Automotive

Lean, green machinery from the 2014 Geneva Motor Show

Lean, green machinery from the...
New green designs at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show
New green designs at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show
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The Intrado Concept is built around a carbon fiber frame
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The Intrado Concept is built around a carbon fiber frame
The Intrado uses a next-generation hydrogen fuel cell powertrain
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The Intrado uses a next-generation hydrogen fuel cell powertrain
The 36-kWh battery can power the motor for up to 373 miles of driving
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The 36-kWh battery can power the motor for up to 373 miles of driving
Inside, bright orange contrasts with a simple cabin emphasizing functional elements
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Inside, bright orange contrasts with a simple cabin emphasizing functional elements
The Intrado's distinct body is designed around aerodynamic efficiency
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The Intrado's distinct body is designed around aerodynamic efficiency
Hyundai reveals its fuel cell-powered Intrado concept
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Hyundai reveals its fuel cell-powered Intrado concept
Hyundai calls the Intrado a "vision of a future where mobility is more enjoyable and more relevant"
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Hyundai calls the Intrado a "vision of a future where mobility is more enjoyable and more relevant"
A look at the Intrado's instrument panel
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A look at the Intrado's instrument panel
The Viziv 2 is a successor to the original Viziv and Viziv Evolution concepts
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The Viziv 2 is a successor to the original Viziv and Viziv Evolution concepts
The engine in the Viziv 2's plug-in powertrain is a smaller 1.6-liter turbo
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The engine in the Viziv 2's plug-in powertrain is a smaller 1.6-liter turbo
The Viziv 2 has an independent-rear-motor-driven symmetrical AWD
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The Viziv 2 has an independent-rear-motor-driven symmetrical AWD
The Subaru Viziv 2 uses a hybrid AWD powertrain
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The Subaru Viziv 2 uses a hybrid AWD powertrain
The Viziv 2 is equipped with an EyeSight stereo camera system to provide 360-degree monitoring
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The Viziv 2 is equipped with an EyeSight stereo camera system to provide 360-degree monitoring
The Viziv 2's front is dominated by a strong, hexagonal grille and large circular lower lamps
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The Viziv 2's front is dominated by a strong, hexagonal grille and large circular lower lamps
The headlights are designed to evoke the spirit of the Boxer engine behind the grille, according to Subaru
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The headlights are designed to evoke the spirit of the Boxer engine behind the grille, according to Subaru
Inside the Viziv 2 concept
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Inside the Viziv 2 concept
The Nanoflowcell Quant e-Sportlimousine shows a new type of electric powertrain in Geneva
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The Nanoflowcell Quant e-Sportlimousine shows a new type of electric powertrain in Geneva
The Quant e-Sportlimousine is a sports car prototype that experiments with a new type of energy storage
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The Quant e-Sportlimousine is a sports car prototype that experiments with a new type of energy storage
The Quant's flow cell power system stores energy in two 200-liter tanks of electrolytic fluid
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The Quant's flow cell power system stores energy in two 200-liter tanks of electrolytic fluid
The 912-hp flow cell-electric Nanoflowcell Quant e-Sportlimousine
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The 912-hp flow cell-electric Nanoflowcell Quant e-Sportlimousine
The Quant uses large gullwing doors for easier access to the front and rear seats
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The Quant uses large gullwing doors for easier access to the front and rear seats
Nanoflowcell introduces its new car and technology to the world in Geneva
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Nanoflowcell introduces its new car and technology to the world in Geneva
Pariss shows its second electric roadster prototype at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show
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Pariss shows its second electric roadster prototype at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show
Could the Pariss Roadster be a proper alternative for the old Tesla Roadster?
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Could the Pariss Roadster be a proper alternative for the old Tesla Roadster?
The Pariss is built on a carbon monocoque chassis
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The Pariss is built on a carbon monocoque chassis
The roadster's two electric motors combine for 241 hp (180 kW)
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The roadster's two electric motors combine for 241 hp (180 kW)
Pariss says the roadster can travel up to 124 miles (200 km) on a charge
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Pariss says the roadster can travel up to 124 miles (200 km) on a charge
Pariss claims a 0-62 mph time of 3.7 seconds
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Pariss claims a 0-62 mph time of 3.7 seconds
A look at Pariss' sporty interior
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A look at Pariss' sporty interior
A 4G-connected interactive display provides interior control
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A 4G-connected interactive display provides interior control
The Biomobile project has been developed and refined since 2004
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The Biomobile project has been developed and refined since 2004
The one-seat Biomobile uses plant fibers and other light, natural materials in its construction
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The one-seat Biomobile uses plant fibers and other light, natural materials in its construction
The Biomobile is an ongoing university-level project in lightweight design and efficient transport
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The Biomobile is an ongoing university-level project in lightweight design and efficient transport
The Biomobile at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show
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The Biomobile at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show
The Magna Steyr MILA Blue weighs about 660 pounds less than the average A-segment car, according to Magna Steyr
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The Magna Steyr MILA Blue weighs about 660 pounds less than the average A-segment car, according to Magna Steyr
The MILA Blue is powered by a small natural gas hybrid powertrain
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The MILA Blue is powered by a small natural gas hybrid powertrain
Austria's Magna Steyr presents the MILA Blue at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show
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Austria's Magna Steyr presents the MILA Blue at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show
Austria's Magna Steyr presents the MILA Blue at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show
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Austria's Magna Steyr presents the MILA Blue at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show
The Biofore Concept Car brings new materials into the spotlight
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The Biofore Concept Car brings new materials into the spotlight
The skin of the Biofore concept is made from a cellulose fiber-based composite
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The skin of the Biofore concept is made from a cellulose fiber-based composite
The Finnish Biofore Concept Car debuts at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show
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The Finnish Biofore Concept Car debuts at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show
Thermoformable wood helps create a unique interior
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Thermoformable wood helps create a unique interior
The flooring and pedals make use of UPM Grada wood
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The flooring and pedals make use of UPM Grada wood
Inside the Biofore Concept Car
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Inside the Biofore Concept Car
The dashboard of the Biofore has a clean, modern design
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The dashboard of the Biofore has a clean, modern design
The Finnish Biofore Concept Car debuts at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show
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The Finnish Biofore Concept Car debuts at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show
With its biomaterials and composites, the Biofore weighs about 330 lb less than comparably sized cars, according to its designers
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With its biomaterials and composites, the Biofore weighs about 330 lb less than comparably sized cars, according to its designers
Hyundai reveals its fuel cell-powered Intrado concept
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Hyundai reveals its fuel cell-powered Intrado concept
The "Intrado" name was taken from the term for the underside of an aircraft's wing
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The "Intrado" name was taken from the term for the underside of an aircraft's wing
The VW Golf GTE is a plug-in hybrid version of the Golf hatchback
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The VW Golf GTE is a plug-in hybrid version of the Golf hatchback
The VW Golf GTE is the fifth powertrain alternative in the current Golf line-up
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The VW Golf GTE is the fifth powertrain alternative in the current Golf line-up
The Golf GTE offers 201 hp combined from its turbo engine and electric motor
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The Golf GTE offers 201 hp combined from its turbo engine and electric motor
Inside the Golf GTE's cabin
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Inside the Golf GTE's cabin
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New green designs at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show
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New green designs at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show

