Porsche Panamera PHEV
September 15, 2017 -- Porsche’s Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo is heir to the marque’s 918 Spyder electro-supercar, combining plug-in hybrid technology with fuel efficiency, producing a luxury five-seat station wagon.
Visitors to the biennial Frankfurt Auto Show will expect to see the latest, showroom-ready, mass market electric cars. They will be disappointed.
Apart from the latest versions of the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe, the biggest carmakers are falling behind in the race. Tesla Motors of the U.S. won’t be showing its new Model 3, which is just as well given that it would underline the fact that Europe lags. There will be plenty of concept cars like the Mini Electric, and an improved BMWi3S, but nothing yet to match the acknowledged ground-breaker, the Model 3.
The Germans are falling behind in the pure electric car race. But they are impressive with plug-in hybrid technology. The Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid Turismo combines an electric motor and a gasoline engine for sizzling performance, but this is hardly going to be a big seller.
Many of the world’s highest profile manufacturers have snubbed the show, including Tesla, Fiat and its Jeep, Maserati and Alfa Romeo subsidiaries, Infiniti, Mitsubishi and its owner Nissan, Peugeot and its DS subsidiary, and Volvo.
Europe’s biggest auto show of the year should be a noisy, brash affair where industry leaders point out how wonderful their products are. But this time the show coincides with Germany’s general election and the industry has been subjected to a merciless grilling by politicians over diesel skulduggery, possible monopoly law violations, and most wounding of all, a failure to keep in touch with the latest electric technology. The CEOs will likely be hiding from the spotlight at this show. That will be a first.
The show will overflow with new SUVs, led by the Citroen Aircross small SUV, the BMW X3, the Opel-Vauxhall Grandland, the Jaguar E-Pace and the Porsche Cayenne. Volkswagen is showing its new version of the big selling little Polo and small SUV, the T-Roc. Mercedes is launching its first pickup, the X class.
The impossibly expensive debutants include the Bentley Continental GT, the “entry” level V-8 592 hp Ferrari Portofino, and the Rolls Royce Phantom.
As usual there is a long list of concept cars. This usually means cars which manufacturers have no intention of making but are trying to show how adventurous and cool they are. The Smart Vision EQ is a cute 2-seater aimed at the autonomous, car-sharing market, which will drive itself to the user’s location. A concept indeed.
Professor Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer from the Center for Automotive Research at the University of Duisberg-Essen in Germany is not impressed.
“The most important car of 2017, the Tesla Model 3, will not be present at the show,” Dudenhoeffer said, adding that car shows are in danger of becoming an expensive waste of time.
“The concept of classic auto exhibitions shows significant fatigue phenomena. Weeks before the Frankfurt show new models like the VW T-Roc have been shown on YouTube. And where are the electric cars available with Tesla range? It will be 2020 before pure electric cars from BMW and Mercedes are available,” Dudenhoeffer said.