Automotive

Five electrified cars of Frankfurt 2019 ready to tear asphalt off 'Ring and road

Five electrified cars of Frank...
Lamborghini calls the Sián its fastest car ever
Lamborghini calls the Sián its fastest car ever
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The 750-hp Mercedes Vision EQ Silver Arrow is another of the exorbitantly powerful electric cars of Frankfurt
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The 750-hp Mercedes Vision EQ Silver Arrow is another of the exorbitantly powerful electric cars of Frankfurt
At the helm of the Mercedes-Benz Vision EQ
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At the helm of the Mercedes-Benz Vision EQ Silver Arrow
The Lamborghini Sián is second to none in the category of extreme-looking electrified supercars of IAA 2019
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The Lamborghini Sián is second to none in the category of extreme-looking electrified supercars of IAA 2019
With the Sián, Lamborghini skips the battery pack in favor of the rapid charging/discharging power and light weight of a supercapacitor
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With the Sián, Lamborghini skips the battery pack in favor of the rapid charging/discharging power and light weight of a supercapacitor
Lamborghini will build just 63 Sián models, and all are already sold
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Lamborghini will build just 63 Sián models, and all are already sold
Lamborghini has named the debut model the Sián FKP 37, in honor of Ferdinand K Piëch, the former VW chairman who passed away in August
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Lamborghini has named the debut model the Sián FKP 37, in honor of Ferdinand K Piëch, the former VW chairman who passed away in August
Lamborghini calls the Sián its fastest car ever
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Lamborghini calls the Sián its fastest car ever
The copper-tinted wheels hint at the electrical nature of this particular Lamborghini
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The copper-tinted wheels hint at the electrical nature of this particular Lamborghini
Lamborghini Sián
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Lamborghini Sián
The 819-hp Sián can screech from 0 to 62 mph in under 2.8 seconds and hit a top speed of more than 350 km/h, according to Lamborghini
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The 819-hp Sián can screech from 0 to 62 mph in under 2.8 seconds and hit a top speed of more than 350 km/h, according to Lamborghini
One of this year's most anticipated car debuts, the Porsche Taycan
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One of this year's most anticipated car debuts, the Porsche Taycan
Despite the fact that the Taycan has an electric powertrain, Porsche is sticking with Turbo and Turbo S designations so the Taycan will share its naming scheme with existing models
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Despite the fact that the Taycan has an electric powertrain, Porsche is sticking with Turbo and Turbo S designations so the Taycan will share its naming scheme with existing models
The flagship Taycan Turbo S can run 0 to 60 mph in 2.6 seconds
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The flagship Taycan Turbo S can run 0 to 60 mph in 2.6 seconds
The Taycan is already on the record board, with a 7:42 'Ring run
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The Taycan is already on the record board, with a 7:42 'Ring run
The Taycan launches with Turbo and Turbo S variants, but less expensive models will follow
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The Taycan launches with Turbo and Turbo S variants, but less expensive models will follow
It didn't need to get fancy, but just in case you weren't thinking of stopping by to check out the Taycan, Porsche draws your attention over
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It didn't need to get fancy, but just in case you weren't thinking of stopping by to check out the Taycan, Porsche draws your attention over
Porsche Taycan
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Porsche Taycan
Porsche Taycan
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Porsche Taycan
Introduced in 2018 as the "first 100 percent electric racing touring car in the world,", the 680-hp Cupra e-Racer as the and it puts a new level of aggressiveness to the track-ready hot hatch
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Introduced in 2018 as the "first 100 percent electric racing touring car in the world,", the 680-hp Cupra e-Racer as the and it puts a new level of aggressiveness to the track-ready hot hatch
The Taycan interior is every bit as impressive as its powertrain, and more impressive than its exterior design, as far as we're concerned
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The Taycan interior is every bit as impressive as its powertrain, and more impressive than its exterior design, as far as we're concerned
With front and rear trunks, the Taycan has some space for luggage
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With front and rear trunks, the Taycan has some space for luggage
