Manufacturers have been busy revealing their electric and hybrid cars of the future across the world. Nissan, Infiniti and Jaguar took the covers off their latest alternatively fuelled vehicles at gala events in Japan, America and London.
However, earlier this week all eyes turned on Germany, as manufacturers flocked to the Frankfurt Motor Show to reveal their hands. Here’s what caught our eye.
German maker BMW will be looking to capitalise on the halo effect of its i8 sports car, with the introduction of a new breathed-on i3s. As well as revealing a new look for the standard model and range extender, the manufacturer uncovered a tuned version with 181bhp, new lower suspension and sportier looks.
Also available in range extender mode – where a small petrol engine acts as a generator to recharge the battery – the i3s will hit 60mph 6.7 seconds. That’s just 0.4 seconds quicker than the standard model with a top speed improved by just 6mph to 99mph. Prices are up £1,000 across the range, starting from £34,070. Orders are being taken from November.
The EQA Concept signals the start of Mercedes’ electric car onslaught and will be one of 10 electric cars the maker plans to have on sale by 2022. The EQA is predicted to be the biggest seller in the Mercedes EQ electric line-up, with an expected price tag of less than £36,000 when it goes on sale in 2020.
The EQA will have a range of around 250 miles, will produce more than 268bhp and 500Nm of torque.
Honda CR-V Hybrid
Short of its NSX supercar, there has been a noticeable lack of hybrid models in the Honda range of late. That’s about to change with the CR-V, the first volume hybrid model from the Japanese firm since the Jazz.
Unveiled at Frankfurt, the CR-V features a 2.0-litre iVTEC petrol engine and two electric motors – one powers the front wheels while the second acts as a range extender to recharge the batteries.
The Honda works out how to use fuel and electric energy the most efficiently and switches between EV, hybrid and engine drive when needed. It is due to arrive in late 2018.
Smart Vision EQ
The tiny Smart car has become a staple commuter choice in clogged up cities thanks to its compact dimensions and brilliant turning circle. Now commuters of the future will be able to look forward to a fully autonomous option with zero emissions if Smart gives its Vision EQ concept the green light.
The German manufacturer says by 2030 most members of the public will share ownership of cars, like this concept car, rather than own them and is heavily investing in its Car2Go programme to cater for the demand.
Built in Britain and guaranteeing 4,500 jobs at the firm’s Oxford plant, the Mini Electric is the BMW Group’s big gamble on an emissions-free future. So far few details of the technical specification of the Mini have been released, but expect it to share much of the technology from the BMW i3. That car has around 180-miles of range.
While the details may be sketchy, the design you see here is likely to be very close to the production model that’s slated to arrive in 2019.
Volkswagen ID Crozz
Ignore the ridiculous name, this is Volkswagen’s crossover electric car concept that’s set to spearhead the maker’s foray into EVs. Called the ID Crozz, the high-riding SUV-style car will be just one of 23 all-electric vehicles arriving from the VW Group by 2025 as it invests £5.4bn in alternative fuelled cars.
This concept produces 302bhp and is claimed to have a range of 311 miles. Scheduled to arrive in 2020, it can be charged to 80 per cent in 30 minutes using a fast charger.
Mercedes-AMG Project One
If you’re worried electric or hybrid cars will be boring, think again! This is the Mercedes-AMG Project One which features the same drivetrain used in the firm’s Formula 1 cars. It produces 992bhp, has a top speed of 217mph and can hit 124mph in just six seconds.
Four electric motors give the plug-in hypercar four-wheel-drive and an electric range of 16 miles. However, much like the Porsche 918 and McLaren P1 that went before it, most of the electric power will be used to boost performance. All this comes at a price – £2m at current exchange rates – but don’t rush for your cheque book too soon – they’rw sold out already.
It was the car that kickstarted the electric revolution – now, as the rest of the automotive world unveils its EV future, Nissan is busy taking the wraps off its second generation Leaf. Unveiled in Japan earlier this month, the new Leaf will feature ProPilot autonomous tech which can drive the car in single-lane traffic and park for you.
Built at the Japanese firm’s Sunderland plant, the new car features a fresh look and a range of 235 miles. That’s 111 miles more than the 24kW base version of the outgoing car and beats the current top-of-the-range 30kW model by 80 miles.
Jaguar E-Type Zero
Meet the most beautiful electric car yet to be made – the Jaguar E-Type Zero. Based on the original 1960s design, the Jaguar concept remains true to the classic car’s stunning sleek styling.
It features an electric motor, a smart infotainment system and LED headlights. It is faster than the original too, with a 0-60mph time of just 5.3 seconds and an impressive real world range of 170 miles. Jaguar is said to be currently investigating bringing the model to market.
BMW i Vision Dynamics
BMW has released an electric saloon concept which previews a forthcoming i5 saloon – that will slot neatly between the i3 hatch and i8 sports car. The i Vision Dynamics is a four-door Gran Coupe concept which BMW claims has a range of 373 miles, a top speed of over 120mph and a 0-60mph time of 3.8 seconds.
By 2025, the German manufacturer will have electrified 25 models in its range, 12 of these being fully electric. The i5 is expected to reach showrooms by 2021.
By Ted Welford