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Charged up Geneva!

S. Muralidhar | Updated on March 16, 2011 Published on March 16, 2011

Nissan ES Flow   -  BUSINESS LINE

Hyundai Veloster   -  BUSINESS LINE

Peugeot 3008 Hybrid 4   -  BUSINESS LINE

Jaguar XK-RS   -  BUSINESS LINE

Range Rover Plug-in Hybrid   -  BUSINESS LINE

Audi A3 Concept   -  BUSINESS LINE

Aston Martin Cygnet   -  BUSINESS LINE

Rolls Royce 102 EX   -  BUSINESS LINE

Porsche Panamera Hybrid   -  BUSINESS LINE

Lamborghini Aventador   -  BUSINESS LINE

Bentley SuperSports ISR   -  BUSINESS LINE

Volkswagen Tignan   -  BUSINESS LINE

Ferrari FF   -  BUSINESS LINE

Volkswagen Microbus   -  BUSINESS LINE

Though it is not the first motor show of the year and only recurs every March, the Geneva Motor Show often sets the trend for the rest of the year’s shows. It is also a good barometer of the automobile industry’s current state.

This year’s edition of the Geneva Show was exactly that. There was a lot of evidence that the recession story and the slowdown that came after maybe a thing of the past. The premieres and unveilings that were made raised hopes and actually stirred up a lot of excitement. Of course, there was also a fair share of concepts, a unique feature often at Geneva – concepts that point towards the future path of the industry.

This year’s edition was again loaded with electric concepts and a further popularisation of hybrids. Are they being developed for just meeting legislation that is getting more stringent by the year? Not really. The future for hybrids is very bright and it is very possible that most cars within a decade will be plug-ins or at least some form of hybrid technology too.

Geneva 2011 had both really quirky and really promising hybrids and all-electrics. Take the Volkswagen Bulli concept for example. Volkswagen has reinterpreted the compact form of its automotive legend called Bulli or Microbus, and has given it a futuristic touch in the form of a concept vehicle for a new generation.

VW Bulli

Looking very much like its iconic microbus of the 1950s, the new Bulli concept is powered by an electric motor and fitted with six seats and infotainment control via an Apple iPad. Its electric motor outputs 85 kW of power and an impressive 270 Newton metres of torque. The silent motor is supplied with energy from a lithium-ion battery with a maximum storage capacity of 40 kWh.

This electrifying combination enables driving ranges of up to 300 km – a high value for an electric car. The new Bulli accelerates from 0 to 100 kmph in 11.5 seconds, and its top speed is 140 kmph (electronically limited). In terms of dimensions, it’s also only as long as the VW Polo. Apparently, it stands a good chance of going into production.

Electric Rolls?

The other most talked about electric car concept at this year’s Geneva Motor Show was the Rolls-Royce 102EX. It is the world’s first battery electric vehicle for the ultra-luxury segment and continues a tradition of experimental cars running through the model generations. 102EX bears the famous hallmarks of the Rolls-Royce Phantom on which it is based, such as hand craftsmanship, fine detailing and iconic design cues like the pantheon grille and the Spirit of Ecstasy (though in frosted glass) which celebrates its centenary in 2011.

However, at the core of its design is the essence of an experimental vehicle, establishing this car’s status as a test bed, while subtly alluding to its electric power plant. It is thought to have the largest passenger car battery in the world. Peak current is 850A, delivered at 338V DC. Overall capacity is 71kWh. An electric Rolls-Royce Phantom…unbelievable? Believe it. Who knows it might go into production in a couple of years.

Land Rover Range_e

Land Rover’s first fully capable 4WD, Plug-in Diesel is based on the Range Rover Sport and is equipped with an advanced plug-in hybrid diesel-electric powertrain that Land Rover expects to make available in future production models, following the scheduled launch of its diesel-electric hybrid in 2013. Range_e uses the current 245 PS 3.0-litre TDV6 diesel engine, working with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission and a 69kW electric motor. Using a parallel hybrid system, with a 14.2kW/h lithium-ion battery that can be recharged from an external 240V power source, the Range_e can be driven on electric power alone for more than 20 miles (32km), with zero harmful tailpipe emissions.

Apart from these there were many other electrics and hybrids including concepts such as the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-CELL, the Nissan ESFLOW sport concept, the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid 4 and the Porsche Panamera Hybrid.

Despite all that focus on electricity, this year’s Geneva Motor Show also rekindled hopes that performance motoring still has a bright future, with at least two fantastic new super luxury, super performance cars being displayed. More details about the Ferrari FF are given in the next page. The other one of course was the Lamborghini Aventador.

Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4

This new Lambo flagship replaces the Murcielago and boasts an innovative concept, entirely new technology package, unique and powerful functional design language and innovative carbon-fibre monocoque. A new twelve-cylinder with 6.5 litres displacement, produces a mind-blowing 515 kW / 700 bhp of peak power and brings together the ultimate in high-revving pleasure with astonishing low-end torque. Thanks to a dry weight of only 1,575 kilograms (3,472 lb), which is extremely low for this class of vehicle, the weight-to-power ratio stands at only 2.25 kilograms per hp. Even the 0-100 kmph acceleration figure of just 2.9 seconds and the top speed of 350 kmph do not fully describe the Aventador’s extreme performance. And yet, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are down by around 20 per cent compared with its predecessor, despite the considerable increase in power (up 8 per cent).

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Published on March 16, 2011
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