The curved digital instrument panel is a highlight of the Taycan's interior design and feels much more natural than the flat instrument displays of some other designs
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The curved digital instrument panel is a highlight of the Taycan's interior design and feels much more natural than the flat instrument displays of some other designs
Porsche charger
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Porsche charger
The Taycan's central 10.9-in infotainment screen can be joined by an optional neighboring passenger display
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The Taycan's central 10.9-in infotainment screen can be joined by an optional neighboring passenger display
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A nice retro touch in a cutting edge electric sports car: the Taycan clock
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A nice retro touch in a cutting edge electric sports car: the Taycan clock
At the wheel of the Porsche Taycan
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At the wheel of the Porsche Taycan
The Volkswagen ID.R is like one of those annoying all-sport athletes in high school - it just dominates without hardly trying
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The Volkswagen ID.R is like one of those annoying all-sport athletes in high school - it just dominates without hardly trying
Another furiously fast electric vehicle of Frankfurt: the 340-hp Audi e-tron FE06 Formula E race car
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Another furiously fast electric vehicle of Frankfurt: the 340-hp Audi e-tron FE06 Formula E race car
Some key e-tron FE06 specs
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Some key e-tron FE06 specs
The Volkswagen ID.R looking incredibly fast even when chilling out in Frankfurt
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The Volkswagen ID.R looking incredibly fast even when chilling out in Frankfurt
Imagine our surprise when we walked around a corner and saw the unexpected but glorious Red Flag S9 staring at us with those intense glowing eyes
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Imagine our surprise when we walked around a corner and saw the unexpected but glorious Red Flag S9 staring at us with those intense glowing eyes
We couldn't find an English breakdown of the S9 so had to rely on a translated version of the Chinese announcement, which reads quite impressively: more than 1,400 hp, 249-mph top speed, and 0-62 mph in 1.9 seconds
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We couldn't find an English breakdown of the S9 so had to rely on a translated version of the Chinese announcement, which reads quite impressively: more than 1,400 hp, 249-mph top speed, and 0-62 mph in 1.9 seconds
That's one radical rear-end on the Red Flag S9
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That's one radical rear-end on the Red Flag S9
Some manufacturers choose backdrops poorly, but the icy blue of the S9 absolutely jumps out off the blood red of the booth
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Some manufacturers choose backdrops poorly, but the icy blue of the S9 absolutely jumps out off the blood red of the booth
Opel's Corsa-e Rally car behind the 1971 GT Elektro
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Opel's Corsa-e Rally car behind the 1971 GT Elektro
Opel Corsa-e Rally
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Opel Corsa-e Rally
Introduced earlier this year, BMW's Vision M Next is a performance plug-in hybrid of the future
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Introduced earlier this year, BMW's Vision M Next is a performance plug-in hybrid of the future
Many self-driving concepts look largely at how technology will take driving away from humans, but the BMW Vision M Next looks at how technology can assist with performance-focused human driving
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Many self-driving concepts look largely at how technology will take driving away from humans, but the BMW Vision M Next looks at how technology can assist with performance-focused human driving
BMW Vision M Next
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BMW Vision M Next
Inside the BMW Vision M Next
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Inside the BMW Vision M Next
Tucked away in one of the quieter supplier halls, the gull-winged Isdera Commendatore GT electric coupe really grabs attention
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Tucked away in one of the quieter supplier halls, the gull-winged Isdera Commendatore GT electric coupe really grabs attention
It looks humble enough, but below its skin, the Isdera Commendatore GT packs 805 hp of dual-motor electric power; acceleration estimates include a 3.7-second 0-60 mph and 9.8-second 0-124 mph
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It looks humble enough, but below its skin, the Isdera Commentadore GT packs 805 hp of dual-motor electric power; acceleration estimates include a 3.7-second 0-60 mph and 9.8-second 0-124 mph

