Geneva Motor Show 2012 Green Car Design Preview

There is less than a week to go until the doors of the 82nd International Motor Show at Geneva are thrown open to the public. Perhaps the most prestigious of all motor shows, the salon has charted the automobile's progress since the inaugural show in 1905 to today and will undoubtedly remain a stalwart of the industry for many years to come - the industry as a whole favouring the location for its supposed neutrality as Switzerland has no mainstream manufacturers of its own.

It's no secret that the show is the preferred location for the supercar fraternity – Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and even Koenigsegg all choose Geneva for their showcase reveals, and this year will no different. However, that's not to say that the show is being left behind in the green stakes by its siblings in Detroit and Tokyo amongst others. Far from it.

For the past three years the show has hosted The Green Pavilion, an exhibition specifically for “new technologies of alternative and ecological propulsion and renewable energy sources for vehicles”, there is also an opportunity to test drive cars adjacent to the Pavilion. The Pavilion was originally for small, specialised start-ups but unsurprisingly many major manufacturers now choose to exhibit there as well.  Not such a bad thing, but with more cars on display the competition for space is fierce and consequently more often than not it's the small makers who lose out.  Money talks after all.  Here's a snapshot of what to expect this year.


Infiniti Emerg-e Concept

Following last week's leaked patent drawing, here is the finished artice.  Sculpted and muscular, the Emerg-e is a bit of a show-stopper - note the glass roof. Internally, the Emerg-e will be a mid-engined range-extender hybrid that will allow zero-emission running for significant periods.  Hopefully this concept will dictate the direction fo Infiniti's design language.

Toyota FT-Bh Concept

Toyota describes the FT-Bh as an “ultra-lightweight, full hybrid city car study”, meaning that it will never actually make production. It's still a well-grounded project though, consciously avoiding expensive material, complicated manufacturing processes and focusing on existing methods. The Ft-Bh certainly looks to have considerable potential.

Toyota Yaris Hybrid

The Yaris will be Europe's first full hybrid supermini. It also blurs the lines slightly for Toyota because, superficially at least, the Yaris fits the FT-Bh's remit rather well, so it will be interesting to see the fundamental differences between the two at Geneva. On an aesthetic note, it's easy to see how far Toyota has come since the original Yaris – the 2012 car looks far more decided.

Fiat 500L

The 500L endured quite a painful birth before Fiat recently confirmed the details, and although the 500L's business case will undoubtedly evidence itself, the styling really is underwhelming – a Panda/500 crossbreed was never going to set the world alight. However, buyers will be able to specify Fiat's award-winning TwinAir engine.

Rinspeed Smart ForTwo“Dock+Go”

In the past, Swiss company Rinspeed has brought us cars that can ‘fly’ underwater and change their configuration depending on the number of passengers, so it's no surprise that their latest offering is somewhat innovative. Frank Rinderknecht's “Dock+Go” mobility system allows owners of ultra-urban EVs more luggage space for longer journeys as well as the option of attaching a bigger battery.

Hyundai I-oniq Concept

Following an ambiguous teaser, Hyundai have revealed the I-oniq Concept to be an "electric sports hatchback with a range-extending petrol engine".  It's a striking design that intends to convey the design attitude from inside Hyundai at the moment and features a 'penthouse roof' and LED headlights.  The powertrain is a petrol-electric hybrid making the I-oniq capable of 120km as a pure EV and 700km with assistance from the petrol engine.  Emissions are just 45 g/km CO2. 

Nissan INVITATION Concept

This concept will provide the inspiration for Nissan's next contender in the compact segment (due 2013) and we think it's a looker. The distinctive ‘Squash Line' on the side of car lends the INVITATION an athletic stance that, combined with a striking front-end, certainly make the car stand out. The concept's derivatives will wear Nissan's Pure Drive badge and the most frugal model will target under 100g/km CO2 emissions.

Morgan Plus E Concept

It's hard not to get excited about the prospect of one the industry's most far-fetched juxtapositions – an electric Morgan. Don’t expect a revolution in the design department though – Morgan’s retro styling is very much the brands signature and the concept will even keep a manual gearbox. Details are scarce but Morgan has commented that the Plus E will have near-supercar performance.

Pininfarina Cambiano

Elegance. Purity. Innovation. All words Pininfarina use to describe the Cambiano concept. Expect it to house a hybrid powertrain, although with Pininfarina you can assume the internals with play second fiddle to the aesthetics. Furthermore, the concept will showcase low environmental impact materials.

LC Super Hybrid

A joint venture between Controlled Power Technologies and the Advanced Lead-Acid Battery Consortium, the LC Super Hybrid explores the capabilities of low voltage lead-carbon batteries and their effects on CO2 reduction.  The technology is production ready and used in a large, petrol-powered family car can offer 51mpg and impressive performance.  


Bertone Nuccio Concept

Bertone’s Nuccio Concept will commemorate the prestigious coachbuilders centenary.  Allegedly based on a mid-engined platform, concrete details of the concept are non-existent, although the Nuccio shares the Stratos HF Zero concept’s long, raked windscreen.

Range Rover Evoque Convertible Concept

Land Rover's Design Director Gerry McGovern is responsible for this creation and it's certainly ambitious.  Yes, there have been countless 'soft-top' off-roaders in the past but this design, with a fully retractable roof, surely breaks new ground.  Technology-wise, the convertible is much the same as it's hard-top sibling and although we can't yet see it with its roof up, the concept certainly distinguishes itself with a rising waist line.  A favourable reception at Geneva could mean that this outlandish concept makes production.

Touring Superleggera Disco Volante Concept for Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo has teamed up with coachbuilder Touring Supperleggera to reincarnate the 1952 Alfa Romeo C 52. Constructed from aluminium and carbon-fibre, the Disco Volante concept will house a not-so-green 4.7 litre V8 donated by Maserati but that’s beside the point. It’s bound to look gorgeous.


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