This year’s Geneva Motor Show may well be a watershed moment in the movement towards the electrification of cars. From tiny superminis to luxurious off-roaders and even hypercars, seemingly everything has the potential for battery power in 2019.
We’ve taken a look at some of the most impressive battery-powered concepts and production-ready vehicles making headlines in Geneva.
Kia ‘Imagine by Kia’ concept
Kia is not messing around when it comes to the future of electric cars, and the special ‘Imagine by Kia’ concept proves it. Yes, the name might be a little weird, but this high-riding four-door crossover features dramatic styling inside and out. A compact electric powertrain sits beneath the swooping exterior.
In fact, Kia has used the Imagine to take a shot at other car manufacturers, and the trend for giant multimedia screens. The Imagine features 21 individual displays across the dashboard, as a “humorous and irreverent riposte” to modern trends.
Alfa Romeo Tonale
Arguably one of the prettiest concept cars making its debut at the Geneva show, this plug-in hybrid SUV manages to stand out against the countless competitors on display in 2019. Not only is it Alfa’s first step into the mid-size SUV category, but also the first car from the Italian brand to feature a plug-in hybrid powertrain.
The name comes from the Tonale Pass, located in the Alps and not far from the Stelvio Pass – which lends its name to Alfa’s current SUV offering. Although pegged as a concept vehicle for now, a production version seems highly likely in the near future.
Volkswagen I.D. Buggy
The Volkswagen Group has a range of concepts on display at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, all making use of the new MEB modular electric platform. Volkswagen has become adept at platform-sharing, and the move to electric vehicles means that attitude will only increase in importance for the company.
The beauty of the modular MEB platform is that it allows different bodies to be added. Volkswagen is even touting the idea of offering it to third-party suppliers, just like dune buggies of old. For now, this is very much a concept, albeit with 204hp from an electric AWD system.
Skoda Vision iV concept
Making use of the same MEB platform, but in a much more production-focused design, Skoda is rightly excited about the Vision iV concept. There’s a dramatic coupe-crossover design, with more than 300hp on offer from the electric drivetrain. The traditional wing mirrors have been replaced by cameras, and the centre console can be moved.
Vegans will be pleased by the vinyl fibres used to finish the seat-backs, while the carpets are made from pure biodegradable wool. Ignoring some of the more fanciful design features, we can expect to see an actual production version of the Vision iV towards the end of 2020.
Audi Q4 e-tron concept
Seemingly even closer to reality than the Vision iV, and naturally using that same MEB platform, Audi’s Q4 e-tron is just one model in the brand’s major electric vehicle strategy. Set to become the fifth production electric vehicle from Audi, the Q4 will go on sale in 2020.
An 82 kWh battery uses almost all the space below the passenger compartment, but allows for a range of up to 279 miles when fully charged. Top speed is limited to 111mph, but 0-62mph takes just 6.3 seconds.
It’s that Volkswagen MEB platform again, but this time with a Spanish flair to proceedings. Appearing somewhere between a tall hatchback and an MPV, the el-Born will be Seat’s first all-electric car. Expect a range of 261 miles on a full battery, plus the ability to charge to 80% capacity in just 47 minutes.
It might be named after one of Barcelona’s most famous districts, but the forthcoming el-Born will be built in Germany. Volkswagen’s Zwickau factory will be responsible for churning them out, with production slated to begin in 2020.
Honda E Prototype
We were wowed by the original Urban EV concept, and hoped Honda would put it into production unchanged from that cute creation. Thankfully, Honda seems to have listened, with the E Prototype borrowing much of the Urban EV’s style, but in a more practical five-door hatchback body.
Curiously, Honda admitted to designing the production car before the concept version, seeing the show model as necessary to generate interest. It certainly worked, and a finished car should go on sale with a battery range of around 125 miles. Perfect for urban life.
At the opposite end of the scale to the Honda, the Battista offers up an astonishing 1,900hp from its electric powertrain. That huge amount of power means 0-62mph in less than two seconds, but all with the smug eco-satisfaction of using electricity.
The Battista marks the first actual production car to be sold under the Pininfarina name alone, with 150 units to be offered to customers. They’ll need to stump up some £2 million for one, but that seems almost reasonable for the performance on offer. That it looks rather a lot like a Ferrari 488 can only be a bonus…
Aston Martin Lagonda All-Terrain
On an Aston Martin stand featuring two shock new supercars, it was almost easy to overlook the importance of the Lagonda All-Terrain. Any other day this would be major news, as Aston sets out its stall for Lagonda to become an all-electric brand.
A production version won’t appear before 2022, and Aston Martin is obviously light on details at the moment. But expect an electric all-wheel-drive setup, long-range battery capabilities and a luxurious interior. Oh, and the key levitates in the centre console using magnets.
Mercedes-Benz Concept EQV
Thought the MPV was dead? Not according to Mercedes-Benz, which is bringing the idea back with electric power. In fact, the MPV concept is perfectly suited to electric propulsion, as the battery packs can fit neatly beneath the flat floor of the EQV.
Although billed as a concept vehicle, this looks fairly close to being ready for production. A 100 kWh battery pack offers up to 250 miles of range, while the interior can be configured to seven- or eight-seater layouts. Not sexy, but a practical EV future.
Skoda Klement electric bike concept
Not content with creating electric concept cars, Skoda has also unveiled a concept bike in Geneva. An electric motor attached to the rear hub generates 4kW, allowing for a top speed of up to 28mph. Thankfully, the brakes feature ABS assistance.
Given that Skoda began life manufacturing bicycles, the Klement is a neat nod to the history of the company. Although we imagine LED lights and an electric range of 39 miles are ideas Skoda’s founding fathers could only have dreamt of.
Another genuine surprise at this year’s Geneva show, the Centoventi is a 120th anniversary present from Fiat to itself. Radical in nature, the styling previews what is expected to be the next version of the Panda city car. Fiat is mooting the idea of selling them only in one colour, with buyers able to have panels wrapped to their own preferences later.
Even more radical is the electric powertrain underneath. A sliding rail connects the battery packs, allowing more to be quickly added to boost range, with a maximum of 310 miles. The tailgate can be used to display digital messages, and the roof also acts as a solar panel.