As with any modern-day auto show, electric and hybrid powertrain technology is one of the big themes at this year's IAA Frankfurt show. While some of that technology can be found in simple, practical everyday commuters like the Volkswagen ID.3 and Mercedes-Benz EQV, much of it is being channeled into full-blown performance machines that will undoubtedly use their immense power and torque-vectored handling to raise expectations of what a performance car can do.

One of this year's most anticipated car debuts, the Porsche Taycan
One of this year's most anticipated car debuts, the Porsche Taycan

The Porsche Taycan has been in the works for more than four years, evolving from the Mission E concept of 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show fame. Rather than simply roll out the usual spec sheet and speed estimates, Porsche chose to debut the Taycan with a more definitive statement of performance: a 7:42 Nürburgring record for fastest electric four-door.

It's no surprise that a Porsche-built 800-volt 4WD electric super-sedan loaded with handling-optimizing features like rear-wheel steering and adaptive air suspension would clock a record lap, but to do it ahead of its official premiere only added to the Taycan's built-up mystique. And despite the unnecessary "Turbo" designations Porsche insists upon shackling to the launch models, the Taycan lives up to all the hype, offering up to 670 hp (Turbo) or 750 hp (Turbo S) from a performance-honed dual-motor powertrain, sprint times as quick as 2.6 seconds (0 to 60 mph/96.5 km/h) and 9.8 seconds (0 to 124 mph/200 km/h), and a 162-mph (260-km/h) top speed. With Tesla at the Nürburgring gunning for the Taycan's record as we type, it's clear we're entering a very fun era of high-performance electric sedans.

Lamborghini has named the debut model the Sián FKP 37, in honor of Ferdinand K Piëch, the former VW chairman who passed away in August
Lamborghini has named the debut model the Sián FKP 37, in honor of Ferdinand K Piëch, the former VW chairman who passed away in August

As faint whispers about a Lamborghini plug-in swirled and intensified over the years, we really weren't thinking that Lamborghini's plans were to pair its first hybrid drive with a V12 engine, much less the most powerful engine to ever emerge from Sant'Agata. Isn't the whole idea of the performance hybrid to offer the power levels and driving pleasure of larger engines, without the emissions and gas guzzling all those cylinders bring along?

Lamborghini goes a different way with the Sián, however, showing how cutting-edge hybrid design can be used to create the most powerful, impressive car in your stable. And when you don't have to concern yourself with trifles like all-electric driving range, you need not get weighed down with large e-motors and heavy li-ion packs, instead focusing solely on making the fastest, most exhilarating supercar you've ever put out. If this 819-hp supercapacitor-boosted fantasy machine doesn't follow the Aventador SVJ and Huracán Performante in flinging itself around the Nürburgring in record time, we'll be left to believe that Lamborghini has just lost interest.

Imagine our surprise when we walked around a corner and saw the unexpected but glorious Red Flag S9 staring at us with those intense glowing eyes
Imagine our surprise when we walked around a corner and saw the unexpected but glorious Red Flag S9 staring at us with those intense glowing eyes

Does 819 hp of gas-electric power sound paltry in a day and age when all-electric hypercars are cranking out 2,000 hp? Well, Lamborghini isn't generally where you go to find the highest power figures, but the booth of a Chinese brand with something to prove? Now that's the type of place you can expect absolutely gaudy horsepower numbers.

The brand in question is Red Flag, a member of the FAW-Hongqi group, and according to the Chinese press release we ran through Google Translate, that ice-blue supercar popping against the red exhibit backdrop is the S9, the first member of the Red Flag "S" performance family. Visually, the S9 makes a splash with its intensive gaze, wraparound-glass canopy, huge, centralized twin exhaust tips and even huger rear wing.

The S9 isn't just fancy show clothing, though, as Hongqi claims the car produces more than 1,400 hp from its V8T hybrid powertrain. It also claims it can fire from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in under 2 seconds and keep accelerating until the needle flips to 249 mph (400 km/h). A lot to be skeptical about, sure, but this car is itching to get off its over-illuminated dais and put rubber to asphalt like no other car in Frankfurt. Just give it some private track time and see what happens.

Opel Corsa-e Rally
Opel Corsa-e Rally

Opel is debuting the all-electric Corsa-e in Frankfurt, but its more interesting debut from a performance perspective is the neon yellow-highlighted Corsa-e Rally making a first appearance ahead of the 2020 ADAC Opel e-Rally Cup. The rally car's 136-hp electric motor drives the front wheels under power from a 50-kWh lithium-ion battery. The little racer also includes a Torsen differential, integrated roll cage, rally suspension, disc brakes and hydraulic "fly-off" handbrake. Development continues ahead of the Cup start, and Opel expects to have 15 cars for the inaugural series. Each will retail for "significantly less than €50,000 (net)."

