Monday, 12 march 2018 | Redacción CEU
Geneva once again becomes the most important European automotive scene of the year, only followed by shows like Paris and Frankfurt that share their prominence on the continent and celebrate their exhibitions alternately each year. In this eighty-eighth edition, the companies have tried to surprise us with more than a hundred European and world scoops, but they have also allowed us to lean out of the window of the automobile future. What new trends do we discover in Palexpo's halls? What direction do the main brands of the market take? What new ideas are in the head of carmakers?
Motor shows not only allow us to get to know the new proposals in which the brands work, each new international event is an opportunity to look at the future of the sector and check the health of the current car industry, especially in events with the international projection and relevance that has The Geneva Motor Show. In this occasion, the firms want to make an emphasize on the figures, the good results and the market recovery, show their potential as electric future leaders, keep their effort on feeding the SUV fever or prove that the autonomous car is increasingly close. On the other hand, between the Palexpo's halls plans the Trump's threat shadow about the imposition of taxes on imports of the European vehicles, the possible and progressive disappearance of diesel and the imperative need to adapt the industry to the new European regulations.
As it has been usual in the last automobile shows, this eighty-eighth edition also shows the turn towards an alternative mobility to fossil fuels. It is not surprising when we consider that diesel is no longer the first European purchase option but gasoline, that the European Commission aims to reduce 40% of greenhouse gases in 2030 or that the legislation of the main cities of the continent bans or limits the circulation of diesel and gasoline vehicles.
Companies are aware that our tomorrow is electric and they do not want to lose the opportunity to position themselves as strong brands in this striking market. In the Swiss show visitors can see, until March 18th, hybrid and electric proposals so different as the plug-in hybrid Polestar 1, the electric and autonomous Volkswagen I.D. VIZZION –we give more details about it below–, the small electric sub-compact car with a "vintage" style Honda Urban EV, the gasoline and CNG hybrid SUV Škoda Vision X or the electric supersport car Rimac C Two that could overtake the selfsame Tesla Roadster.
It seems that some of them are determined to compete for the position that Tesla has in the electric car market, by the way, this is one of the great absentees of The Geneva Motor Show this year. A brand has even tried to get the attention of the firm with its ad. "Your turn, Elon. The first electric compact SUV is here" says the slogan of Hyundai advertising hanging on one of the entrances to the Swiss show that no one doubts to stand out that it could challenge the own Elon Musk. The SUV referred to in the announcement is the Hyundai Kona EV, the first compact crossover of the Korean company that is 100% electric, a vehicle that still has no launch price but which aims to arrive to authorized dealers this summer.
This is one of the Geneva's paradoxes, in a full SUV fever era, vehicles that are characterized by a high consumption of diesel, the automotive market has to reinvent itself and bet on new alternative designs different from fossil fuels. Hyundai is not the only company that has decided to bet on what will surely be a rising trend in the future, the electric SUVs. The first pure electric Jaguar is an SUV, the Jaguar I-Pace. Porsche also follows the way with its short SUV sport car Mission E Cross Tourism and so do Audi and SsangYong with their respective SUVs E-Tron Prototype and E-SIV Concept.
Apart from the strong commitment of brands for new hybrids and electric cars and the growing interest in SUVs, in the halls of this international show, many talk about the future of mobility. How will citizens move in large cities? How will they interact with the vehicles of tomorrow? When will the autonomous cars rise level five?
One of the great starts of the exhibition is the Volkswagen I.D. Vizzion, a sedan with two electric motors that have a surprising autonomy of 665km. A vehicle that most experts cannot avoid comparing with the Tesla Model S. Its first electric version will be launched in 2022, but the German carmaker also intends to have a completely autonomous version for 2030 where the driver intervention is no longer needed. This conceptual model without steering wheels or pedals has a large space designed for the leisure and comfort of the "driver".
The German brand is determined to bet on autonomous driving. So it shows with the improved version of its proposal of the level five self-driving car Volkswagen Sedric. A type of school mini-bus that uses an electric propulsion system, with space for four passengers and that offers a completely different and striking design. This vehicle has windows that reach the ground and open like the subway's coaches to let passengers in. It is powered by a pack of flat batteries placed in the lower part of the passenger’s compartment floor. It is designed both for shared mobility focused on school transport in particular and for particular use.When the occupants get in, they indicate where they want to go and the vehicle takes care of the rest, but not without offering them route options or informing them about the traffic situation before.
Renault also presents in Geneva its concept of autonomous vehicles, EZ-GO, focused on the shared mobility in smart cities, this vehicle reaches a maximum speed of 50km/h and could circulate on the streets in 2022. It is a car with a level four of autonomy also known as "robotaxi" which has a futuristic design and can accommodate up to six people. As a curious fact, passengers access the vehicle through its front door in an upright position and when entering they have seats oriented to the center with enough space so they can stretch their legs. The idea is that the service offered by this vehicle can be booked in stations or through an application.
In Geneva there is also room for flying cars, one of them is the PAL-V Liberty, a three-wheeled vehicle that requires a pilot's license and that will begin to be delivered next year. Another vehicle capable of flying and rolling is the Pop.Up Next, a prototype presented by Audi, Italdesign and Airbus, which was born with the aim of avoiding traffic in cities and takes the shape of a drone, but which can circulate both on roads and up in the air according to the circumstances. Although what is most striking in this edition, perhaps is not the flying cars, but the proposal of the Nissan IMx Kuro Concept to integrate a B2V system –brain to vehicle– designed to connect the brain of the driver to the vehicle and through his brain waves anticipate their movements and desires. The cherry on the top of the cake is that this car is an SUV and it is also 100% electric.
These are just some of the brush-strokes of the future that await to the motor world. At CEU IAM Business School we are aware of the magnitude of the challenges that the automotive industry faces and we have designed a Master's Degree in Automotive Industry Business that will allow you to acquire the solid and necessary knowledge so you can be part of this change and lead the future of this growing sector.