The 2018 Geneva Motor Show proved that the electric car has well and truly arrived.
For a number of years Tesla and a handful of offerings from established manufacturers have had the EV segment all to themselves, but lately things have slowly been gaining momentum. Each successive motor show has introduced us to yet another exciting concept. While not many have made it into production there was the distinct feeling that something big was on the horizon. That something big arrived at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show.
But it didn't come in the form of one car but in the shape of a dozen exciting electric-powered concepts and production-ready vehicles from big motor manufacturers. Many big names have been testing the waters for years with hybrids and limited-run EVs, but now the EV revolution has truly started with new electric cars that will take aim at the very best offerings in this exciting segment.
First off, we have the Jaguar I-Pace. This is Jaguar’s first attempt at a pure electric vehicle and based on early accounts it seems to have nailed it on the first take. Performance from the 400-hp twin electric motors eclipse that of the similarly priced Tesla Model X 75D with a 0-60 mph time of 4.5-seconds versus 4.9. It can also be charged to 80% capacity within 45 minutes through the use of a 100kW rapid charger. The 90kWh battery pack also promises a range of close to 240 miles under our own EPA testing procedures.
As with any electric vehicle, it is the instantaneous torque that makes it feel so quick and with 513 lb-ft on tap the I-Pace should be nothing short of forceful in overtaking maneuvers despite weighing in at over 4,500 pounds. The interior is suitably futuristic but not quite as minimalist as a Tesla interior. The best news though is that it is production ready and coming to the US.
The e-tron SUV is not quite production-ready, yet the amount of attention Audi gave its upcoming electric model must have been in an attempt to steal the thunder from rivals like Jaguar. While Audi has been very quiet on the actual technical details, a 300 mile+ range and 500 hp+ power output were hinted at, while the carmaker encouraged show-goers to take pics of their test mules doing the rounds on Geneva’s roads by publishing the test routes. Something of a departure from the usually secretive nature of these tests.
The Urban EV was teased at last year’s Frankfurt show and its retro looks and ultra-modern interior design had many people clamoring for production details. The good news is that Honda has finally announced plans for it to become available in Europe in 2019. The Urban EV promises to incorporate the latest technological features and while technical details are thin on the ground, we do know that it will feature rear-hinged suicide doors and seating for four. It will be the first car to be built on Honda's dedicated EV platform, taking a step towards its Electric Vision for 2030.
The Kona is a production-ready electric crossover that brings the benefits of EV technology closer to the mainstream. Two models will be available at launch, one with a 39.2kWh battery pack and the other with a 64kWh option. The more powerful of the two will be capable of a sub 7.5-second 0-60 mph time and the range vary between 186 and 292 miles, although these figures may change under US EPA testing procedures.
The Zoe has been on sale in Europe for a number of years now. It is similar to the Nissan Leaf in most respects although this newer model is both faster and has a longer range than the Leaf can manage. It has 109-hp and a range of 250-miles under NEDC tests. Why should we be bothered? Well, the future of city driving is moving towards fully electric vehicles and the Zoe may well find its way to our shores as more and more customers embrace the benefits of an EV for their daily commute. Taking the concept a few steps further, the Renault EZ-Go concept showcased the future of urban commuting with fully autonomous capability. A car for those who couldn’t care less about driving.
The Mission E Cross Turismo is a bit closer to reality, and far more exciting for those who enjoy driving. Being a development of the Mission E sports car, it is near production ready. It may have the challenging looks to go with that ungainly name but with over 600 hp and a projected 0-60 mph time of 3.5-seconds, you won’t be around long enough to listen to any bystander’s comments. With an 800-volt electronic system the Cross Turismo is said to be able to fully recharge in a mere 15 minutes, that combined with a 250-mile range should put the frighteners on more than a few competitors when it arrives in 2019.
The Rimac Concept One introduced us to the world of the electric supercar. With over 1,200-hp on offer from four electric motors in each wheel hub, it's quicker than just about any internal combustion competitor around. The Rimac C_Two builds on this concept and now offers over 1900 hp and with it a claimed 0-60 mph time of under 2 seconds.150 units of the C_Two will be built with production starting in 2020. Somewhat uniquely for a car of this type, it is also capable of Level 4 autonomous driving.
The Volkswagen ID has been around in various guises since the first ID hatch of 2016. The latest Vizzion concept may have the weirdest name but it is the most production-like version yet, at least that is from the outside. Peak inside though and you are met with a very advanced cabin, filled with augmented reality controls and a HoloLens virtual interface. What you don’t get is a steering-wheel, or pedals as the Vizzion is giving us a glimpse of a level 5 fully autonomous future.
While most of this technology is some years away, the Volkswagen Vizzion features running gear based firmly in reality. A set of electric motors produces a combined 306 hp and the range is claimed to be an impressive 413 miles on the NEDC cycle from its 111 kWh batter pack.
The ID Vizzion may be pretty futuristic but there are always a handful of fanciful concepts that are more about design philosophy than actual mass production. The Pininfarina HK GT concept is just that, sporting gullwing doors, a glowing interior with spacey design elements and seating for four. The four electric motors provide supercar-rivaling performance thanks to their 1,000-hp output, while the 100-mile range can be extended by either a hydrogen fuel cell, turbine generator or even a good old internal combustion engine. The choice is yours, or not, as the HK GT will remain a concept for the foreseeable future.
Finally, although it is not a pure EV, the Bentayga Hybrid deserves an honorary mention too. Even just a few years back it would have seemed ridiculous to suggest that Bentley would have considered any sort of electrification in its range yet here we are with a PHEV Bentley in an SUV body shell. Combining a 3.0-liter V6 and an electric motor it promises up to 31 miles of full-electric driving, although this figure will quite likely be less in our more stringent EPA tests.