Which automaker looked back to the late-’70s hatchback era with an electric concept car?
And why is your favorite green-car site interested in a claimed record lap time at California’s Laguna Seca track?
This is our look back at the Week In Reverse—right here at Green Car Reports—for the week ending September 13, 2019.
Press conferences, reveal events, and demos for the media were held this past week at the Frankfurt auto show, prior to its opening to the public Thursday. Held on odd-numbered years, it’s long served as a good check-in on the European market as well as an international stage for the German auto industry.
On one hand, Frankfurt didn’t disappoint in hosting a handful of big concept-car debuts and a number of production-car premieres for the European market. But on the other hand, it didn’t mark the important debut for anything headed to the U.S.—except the long-anticipated Land Rover Defender.
Hyundai 45 concept
Design highlights from the show included three important fully electric concepts. The Mercedes-Benz EQS envisions the idea of a flagship sedan without the constraints of an internal combustion engine. The Hyundai 45 EV concept takes a retro tack riffing off utilitarian hatchback designs of the 1970s and ‘80s. And the Audi AI:Trail demonstrates with an edgy, sci-fi design how rugged off-road ability and autonomous-driving modes can coexist in the same vehicle.
Volkswagen ID 3
For Europe, the production-vehicle debut of the show was the Volkswagen ID 3, the first vehicle to be brought to market as part of VW’s push toward affordable mass-market electric vehicles. The Porsche Taycan and Mini Cooper SE marked their formal show debuts at Frankfurt but had seen reveals earlier in the summer.
On the tech front, BMW previewed a new generation of hydrogen vehicles with its i Hydrogen Next fuel-cell X5 SUV, and Lamborghini formally pulled the wraps off its most powerful car ever, the Sian, which uses supercapacitors for hybrid boost.
2020 Honda E
Volvo’s latest plug-in hybrid, the XC40 T5 Twin Engine, hasn’t yet been confirmed for the U.S. The not-for-America sporty little Honda E urban electric hatchback was shown and priced. And a little earlier in the week we brought you more details on the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC350e plug-in hybrid, which is headed to the U.S. with a much-needed boost in electric range.
Tesla teased its higher-performance, three-motor “Plaid” powertrain, on the way to the Model S, Model X, and Roadster, and it claimed a record at Laguna Seca.
2019 Hyundai Ioniq Electric
arlier in the week we ran through the top 10 greenest cars of 2019, based on rated efficiency.
In the future-product department, Jaguar described the design of its upcoming all-electric XJ flagship sedan as “unconventional,” and Nissan appears to have delayed its electric crossover to late 2021—though it’s good to hear it’s still on the product map.
Nissan IMx concept, 2017 Tokyo Motor Show
And as the industry woke from its summer slumber, it was a week for investments, deals, and shuffling executives. Faraday Future has a new CEO, formerly of Byton and BMW—a move that’s likely related to the company’s last infusion of capital. Porsche boosted its stake in the niche electric supercar builder Rimac, and Cox Automotive invested $350 million in the electric-truck hopeful Rivian. And Hyundai and Kia invested in Europe’s Ionity DC fast-charging network—perhaps in a nod that they’re aiming for 800-volt charging in the near future.