"With the ADAC Opel e-Rally Cup, we are bringing electric drive for the first time to mainstream sport and especially to young-driver support," explained ADAC Sport president Hermann Tomczyk in introducing the new series. "I am certain that the ADAC Opel e-Rally Cup will point the way ahead for motor sport far beyond the borders of Germany.”

The Volkswagen ID.R looking incredibly fast even when chilling out in Frankfurt
The Volkswagen ID.R looking incredibly fast even when chilling out in Frankfurt

The most accomplished car on this list, and probably on the entire auto show circuit right now, the Volkswagen ID.R is a record-vaporizing machine. Remember Porsche's 7:42 Nurburgring time from above? The VW ID.R ran that same Nordschleife in just 6:05 last year. That's well faster than almost everyone, beating the previous electric car record by a full 40 seconds to put the ID.R in the #2 overall slot behind only the Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo (5:19.5). That little trick was a follow-up to the ID.R leaping right past the Pikes Peak Hillclimb electric record to take the all-time record with a blistering sub-8-minute run.

With those two decisive victories under its belt, the ID.R could retire a legend, but Volkswagen's determined to taunt the competition and take down course records one by one. So as the blue ID.R above was getting cleaned and prepped to sit pretty in VW Group's Frankfurt hall, a fire-red sibling was angling its way through the 99 twists of the breathtaking Tianmen Mountain road to set yet another record, a course-first just under 7:39. If the ID.R's recent history tells us anything, it's that no one will be stepping up to snatch that record from VW anytime soon and the road's first record may sadly be its last, at least for a while. As for the 671-hp ID.R, we can't wait to see what it gets up to next.

Anyone still think electrified powertrains are only good for cutting emissions and puttering around city centers? The future looks cleaner and more fun than ever.

Check out the gallery for a closer look at all the above cars and a few other notable electrified performers from around the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show.

7 comments
guzmanchinky
Someday soon, when 5 minute charging is common, we will look at gasoline engines and laugh...
yawood
@ guzmanchinky. I agree but we are a long way from that yet. Among everything else, we've got to make usable range better (not just the max range at crawl speeds), then make the electricity used for recharging environmentally friendly, then we have to make the batteries environmentally friendly both in manufacture and disposal, then we have to roll out a common specification charging system to millions of locations around the world - the list goes on. We are, however, moving in the right direction.
Knut
@guzmachinky, a 5-minute charging will never happen, that is usually called a "fire". The energy: 100KWh has to be transferred according to the laws of physics: the law of Ohm. You can consider the 180KVDc to be the maximum safe voltage for this current. No metal will allow the transfer of the electricity, the resistance will create heat, enough to melt the cable. Fly to the cities in Venezuela and watch the transformers explode when unskilled engineers try to distribute energy. The problem is that some people believe they can bend the laws of physics with money. 5 minute of 1.2KW will even make the car melt. We are working on non-metallic materials but this is bending corners - progress is not in leaps.
buzzclick
@guzmanchinky, someday electric cars (that are not necessarily greener) will be so ubiquitous that ICE cars will become an extra treat to drive, especially manual shifters.
McDesign
@ Knut - I think the eventual way around Ohm will be superconductors -
DaveWesely
@ guzmanchinky. A 5 minute charge time is unnecessary. It is for an ICE vehicle, because you have to stand there at the nozzle while filling up. A BEV can be left to charge unattended while you go get a bite to eat. And the vast majority of fast charging stations will be at restaurants on the interstate, not convenience stores. Most of the charging will be done at home where it can be done slow and easy.
Matt Fletcher
@Knut- They will be use power grid lines to connect (capable of 180Kv transfers), only the lines will be heavily insulated unlike those in Venezuela and robot arm controlled. And the battery systems will be more like mini power stations than the current auto designs. The incoming charge will be controlled by a power management systems (PMS) to charge Ultra-capacitors (most likely similar to the Maxwell designs) that will then discharge to new hybrid battery systems. Should start appearing in production electric cars in the next 5 years. So we should be approaching the 5 minute mark much sooner than "it will never happen" as you suggest. However, how safe charging will be I haven't heard anything about that. They should probably have charging occur indoors, with everyone out of the car at a distance, while the car is on a grounded plate, which would be necassary because transfer speeds will be able to kill in a fraction of a second.