It’s no surprise that this year’s Salon was full of EV and Hybrid concepts; too many to mention, and in all seriousness until EV proponents can reassure us we need not fear ‘Range Anxiety’, it’s all a bit of BS.
Notable for who was revealing new cars in Geneve, were the companies missing from the show floor at the three giant Palexpo pavilions. Here’s the list of no-shows:
Abarth, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Citroen DS, Ford, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mini and Opel.
However, among the attendees, here’s some highlights:
THE MONSTER MERCEDES
Mercedes-Benz decided that even in the face of declining popularity of passenger cars, the Daimler AG Chairman Dieter Zetsche presented a ‘Monster’ – the Mercedes-Benz AMG GT, guaranteed to be seen on autobahnen travelling at warp speed, and damn the price of gasoline.
SUBLIME & RIDICULOUS
Aston Martin showed off two concepts, one of sheer beauty, the Aston Martin Vision Vanquish, coming to showrooms in 2020; and then the utterly outrageous, and maybe a massive piss-take – the Lagonda All-Terrain EV SUV, complete with 'boat-tail' rear end!
THE BEAUTIFUL & SIMPLY BONKERS
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles took the media from the beauty of the Alfa Romeo Tonale EV concept (no details, so don’t ask);
to the absolutely bonkers Fiat Centoventi city car, which will offer customized body panels (thank God).
THE WHO, THE WHAT, FROM WHERE?
Every year some unknown Chinese makers come to Geneva to show their wares, and the displays are populated by either smart young designers speaking perfect English and able to graphically convince you their concepts are headed for production any day now.
Or the alternative - the stiff, unsmiling Chinese CEOs, unable to communicate in any language except Mandarin, who simply look at the journalist asking questions and shrug their shoulders.
This year we had a GT sports car and an EV SUV from Arcfox (who?) and an EV SUV concept from Aiways (who?). I’ll be surprised if we ever see production versions, or either of these brands pop their heads above the parapet ever again at Geneva, given the huge costs of securing display space at the Salon.
THE REALITY OF OWNING AN EV
Mitsubishi may have shown something automotive on its display, but I was more interested in the Dendo House. This was a means of graphically showing the media how you cope with owning an EV, parking it in your garage at home, and providing battery power to get to work and back.
After my recent experience of charging the Hyundai EV overnight on a 10amp circuit, only to find the battery offered a mere 40% of power next morning, the Dendo House concept clearly shows how much owners of EVs will have to invest for the pleasure of not buying gasoline!
THE MOST INTRIGUING
Anton Piech, yes, son of Ferdinand, and his business partner, Rea Stark Rajcic showed the Piech Mark Zero, a GT coupe EV concept, with air-cooled batteries (reminds me of another air-cooled engine, from the past), which allows the owner to blast down the byways and highways at max velocity for longer than other EV Supercars, whose range is limited either by overheated batteries, or by how prudent its driver is about conserving battery power.
THE FROTH & BUBBLES
Or, should that be Bubbly?
German luxury goods purveyer, MONT BLANC, decided that as Geneva Salon was located in Switzerland, home of all things precise and orderly, it would present its variety of wares using its ambassadors Hugh Jackman and Isabella Fontana.
Something for everyone in that pairing.