A bit of break from home automation for you this week, as a couple of mates and I visited the Geneva Motor Show over the weekend. And with a silly-o-clock start it is doable as a day-trip from Belfast.
We drove to the Airport in the Leaf, but that probably didn’t quite off-set our dirty air journey. The flight out took just 1 hour and 40 minutes and we touched down in Switzerland at 8am (9am local time) after we were treated to a stunning approach along Lake Geneva with the Alps as a snowy backdrop.
The Palexpo exhibition centre is just a 10 minute walk from the arrivals hall at the airport and is made up of a series of huge halls that host the event.
We did this same trip three years ago, but this time it was incredible how many more EVs there were, and not just the ones from the unheard of startups either, the mainstream motoring manufacturers have now all turned up with electric cars too.
This years show had been billed as a bit of an EV-fest by much of the motoring press, and they weren’t wrong. One of the highlights for me was the cool new Polestar 2, a full battery electric vehicle (BEV) from the Volvo owned brand. It’s available to pre-order now at €59K and there’s a €39K version promised a year into production which will make it perhaps the closest rival to the Tesla Model 3.
Tesla Model 3
Although Tesla didn’t have a stand at the show, there was a Model 3 on display at one of the charging equipments stands. This was the first time I’d seen the car in the flesh and I can confirm the oft quoted experience that it does indeed look even better in real life. Roll on right hand drive production.
Honda have promised you’ll be able to order their uber cool 5-door ‘e’ later in 2019, although you’ll probably have to wait until 2020 to actually take delivery. They’ve aimed it very much at the urban market with a 120 mile range and a price that the pundits predict will be between £25K to £30K.
Another head turner was the new Peugeot e-208. It’s another mouth watering prospect that will bring a 200 mile range in a handsome super-mini package.
In fact the Peugeot stand in general was very cool, especially this stunning e-legend concept car. Despite those amazing lines it doesn’t look like it will see production though.
While Hyundai were not at the show Kia were and we had the opportunity to get our fist look around the e-Niro. This is the EV that shares a platform with the popular Kona and while it’s not as pretty as it’s little sister, some people may find this larger car more practical. Hopefully Hyundai can ramp up production of this near-300 mile range 64kWh car so the waiting list can come down.
The new Kia Soul was on the stand too and we love it. Perhaps this new version will be the one that can make the electric version as popular in the UK as the petrol version is in the USA.
Another of my favourite cars in the ‘actually being made, could even be affordable’ category is the Seat el-Born. This is being built on the same MEB platform as the VW I.D. which was strangely absent from the show despite reportedly being available to pre-oder from this May. The Seat is scheduled for arrival in the first half of 2020 with 62kWh battery and around 261miles of range.
The Seat Minimo is like a Renault Twizy with proper windows. Cool idea and all, but it’s probably more of an alternative for moped owners living in the South of France, than Leaf drivers from Belfast. Still, it was a head turner.
Audi e-tron GT & Q4 e-tron
Sticking with the VW Group, the Audi stand was headed down the EV route too. The e-tron GT is Audi’s version of the Porsche Taycan (another EV that was conspicuously absent from the show).
The Q4 e-tron concept is a smaller version of Audi’s first EV that’s named simply ‘e-tron’ (confused yet?). This mid-sized crossover is confirmed for a late 2020 arrival.
Mercedes-Benz are entering the battery electric vehicle world with the EQC. A quality car as you’d expect from the three-pointed star (running the MBUX system), but some how a little ordinary. Due at the end of this year.
Mercedes is the parent company of Smart and this funky little concept on their stand is called ‘forease’. Staff on the stand told us the company is due to stop production of internal combustion powered cars in the next few months and switch their focus entirely to EVs.
This is a new one on me, the Altroz from India’s Tata Motors. Bit reminiscent of a Chevy Bolt, due in 2021.
The New Fiat Panda EV?
Another little modern-retro urban EV, this time from Fiat. The concept is named Centoventi but it looks like this could be a good pointer towards the EV version of the Panda. It even had a little furry toy panda sitting on the front seat, just to tease us.
EV Supercars & Hypercars
The world of supercars and hypercars is rapidly moving to all Electric. So many exotic Italians have been embarrassed by Tesla’s big old 4 seater family saloon that finally the penny is dropping as to where the future lies. Here’s the Pininfarina Battista, the Rimac C_Two and a wild Giugiario designed concept, the GFG Style Kangaroo…
Most of the tempting metal above all comes with the caveat of ‘coming next year’. While it seems like it’s been that way for a while now with electric cars, it’s very clear that the mainstream EV revolution really is almost upon us. 2020 is stacking up to be a bit special if you’re in the market for a BEV. Once we have that much better selection available, hopefully falling battery prices and much more competition will start to make things more affordable too.
And Home Again
We had arrived at the first hall shortly after 9:30am local time and we left at closing. Even though we were there for over 9 hours there was so much to see that we could easily have spent a second day.
But it was time to head home and easyJet had us back on the ground at Belfast International Airport 15 minutes ahead of schedule with a 1 hour 50 return flight time. I arrived back home before midnight, around 20 hours after we’d set off that morning and with 27% remaining on the Leaf. Thanks to Darren and Reinis for a fantastic day and great company. Our electric future truly is just around the corner.
Check out some more photos from our trip in the gallery below