2014 BMW i3
It's a big show in general, spread throughout several buildings in the manner of a small town. Most are occupied by huge displays of the German automakers' collective might, and those German firms will be responsible for many of the show's big debuts.
Other brands still have plenty to offer though, so we're bringing you a full guide to the green cars and concepts of the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show. We'll keep this list updated, as more vehicles are sure to be revealed in the next few weeks leading up to the show.
The BMW i3 has been a long time coming, but Frankfurt will mark its official world debut following the small city-based launches last month. It'll be the first chance most get to interact with the car, from its quirky door layout to its concept car-style interior, to its unusual proportions.
Frankfurt is also said to be the launchpad for BMW's other much-anticipated Project i vehicle, the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car. Powertrain aside it's much more BMW's usual territory--low-slung and fast--but with a 1.5-liter 3-cylinder turbocharged powerplant and electric motor combination, low fuel use is still a priority. You can see a teaser video of the car here.
Mercedes-Benz has experimented with fully-electric vehicles in the form of the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive and ballistic SLS AMG Electric Drive, but it still sees combustion power as vital for its larger sedans--one of which is the S500 Plug-In Hybrid. The large luxury sedan gets a claimed 78 mpg between electric and gasoline running--though in the real world, these figures will vary.
Land Rover will debut two new hybrid products at the Frankfurt Auto Show, based on the new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models. Each will use a 3.0-liter diesel V-6 as its basis, an 8-speed ZF automatic gearbox (used across the automotive world) and a 35 kW electric motor. As regular hybrids rather than plug-ins they rely more on their diesel powerplants than electric drive, but the company claims 36.7 mpg on the combined European cycle.
The e-Golf has been a long time coming, but finally at Frankfurt Volkswagen will unleash the production version of its Nissan Leaf and Ford Focus Electric challenger. While the only efficiency figures released are generated in European testing and therefore higher than you'll see in EPA tests, VW is claiming class-best efficiency of 20.4 kWh per 100 miles. However, its 118-mile range, close to the Leaf's European 120 mile figure, suggests its real-world range will be similar too--think mid-70s in EPA testing.
Joining the e-Golf at Frankfurt is the Europe-only e-Up, based on the firm's small five-door minicar. Efficiency is even greater here thanks to the car's low weight, at just 18.8 kWh per 100 miles. Official range is 100 miles--pointing to a real-world figure somewhere in the 60s and 70s--while its 81-horsepower motor gives it better performance than the gasoline Up. Provided the price is right, it could prove a worthy challenger to the Renault Zoe.