In addition to the sporty and strange, the Geneva Motor Show hosts its fair share of green cars and concepts. This year, everyone from mainstream manufacturers to university teams showed designs built from ultralight components, powered by alternative fuels and otherwise designed around fuel- and emissions-frugal commuting.

Power cells

Hyundai reveals its fuel cell-powered Intrado concept
Hyundai reveals its fuel cell-powered Intrado concept

Fuel cell concepts have grown into an auto show standard, and the Geneva Motor Show served as the debut platform for the Hyundai Intrado Concept. The concept car is powered by what Hyundai calls a next-generation hydrogen fuel cell system with a 36- kWh lithium-on battery pack that offers up to 373 miles (600 km) of driving range. The car features a simple, streamlined structural and body design that's meant to optimize weight and aerodynamics. The super-lightweight steel body is stripped of the usual decorative trim, and the interior draws attention to functional elements, such as the carbon frame.

The Nanoflowcell Quant e-Sportlimousine shows a new type of electric powertrain in Geneva
The Nanoflowcell Quant e-Sportlimousine shows a new type of electric powertrain in Geneva

A different kind of cell pumps energy through the Nanoflowcell Quant e-Sportlimousine. The radically styled four-seater lays claim to being the first vehicle powered by a flow cell battery. This battery stores energy in tanks of electrolytic solutions, providing easy refueling and an estimated range of between 249 and 373 miles (400 and 600 km), all while backing a 912-hp, four-motor powertrain. Those four motors can team up to slingshot the driver to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 2.8 seconds without capping acceleration until 236 mph (380 km/h).

All the numbers and claims about the Quant e-Sportlimousine scream "vaporware," and we're not so sure Nanoflowcell will actually come through with a testable car, but the Quant certainly provides some interesting food for thought, which is what any good concept car/prototype should do.

