Geneva shows

electric potential

Imagine concept by Kia, side
Imagine concept by Kia, interior
Kia Niro
Kia e-Soul
Kia stand at Geneva Motor Show 2019
Audi Q4 e-tron concept
Peugeot e-208
Peugeot 508 SW PHEV
Fiat Centoventi, front
Fiat Centoventi, interior
Fiat Centoventi, rear
Honda E Prototype
SsangYong Korando
Volkswagen ID Buggy
Volkswagen Passat GTE
Bentley Continental GT Number 9 Edition by Mulliner
Toyota Corolla Trek
Toyota Supra
Aston Martin Vanquish Vision concept, front
Mazda CX-30
Mazda3 saloon
Nissan IMQ concept
Skoda Kamiq

THE electric revolution is under way with car makers rushing to clean up their acts at this year's Geneva Motor Show.

Leading the way were Kia, Peugeot and Audi who showed off nothing other than electrified models - but then so did virtually all other auto brands.

Kia gave a world premiere to its Imagine concept car - the Korean manufacturer's first pure electic four-door car - while it also showed off its new e-Soul crossover which was making its European debut alongside a new Niro model complete with Kia's new Uvo connectivity system.

And Emilio Herrera, Kia's chief operating officer for Europe, set out the marque's electrification plans, telling the Geneva audience: "Electrification is a key element of Kia's European and global growth straegy, with one in eight Kia cars sold in Europe today featuring an electrified powertrain.

"Where many manufacturers are still talking about their future plans and intentions for electrification, advanced powertrains have formed a growing proportion of Kia's European sales for a number of years already.

"With the Soul EV and upgraded Niro range reveale, and more electrified powertrains on the way, out electric vehicle growth will only continue."

Audi revealed new e-tron models including an all-electric Q4 concept while Peugeot took the wraps off its new 208 supermini which will be available with both conventional and electrified powertrains.

With CO2 emissions on the rise - largely fuelled by the slump in diesel sales - electrification is key in the fight to improve air quality.

With many car manufacturers including Jaguar Land Rover, Vauxhall, Ford and Volvo absent from Geneva, the message from those that were there was clear - being electric is the way ahead.

Toyota, which pioneered the hybrid age, had its new British-built Corolla range on display including an SUV-inspired Trek version as well as the regular hatchback and estates models. There was also the new Supra sports car on display - and that's due for release later this year.

Upmarket sister brand Lexus had its new UX to show off and all cars from the Japanese stable featured petrol-electric power.

Volkswagen unveiled a new Passat alongside an electric take on its famous Beach Buggy of the 1960s - and in plug-in hybrid guise the new Passat is good for almost 100 miles per gallon.

Even more frugal was Peugeot's 508 plug-in which is officially rated at 128mpg with a zero emission range of some 25 miles.

Other new cars at the show were the fifth generation of the Renault Clio which is due for release later this year and a new Mazda line up with the latest Mazda3 hatch and an all-new CX-30 compact crossover.

SsangYong took the wraps off a new Korando SUV while Skoda went compact with its new Kamiq baby crossover which will be joining the Czech brand's other 4x4s, the Kodiaq and the Karoq.

Back on the purely-electric front, Polestar - the Volvo off-shoot now in charge of EV development for the Chinese owned company - had the Polestar 2 on show a year ahead of its release as a zero emission fastback/coupe with prices starting from around £35,000.

British marques Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Aston Martin were proving that specialist auto makers can have an edge over their mass-market counterparts and that business is booming at the luxury end of the spectrum.

Rolls showed off its entire portfolio now bolstered by Black Badge variants of the Wraith and Dawn while Bentley was marking its centenary with what it described as the ultimate collector's version of all-new Continental GT.

Called the Continental GT Number 9 Edition by Mulliner just 100 versions will be built and each harks back to the Bentley Boys' days of the 1930s when the Number 9 was worn by a supercharged Bentley ‘Blower' raced at Le Mans.

Aston had a trio of concepts - all of which are likely to make it into production - and one of them revived the Vanquish nameplate for a new take mid-engined supercar which took centre stage on the company's stand alongside a design concept for a new hypercar - the AM-RB 003 - and the battery-powered Lagonda All-Terrain Concept.

And Woking-based McLaren announced it was to enter the gran turismo market with a new GT which according to company boss Mike Flewitt will have its roots in the McLaren Speedtail supercar.

Nissan, which builds its Leaf electric car at its Sunderland factory, gave a hint of its EVs of the future with the IMQ concept while it also revealed that by 2022 it would be launching its e-Power system in Europe.

E-Power cars have a gasoline engine which generates electricity to drive a motor which powers the vehicle and the technology has already proved a hit in Japan on the Nissan Note.

Honda, which will be closing its UK factory in 2021, had its E Prototype on show alongside hybrid versions of the CR-V SUV and also announced its intention to have a completely hybridised or electric range across the globe by 2025.

But just to prove that going clean can be practical and fun Fiat had a new take with its Concept Centoventi - a car it has developed to mark its 120 anniversary.

Fiat describes it as the answer to electric mobility and the Centoventi has a modular approach with a variable number of batteries which can be used to give it a range of up to 310 miles and a personal take on colour and interior design which can be specified exactly as you want.

There's also a system which flashes up messages on the back of the car and whether that be for fun or serious alerts it's a great use of technology - as is so much of what's on show at Geneva this year.


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