Geneva Motor Show 2018 report

The Geneva Motor Show is one of the most prestigious events on the automotive calendar, and each year it never fails to deliver more than its fair share of important new cars.

This year proved no exception, with a greater highlight on green models than ever before. The influence of electrified powertrains across almost every brand was highlighted by the fact that the majority of the Geneva 2018 show stars had an electric motor of some sort as part of its design - be that hybrid, plug-in hybrid, pure-electric, or hydrogen fuel cell.

After a busy day getting the latest news from the show, here Next Green Car rounds-up the headlines from the Geneva Motor Show 2018.

Hyundai-Kia at Geneva 2018

Geneva 2018 - Hyundai Nexo Hyundai Kona EV

Hyundai in particular had a very busy show on the green car front, with a new concept revealed and the recently launched Kona EV taking centre stage alongside the Nexo FCEV.

The Kona EV had its public debut at Geneva, and looks set to be one of the most important cars of 2018. A driving range of around 300 miles is quoted for one of two versions set to be available later this year. That class-leading range, combined with an accessible price and best-selling crossover styling, puts the Kona EV on the front foot - not just in the EV market but in its class too.

Sitting alongside the Kona EV on the Hyundai stand was the Nexo hydrogen fuel cell SUV. With a range of around 500 miles on a tank available, the Nexo boasts much better interior space than the ix35 Fuel Cell it is due to replace, thanks to it being designed from the outset as an FCEV. The interior is not only more spacious, but it is also of a very high quality, making the Nexo a viable model for those within reach of the currently sparse hydrogen refuelling infrastructure.

The rest of the Hyundai feature stand was taken up by its new Santa Fe, and the Le Fil Rouge concept, the latter representing a vision of Hyundai's future design language and connected car technology. Interestingly, the majority of Hyundai's overall stand was taken up with green cars, with the IONIQ joining the Kona EV and Nexo as the key feature models.

Sister brand Kia by contrast had little to showcase in terms of new green cars, with the Ceed it's most important presentation. It did though highlight its strong existing plug-in line-up, with the Niro and Optima PHEVs, and Soul EV all parked up side by side.

Jaguar Land Rover at Geneva 2018

Geneva 2018 - Jaguar I-Pace

The big news for JLR at Geneva was the new I-Pace, launched just a few days before the motor show kicked off. Therefore, the EV SUV received its public debut at Geneva, and to great acclaim.

Details like its 300 mile driving range, ultra-rapid charging capability, and high performance powertrain were already reported on, but the I-Pace feels a well built and quality product. Considering Tesla is in a league of one currently in terms of premium EVs, competition from the likes of Jaguar is welcomed, for not only increased choice, but manufacturers forcing rivals to up their game.

Also on the Jaguar Land Rover stand this year were the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport P400e PHEVs, with JLR featuring a fair amount of plug-in models on display. The pure-electric I-Pace was very much the key model though, supported by the I-Pace eTrophy single-make racing car, and Jaguar's current Formula E challenger.

Volkswagen at Geneva 2018

Geneva 2018 - Volkswagen I.D.

Volkswagen's big emphasis at Geneva this year was the I.D. all-electric brand, with models confirmed for production in the next few years. The new model at Geneva was the I.D Vizzion - a fully-autonomous luxury EV, capable of covering more than 400 miles on a single charge, from a 111 kWh battery powering two electric motors.

Although a concept, the I.D. Vizzion represents a production flagship model for the I.D. range, and it was joined on stage by the I.D., I.D. Crozz, and I.D. Buzz - each confirmed for production. The I.D. will kick off an electric product offensive in 2020, with all four I.D. models currently showcased arriving within two years of the launch of the I.D. - a Golf-sized hatch.

Fully-autonomous driving technology combines with facial recognition systems, gesture and voice controls, and a huge interior to create a model that is more Phaeton than Passat - an EV to challenge the likes of BMW's 7 Series and the Mercedes Benz S-Class. Also on Volkswagen's stand were the existing plug-in models - in the shape of the e-Golf, e-up!, Golf GTE, and Passat GTE.

Audi at Geneva 2018

Geneva 2018 - Audi e-tron

Audi's main launch at Geneva was its new A6, with the executive saloon featuring a number of styling and technology features set to return it as a serious challenger to the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes Benz E-Class, and Jaguar XF. Every model will be a mild-hybrid, with a small battery and belt alternator starter motor assisting efficiency figures.

The most intriguing model on the Audi stand though was a sneak peak of the new e-tron. Often kept under wraps and only uncovered for a few minutes at occasional times throughout the show, the forthcoming e-tron was nevertheless kept under close supervision. Not available to walk around, and presented in full testing camouflage, the e-tron is set for it's full launch later this year, and will be available to buy in 2019.

The Audi e-tron will be a direct competitor for Jaguar's I-Pace, with the premium SUV market not only growing significantly, but also set to get two all-electric options with significant 300 mile+ ranges available within around 12 months of each other.

Toyota-Lexus at Geneva 2018

Geneva 2018 - Toyota Auris Lexus UX

The Toyota and Lexus stands had a huge variety of models and powertrains on display, with a focus on hybrid models in the shape of the new Auris and UX respectively. The new Toyota Auris will be available with a choice of two hybrid options or one petrol, with the Japanese giant removing diesel from the family-hatchback range completely in Europe.

For Lexus, the main model was the UX, also available as a hybrid in line with Toyota's electrification strategy. The compact premium SUV will enter a fast-expanding market when it goes on sale later this year, but will be the only model available as a hybrid until Volvo launches plug-in versions of its XC40.

Both models are likely to become high-selling models for Toyota and Lexus, wither updating previously uninspiring efforts of its core model range in the case of Toyota, or adding new options in the case of Lexus.

Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance at Geneva 2018

Renault EZ-Go Nissan Formula E

As the world's largest plug-in car manufacturer, the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance had plenty to live up to at Geneva this year, considering many rivals were upping their electric game. They didn't disappoint either, with an updated and more efficient Outlander PHEV launched, the EZ-GO electric mobility concept from Renault, and the IMx KURO crossover concept from Nissan.

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV gets a new engine, larger battery, more powerful electric motors, and mild facelift to keep the best-selling PHEV moving forward. Renault's EZ-GO on the other hand was a pure concept, looking at easy-access for all and hands-off autonomous driving in urban areas. The EZ-Go was joined by the more down-to-earth Zoe, which was debuting with its new more powerful R110 electric motor option.

Nissan's IMx KURO concept had its European debut at Geneva, but took a more holistic approach to electric cars at the motor show. The new Leaf took up a large proportion of the company's stand, and it was joined by the new Formula E racing car - shown in a concept livery - which Nissan will race from the end of this year.

Nissan also announced that it will offer electrified powertrains in its next generation of crossovers - important since the Juke and Qashqai are best-sellers for the Japanese brand. The ProPILOT semi-autonomous driving system, new 40kWh e-NV200, and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology were also showcased under the Nissan Intelligent Mobility umbrella.

Volvo-Polestar at Geneva 2018.

Volvo V60 TwinEngine polestar 1

Volvo is having a very successful Geneva Motor Show in 2018, with the launch of the new V60 estate, the European launch of electric performance brand Polestar, and the XC40 taking the European Car of the Year 2018 award.

The new V60 - as with all new Volvo models - will be available as a plug-in hybrid, though Volvo is producing two different PHEV variants for the first time in a single model. The new estate was the main focus for Volvo's stand, but the XC40 took up a fair amount of space thanks to its new prize. Although not available yet, Volvo has confirmed the XC40 will be produced both as a PHEV, and also a pure-EV.

The European launch of Polestar brought the stylish Polestar 1 to Geneva, displaying the first model set to arrive from the recently launched performance brand. All Polestar models will be significantly electrified, with pure-EVs on their way. The Polestar 1 in the meantime is a 2+2 hybrid coupe with 600hp and a driving range of more than 90 miles on electric power alone.

Skoda-Seat at Geneva 2018

Skoda Vision X Seat Cupra e-Racer

The two VW Group brands had rather different new green models on show at Geneva. Skoda unveiled the Vision X, an unusual hybrid that features a petrol/CNG-electric powertrain. The use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as a fuel in cars is rare in the UK but relatively popular in Germany and other European markets. However, the hybrid elements showed Skoda's work on an electrified powertrain that features two electric motors.

Seat's show was the first to feature the newly-formed Cupra performance brand, which presented a new all-electric touring car - the Cupra e-Racer. Although a competition race with no place on the road, the Cupra e-Racer nonetheless shows work Seat is putting into electric powertrains. The e-Racer has a peak of 500 kW of power and a continuous 300 kW available, providing a 0-62mph time of just 3.2 seconds. It will be showcased at specially chosen events throughout the rest of the year, but will race in an all-electric touring car series expected from 2019.

Other key green cars from Geneva 2018

Rimac C_Two Porsche Mission E Cross Tourer

Although the major manufacturers above have presented green cars at Geneva this year - and multiple models in many cases - there are a number of smaller manufacturers that showcased cars on note. Starting (surprisingly) with Aston Martin, the British-brand announced the revival of the Lagonda badge with a new Vision Concept. Lagonda will become a zero-tailpipe emission luxury brand with a thoroughly modern outlook, with production models arriving from 2021.

Headline making Rimac unveiled the company's second model at Geneva in the shape of the C_Two (above left). Following on from the Concept-One hyper-EV, the C_Two will go further on each charge,and is both more powerful and faster. Four electric motors produce a combined 1,408 kW (1,914 hp) and 2,300 Nm of torque for a top speed of 258mph and a 0-60mph time of 1.85 seconds (though with one-foot rollout). Range is quoted at 403 miles (NEDC) - though presumably a fair bit shorter if testing those acceleration figures out thoroughly.

Other fast cars included the new Formula E car - which looks suitably striking - as was the Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro, which is a hybrid though very much with the focus on performance.

Noticeable by their absence was Vauxhall/Opel, and of the old-guard Ford's stand was quiet throughout the first press day - with only performance models like the Mustang and GT attracting much attention. The PSA Group saw nothing noteworthy of Next Green Car's attention from Citroen - which focused on the new C4 Cactus - while the only NGC-friendly model from Peugeot was the new 508 saloon. A PHEV version will become available for Peugeot's latest model at a later date.

BMW had its plug-in range on display, with the i8 Roadster and i8 joined by the i3 and i3s on display. They weren't the main focus models though, an attitude matched this year by Mercedes. The Stuttgart firm announced that the existing Smart ed range will become the EQ range, with the EV citycars the first production models to bear Mercedes Benz's electric brand.

Ssangyong presented an electric SUV concept called the e-SIV, which is due for release in production specification in 2020. This is powered by a 61.5 kWh battery for a range of around 280 miles, and will be joined by a Tivoli EV - both expected by 2020.

Bentley launched the Bentayga Hybrid - a PHEV capable of up to 31 miles on electric power with a powertrain also found in the Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid. Porsche itself launched the Mission E Cross Turismo (above right), a concept that showcases potential variants to build on its forthcoming Mission E EV super-saloon.

Click here for more Geneva 2018 news

Chris Lilly

Author:Chris Lilly
Date Updated:7th Mar 2018

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