Physically small in size next to many international shows, there's nevertheless plenty to look at, particularly if you're interested in green transport and concept vehicles.
This year should be another spectacular one for green vehicles, with a few high-profile launches like the Volkswagen XL1 and McLaren P1. Click on any of the model names to be taken to that car's page, with more details and images.
We've known details of the Chevy Spark EV for quite some time now, but the small electric car makes its European debut in Geneva and there's bound to be a fanfare. Chevy has invested real time and effort in making the Spark a usable electric car, and its European introduction confirms that it's not the "compliance car" we once thought it might be.
It might look more like a concept vehicle, but the Hiriko folding electric car is real, and soon to be found in cities around the world. It's tiny (even shorter when parked) and only does 31 mph, but that's enough for the tight city centers in which you'll find them. Range is 75 miles and a charge can take as little as 15 minutes.Volkswagen e-Golf
After years of Golf electric prototypes, the e-Golf is thought to be the real deal - a rival for Nissan's Leaf and Ford's Focus Electric. Recently revealed in leaked images, the car's range will be similar to that of the Nissan Leaf, as will its performance. Will that be enough? It's hard to say, but the VW badge on the front has to count for something...
The last Audi A3 e-tron was an all-electric car, but the variant due to debut at Geneva adds a dose of production reality and a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. It uses a 1.4-liter TSI gasoline engine and a 75-kilowatt electric motor. With 204 horsepower, performance will be strong. It hasn't been confirmed, but the e-tron looks suspiciously production-ready, too...
If there's one car here you'd expect to be a concept vehicle, it's the XL1. Latest in a line of ultra-efficient streamlined Volkswagen studies, the XL1 is actually going into production. A 0.8-liter, twin-cylinder turbodiesel engine and electric motor provide the power, and economy is an incredible 261 mpg.
A hypercar with hundreds of horsepower isn't typical GreenCarReports material, but many of the next-generation of supercars is turning to hybrid power, both to boost performance and deliver surprisingly low emissions. One of these is the McLaren P1, with 903 horsepower and a top speed far on the other side of 200 mph. Conversely, it also offers 12 miles of electric range--enough, McLaren says, to enter zero-emission city centers, have dinner, and return home.
The first Chinese maker to make a full, serious assault on Europe, Qoros is launching a range of smartly-styled vehicles with high levels of quality and safety at Geneva. While its production sedan will be the main focus, the brand is also debuting a hybrid model. The brand has the determination, but can it beat the established best?
2014 Volkswagen Golf GTD
Europe has had fast Volkswagen Golf diesels for years--they've gained quite a following. The GTD is the diesel equivalent of the Volkswagen GTI, with performance a high priority. There's 180 horsepower and 280 pounds-feet of torque, manual or dual-clutch gearbox options, and a 0-62 mph time of only 7.5 seconds. At the same time, it delivers 50 mpg in European testing - so if it ever comes to the U.S. (and we hope it does), over 40 mpg in EPA combined testing isn't out of the question.
Citroen's C2 Hybrid Air--and its cousin from Peugeot, also due at the show--could be one of the most intriguing vehicles in years. It operates much like any other hybrid you'd care to mention, with power split between a gasoline engine and another power source. But in this case, that other power source uses compressed air, rather than batteries. Citroen says it's lighter, simpler, cheaper, and could be much more appropriate as a hybrid drivetrain in smaller, cheaper vehicles.
Not a great deal is known about Mitsubishi's Geneva concepts. What we do know is that the GR-HEV pickup concept will use a diesel-hybrid drivetrain with all-wheel drive and economy of around 41 mpg, and the CA-MiEV is an all-electric "suburban" electric car with a 186-mile range. We can expect to find out more when the covers are whisked off at the show.
Kia has seen the reaction to small crossovers like the Nissan Juke and decided to design its own--and the Provoke is the result. Like the Juke, its styling is an acquired taste, looking fine from the low-slung angle in one teaser image, but a little over-styled in another. But its green potential comes from its size--cars like this are the perfect example of downsizing, and smaller, more efficient engines are the perfect fit.
Swiss automaker Rinspeed appears every year in Geneva with something bizzare, and the MicroMAX is its latest offering. Were it not for the presence of wheels, it'd be barely recognizable as a car--it's more like a transport pod from an airport, or a mobile greenhouse. It seats six, all of whom sit upright, while the "car" comes with a coffeemaker and wi-fi--essentially, it's designed to make commuting more productive, while somebody else drives for you.