YOU can sense and feel the ‘electric’ buzz at today’s Frankfurt Motor Show.
It’s all (well nearly all) about EVs – from Volkswagen’s ID small family car that will cost from under €30,000 late next year (there will be a sub-€40,000 limited launch version by summer) to concepts such as BMW’s i Hydrogen Next that previews a future Fuel-Cell car.
EV concepts that only a couple of years ago would have been regarded as flights of fancy have taken on a hard-edged reality.
They are, in essence, your electric car of the imminent future – part of the one million or so EVs the government wants on Irish roads by 2030.
Who would have imagined, for example, that Volkswagen would go so all-out on electric this time four years ago when the Dieselgate scandal rocked it to its core and changed the world of motoring forever? No other single event propelled the push to electric more forcefully than the diesel scandal.
Even the new Land Rover Defender, the hard-core symbol of fossil-fuel power for so long, has electrified versions (mild and plug-in hybrids) as well as its diesels.
It got an emotional response when unveiled here this morning. Don’t worry, it still is claimed to be the best off-roader in the business; an icon reborn as a tough upmarket 4×4.
Everywhere I look in my trawl through exhibition hall after exhibition hall (it is a massive spread of a show) is full of EV promise – albeit low-key in many instances.
Here is just a sample: BMW is previewing the next-gen 4 Series and i4 with stunning-looking concepts, the Hyundai 45 Concept shows that brand’s design direction for future EVs.
Porsche’s new Taycan is being hailed as the car to set new EV benchmarks. Mercedes has the new EQS electric flagship concept lined up in a massive display of EV and electrified cars coming quite soon. The 470bhp luxury EV Vision EQS will be the most sophisticated Merc so far when it arrives in 2021.
Cupra shows its Tavascan EV concept, Skoda has its Citigo-e iV. KIA has a plug-in version of its newly launched and already much praised XCeed urban compact crossover. Again, it’s one of several KIAs that will be ‘electrified’.
The electric Honda E is now a 5dr and used cameras instead of door mirrors. There is a hole in the bonnet to let the charge point through. It’s cute, somehow.
Lamborghini’s Sian 808bhp hypercar is a hybrid and makes its public debut here . . .
The list of cars with the word ‘electric’ or ‘hybrid’ in their name appears to go on and on.
But thankfully there are some exceptions to what is now the EV rule. Audi is showing its hot SQ8 new flagship SUV, their redesigned RS7 has a good old stonking powerful V8 that pumps 591bhp.
Almost predictably, Volkswagen stole the show – by revealing their new ID electric car last night – before the real gig got under way.
The basic version will cost Irish buyers €30,000 after the €5,000 VRT rebate and €5,000 SEAI grant are deducted.
And several more EVs from Volkswagen are due over the next few years.
The car is as compact as a Golf but as roomy inside as a Passat.
And Volkswagen are sending a clear signal on price to rivals such as the Nissan LEAF.
There will be a super-duper special launch edition in Ireland this summer for under €40,000 after grants. But most buyers will have to wait until late 2020 to buy the lower-priced versions.
Four years ago motoring was plunged into chaos after Dieselgate.
Today, it’s as if all that happened in a different world.
The thing is – it is a different and it’s electric.