Weekly Brief: Jaguar leads the way as EVs dominate Geneva

A look back at the highlights from the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. Andrew Tolve reports.

Internal combustion engine powered vehicles may dominate car sales in Europe but you wouldn’t have known it at the Geneva Motor Show last week, where European carmakers (and some American and Japanese carmakers too) showcased their latest and greatest in electric powertrains. There were electric supercars, electric SUVs, electric salons, electric minis and electric concept cars. Oh, and electric self-driving cars too. Here’s what you missed and how it intersects with the connected car revolution:

Jaguar unveiled its first all-electric vehicle, an SUV called the I-Pace, which people are already branding a “Tesla killer” since it’s similar to the Tesla Model X but costs $10,000 (£7,205) less with a total price tag of $69,500 (£50,100) before tax credit. The I-Pace has a range of 240 miles on a single charge, offers DC fast charging and comes with a suite of connected features, including 2D and 3D navigation, a 4G WiFi hub and a remote smartphone app that keeps drivers apprised of available range, charging status, charge rate and plug state. Jaguar is accepting pre-orders in Europe and the US and will begin delivering cars in the latter half of 2018.

Audi followed suit with a preview of its first all-electric SUV model, the Audi e-tron, which will launch in Europe later in 2018. The prototype on hand in Geneva travelled 310 miles on a single charge and could charge up in 30 minutes. Audi also debuted the new Audi A6 business saloon, which comes with a suite of driver assistance solutions like the self-driving parking pilot and garage pilot features, as well as the adaptive driving assistant for highway driving. The car has a fully digital operating system with haptic and acoustic feedback.

Renault introduced its vision for the self-driving ride-sharing future: the all-electric, fully autonomous EZ-GO. The concept vehicle has no steering wheel and no seat for a driver. Instead, it feels like a posh ski gondola, with a horseshoe-shaped bench for passengers to ride on. Max speed for this rig is 30mph. Passengers board using an app similar to Lyft or Uber and could make special requests; for example, women could request a ride only with other women so that they feel safe after dark.

Volkswagen showed off a concept car called the I.D. VIZZION. The saloon has a ‘digital chauffeur’ that assumes control of the vehicle without a steering wheel or visible controls. The car then drives, steers and navigates autonomously in traffic, while a virtual ‘host’ knows the personal preferences of the vehicle guests and adapts to each of them individually thanks to artificial intelligence. The I.D. VIZZION is expected to hit the market in 2022 and will first be available with conventional controls.

Hyundai debuted the Kona Electric compact SUV, which delivers a claimed range of up to 292 miles and comes with infotainment options like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also offers the SmartSense series of active safety and driving assistance systems.Hyundai also showcased its new Intelligent Personal Cockpit, which allows drivers to voice-control frequently used in-vehicle functions like air-conditioning, sunroofs and door locks. In the future, Hyundai plans to integrate car-to-home IoT capability so that drivers can control everything from the lights in their home to their audio systems and alarms — with their voice from their car.

Chinese windmill manufacturer Envision debuted the Giugiaro Sybilla, a concept supercar that doubles as an intelligent green power plant. The concept EV has an energy IoT platform on board called EnOS that allows it to communicate and share energy with other vehicles, homes and buildings, enabling a flexible and smart future energy system. The Sybilla is a one-off, so don’t get your hopes up for owning one of these anytime soon.

Toyota announced that it will stop selling all diesel cars to customers in Europe. The edict won’t impact commercial diesel, at least not yet. Toyota will phase out sales throughout the year while focusing more on hybrid vehicles.

Finally, Peugeot debuted the Peugeot 508 First Edition, a sporty saloon that comes with wireless smartphone charging, digital radio, connected 3D navigation with voice recognition and access to the TomTom bundle of connected services (real time traffic, petrol prices, parking, weather forecasts, local searches). The car also features Night Vision, which makes it possible to detect living beings in front of the vehicle at night or with reduced visibility.
The Weekly Brief is a round-up of the week’s top telematics news, combining TU-Automotive analysis with information from industry sources.

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