Material world

The Biofore Concept Car brings new materials into the spotlight
The Biofore Concept Car brings new materials into the spotlight

Lightweight construction through innovative materials was another popular theme in Geneva. The Biofore Concept Car, a project from Finnish biomaterials company UPM, the Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and a few other partners, is one of the most interesting examples of this approach. The carbon fiber chassis is familiar enough, but from there, the partners take off in new directions, replacing oil-based plastics with more renewable materials. The body is crafted from UPM Formi biocomposite, a recyclable, cellulose fiber-based composite, while the interior features generous use of UPM Grada thermoformable wood, creating a clean, sustainable cockpit that definitely looks like it came from northern Europe.

The partners say that this construction saves about 331 lb (150 kg) over a similarly sized car using more traditional materials. The car's 1.2-liter diesel engine is fueled by UPM BioVerno, a wood-based diesel that is said to cut greenhouse emissions by as much as 80 percent versus traditional fossil fuels. The car is built to be street legal, and its biomaterials can be recycled or burned after its lifecycle is over.

The Biomobile is an ongoing university-level project in lightweight design and efficient transport
The Biomobile is an ongoing university-level project in lightweight design and efficient transport

Another university project that looks well beyond the edges of the box in terms of materials is the Biomobile. An ongoing project of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland (HES-SO) started in 2004, the Biomobile uses natural materials, such as banana and plant fibers, in its construction. It's powered by a Honda GX25 four-stroke engine, more commonly used in lawn and garden equipment. That engine runs on a biofuel made from organic waste, which it sips at a glacial rate of 1,960 US mpg (0.12 L/100 km). As a 55-lb (25-kg), 9.7 x 2 x 1.8-foot (3 x .6 x .5-m), streamliner-like one-seater, it's not exactly a practical design for the roads, but it is an interesting experiment in materials and design techniques. It has a top speed around 19 mph (30 km/h).

Austria's Magna Steyr presents the MILA Blue at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show
Austria's Magna Steyr presents the MILA Blue at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show

The MILA Blue concept car from Austria's Magna Steyr doesn't stray outside the box looking for lightweight materials, relying instead on common materials like aluminum, magnesium and composites. Magna Steyr also cuts out unnecessary material, such as interior plastic trim, and downsizes components, saving some 661 lb (300 kg) over the weight of a typical A-segment vehicle. The concept's compressed natural gas hybrid drive emits less than 49 g CO2/km.

Electric shock

Could the Pariss Roadster be a proper alternative for the old Tesla Roadster?
Could the Pariss Roadster be a proper alternative for the old Tesla Roadster?

The Pariss 2013 electric roadster protoype debuted at last year's Geneva Motor Show, so perhaps it's only natural that this year's show brought the Pariss 2014, which offers a similar combination of green driving and electrifying performance as the Tesla Roadster.

The latest Pariss prototype gets a more powerful 241-hp (180-kW), dual-motor drivetrain that sends the two-seater rolling to 62 mph in 3.7 seconds – more than a second quicker than was advertised on the 2013 prototype. Pariss is still estimating 124 miles (200 km) of range, which can be more than tripled up to 435 miles (700 km) with the available 220-lb (100-kg) range extender. A fast-charge system offers battery top-off in as little as an hour. The roadster's length and wheelbase remain the same, but the 2014 prototype weighs about 110 lb (50 kg) more at 1,764 lb (800 kg). Pariss still doesn't mention any production dates, but it does list a price of €80,000 euro (US$111,000).

The Subaru Viziv 2 uses a hybrid AWD powertrain
The Subaru Viziv 2 uses a hybrid AWD powertrain

The icy Subaru Viziv concept from the 2013 Geneva show was back in 2014, in the form of the updated Viziv 2. The new concept SUV gets transformed into four-door format and uses an updated plug-in hybrid AWD system with a 1.6-liter turbo engine, a high-torque-compatible Lineartronic (CVT) transmission, a front motor and two rear motors. Given that this is the third iteration of the Viziv concept that we've seen in one year's time, we expect elements of it – or even the whole shebang – to show up in Subaru's line-up in the future.

The VW Golf GTE is the fifth powertrain alternative in the current Golf line-up
The VW Golf GTE is the fifth powertrain alternative in the current Golf line-up

More than just a concept car or an exotic with a "TBA" release date, the Volkswagen Golf GTE revealed in Geneva is a real production car. The model's plug-in hybrid drive adds a fifth powertrain option to the Golf series, which also has gas, diesel, natural gas and electric models. The sporty hybrid hatch gets up to 31 miles (50 km) of all-electric range and 584 total miles (940 km) of total range, courtesy of its plug-in powertrain with 148-hp 1.4-liter turbo TSI engine and 101-hp electric motor. The 8.8-kWh lithium-ion battery charges in 2.5 to 3.5 hours. The plug-in Golf earns its "GT" letters with a 7.6-second 0-62 mph time and 135 mph (217 km/h) top speed.

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