMW X1 sDrive20d EfficientDynamics Edition , with fuel consumption of 62.8 mpg and CO 2
emissions of 119 g/km, becoming the cleanest and most economical BMW X product ever. Powered by a 163 bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, the car will attract a company car taxation band of only 13 per cent for business drivers. The BMW X1 xDrive20d EfficientDynamics starts at £25,715 and is on sale now.


BMW 1 Series

The new BMW 1 Series was premiered at Frankfurt. The all-new, second-generation BMW 1 Series will be the first production BMW to break the 100 g/km CO 2
barrier thanks to the 99 g/km and 74.3 mpg BMW 116d EfficientDynamics. However you’ll have to wait for this model. In the meantime, at launch the 116d will emit 117 g/km CO 2
, the 118d 118 g/km, and the 120d 119 g/km – yet all will achieve the same 62.8 mpg – suggesting a little bit of fixing has been going on with setting the emission levels.


Kia Rio

The new three-door Kia Rio was previewed at Frankfurt. However the big news is that the 1.1 CRDi version will emit just 85 g/km CO 2
along with 88 mpg, making it one of the UK’s most economical cars. The new Kia Rio will be available with four engines – two petrol and two diesel – including the 1.1-litre three-cylinder turbodiesel. Fitted with 15-inch wheels and Kia’s EcoDynamics fuel-saving technologies – including Intelligent Stop & Go engine technology, low rolling resistance tyres, a drag-reducing front grille, gearshift indicator and rear spoiler – this model is capable of 88.3 mpg, with CO 2
emissions of only 85 g/km.

Paul Clarke


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