For fans of electric cars, news coming out of the world’s most important motor shows has become increasingly positive over the past few years. Thankfully, the Geneva Motor Show 2018 doesn’t buck that trend, reinforcing the fact that it is full steam ahead for the EV industry.
Geneva is always one of the best places to see important new cars, and this year a large number of the Geneva show stars are electric. We round-up the main highlights after a day of looking at shiny new cars, prodding buttons, and (seemingly the only ones) opening those charging hatches and looking at in-car charge point mapping. Below are our pick of the key new plug-in models.
Hyundai Kona EV
In contention for one of Geneva 2018’s outright show stars is Hyundai’s new all-electric crossover. The Hyundai Kona EV was revealed just last week, and given its public debut at Geneva. Boasting a range of up around 300 miles on the larger of two battery options, the Kona EV sits in the middle of a Venn diagram of two fast-growing markets – crossovers and EVs.
The compact SUV not only has an electric range to compete with and beat the best in its class, it is also nicely styled, well kitted-out, and Hyundai promises competitive and accessible pricing.
Important as the Kona EV is for the electric car market, it perhaps loses out to Jaguar’s I-Pace in terms of grabbing the public’s attention, and exuding that star quality essential for a show-stopper. Jaguar’s first EV looks set to be a good one, with ultra-rapid charging possible, and a range of around 300 miles on a single charge quoted.
Fast, stylish, and a new entrant into the plug-in car market, Jaguar is causing a stir, and that excitement was not quashed at on the JLR stand at Geneva. Initial impressions are that build quality feels much better than Tesla’s, and as the admittedly tiny numbers of ultra-rapid charge points grow, Jaguar will eat into the American EV manufacturer’s USP of shorter charging times than any rivals too. For a first attempt at an EV, Jaguar has done a very good job.
Volkswgen I.D. Vizzion
VW is understandably keen to showcase its forthcoming electric models, and brought out the heavy artillery by presenting four I.D. models – all due within the next four years. The newcomer on this occasion was the I.D. Vizzion, a flagship luxury saloon, with fully-autonomous driving capabilities, high-tech kit, and huge amounts of interior space.
A range of more than 400 miles on a single charge and two electric motors offering all-wheel drive promises much and is all well and good, but it was the other I.D. models that joined the concept on stage that are the most exciting. VW has images of the I.D. next to the Beetle and Golf Mk I such is its importance to the brand, with the all-electric hatch joined by the I.D. Crozz in offering all-electric versions of VW’s best-sellers – the Golf and Tiguan.
Audi was playing games at Geneva with it’s most important new model – at least from Zap-Map’s point of view. Tucked into the corner if its stand, under a big sheet, sat a camouflaged version of its forthcoming e-tron EV SUV.
Set to rival the above Jaguar I-Pace, the e-tron will be officially launched later this year, with 300 miles or so of range, and the sort of premium features you would expect from a Jag or Audi.
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
The latest updates to the ever-improving Outlander PHEV were revealed at Geneva 2018, with a mild face-lift far from the only changes. Under the bodywork, Mitsubishi has made some small but important changes, offering more power and efficiency from both the petrol and electric powertrains.
A new 2.4 litre Atkinson cycle engine is joined by a larger battery – now 13.8 kWh, up from the 12 kWh pack of the current model. The two electric motors have been improved too, with more power available for the driver. Mitsubishi keeps quietly upgrading its popular PHEV SUV and making it better each time.
Renault gave debuts to two models at completely opposite ends of the vehicle spectrum. Very much at the concept end, the EZ-GO is a completely autonomous design study, with all-electric drive and easy access for all. It is designed with urban mobility in mind, and seating in a horseshoe-shaped bench for a community area.
More down to earth was the new Renault Zoe, with its more powerful motor option. The Zoe R110 makes good use of the Z.E. 40 battery pack, and offers greater performance at speed for new buyers.
Geneva saw the European debut of the Polestar 1 – the first model to come from Volvo’s electric performance division. A pure-EV Polestar 2 is a few years off, but the Polestar 1 – due for production next year – is a PHEV able to cover 93 miles on a single charge.
Making good use of Volvo’s burgeoning plug-in powertrain expertise, the performance coupe uses a 2.0 litre petrol engine and two electric motors to offer 600hp, all wrapped up in svelte Swedish styling.
The above list of exciting plug-in models is far from exhaustive. Joining already available models at Geneva – such as the Nissan Leaf and VW e-Golf – were other pieces of shiny newness that warrant a brief word.
EV fans have a halo brand above even Tesla in the shape of Rimac, and the Croatian firm presented its C_Two – the follow up of the rather rapid Concept_One. The C_Two produces a combined 1,408 kW from four electric motors for a quoted 0-60mph time of 1.8 seconds. Range is 403 miles (NEDC) when acceleration runs are reined in a bit, and the top speed is 258mph. It’s the perfect riposte to those who claim EVs are boring.
Less fast but equally striking is the Lagonda Vision Concept. Previewing a model due in 2021, the Vision Concept represents the revival of the Lagonda badge was an ultra-modern luxury brand; think Rolls Royce but even quieter.
Porsche can get close to the Rimac’s face-warping acceleration times though, and presented the Mission E Cross Turismo. A curious mix of EV/estate/crossover, the concept showcased potential Mission E-based models that Porsche will expand its range with.