The 81st Geneva Show 2011


In the run-up to the Geneva Motor Show 2011 there has been release after release of eco concept cars.  Here are but a few with a short blurb from their respective press desks.  The list will be updated as information comes in so check back as often as you like.  We will bring our design criticism to you shortly after our return from the show accompanied by trends that we spot.  As always the show looks like it will be a great hit with the newly located Green Exhibit being located in Pav. 2.

Can-Am Spyder Hybrid Roadster Concept

In 2007, BRP launched its first on-road vehicle. The Can-Am® Spyder® roadster. A true paradigm shift with its unique Y-architecture. Our passion for innovation continues as we work towards developing a future hybrid electric vehicle (HEV). Our goal is superior fuel efficiency, combined with dramatically reduced emissions. We believe that the HEV engine is the way forward for the environment. It will add another milestone to BRP’s road map towards eco-performing vehicles. The advanced concept Can-Am HEV Spyder roadster is once again testimony of BRP’s passion for innovation in the powersports industry.

Rolls Royce 102EX Phantom Experimental Electric

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars today confirmed the development of 102EX, a one-off, fully electric powered Phantom, to debut at the Geneva Motor Show on 1 March 2011.  The car will tour during 2011, serving as a test bed to gather a bank of research data which will be crucial in informing future decisions on alternative drive-trains for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.  “We have engineered the world’s first battery electric vehicle for the ultra-luxury segment,” said CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös, speaking from the company’s headquarters in Goodwood. “With this vehicle, we begin an exploration into alternative drive-trains, seeking clarity on which alternative technologies may be suitable to drive Rolls-Royce motor cars of the future.”

Rolls-Royce produces cars that represent the pinnacle in luxurious motoring for the world’s most discerning customers.  With 102EX, also known as the Phantom Experimental Electric (EE), it is the company’s intention to carefully test the opinions and reactions to alternative drive-train options of a range of stakeholders including owners, enthusiasts, members of the public and the media.

Smart Forspeed

smart is presenting an unconventional study at the Geneva Motor Show: the forspeed combines contemporary urban mobility with the fun factor typical of smart. The two-seater has no roof or side windows and it features a low wind deflector instead of a windscreen in the style of a classic propeller aircraft. The result is an incomparable fresh air driving experience. The responsive electric drive that has been further developed and features a boost function also guarantees driving pleasure. A look forward at the next generation is particularly exciting as the era of electric mobility has already started at smart.

BMW ConnectedDrive

The 2011 Geneva Motor Show will see the world premier of the BMW Vision ConnectedDrive concept car.  The concept study, in a two-seat roadster guise, presents the automobile as a fully integrated part of the networked world in both its design and technological innovations.  It is with this concept that BMW presents the potential of current and future in-car technology for optimising comfort, safety and infotainment.

The BMW Vision ConnectedDrive employs a layering principal in its design, demonstrating the bond between the driver, passenger, vehicle and the surrounding environment.  This is visualised by the complex light installation which shows the path of data exchange with the driver and passenger as the start and end point of each interaction.

Renault Captur

At the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, Renault revealed its new brand identity which puts people at the forefront of its concerns. The new, ambition design strategy that resulted from this is founded on different stages of the human life cycle with each phase taking the form of a specific concept car. The first, the two-seater DeZir, expressed ‘falling in love’, the passion present at the beginning of any new adventure. Now Renault Captur, which will debut at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, addresses the second phase of this cycle, that of two people exploring the world around them.

Just like its predecessor, Captur defines the simple, sensuous and warm style that will be progressively extended to future Renault car designs. “Captur is a fun and sporty crossover, ideal for a young couple about to discover the world”, explains Director of Design, Laurens Van den Acker. “It takes as its basis the fundamental design language introduced on the DeZir concept car but adds a more technical dimension – more functional but still highly sensuous," adds Axel Breun, Director of concept cars.

Nissan Esflow

ESFLOW has been created from the ground up as a pure electric vehicle, to give an idea how a Zero Emission sports car of the future might look. Living ecologically has often been seen as an act of austerity – to save one’s environmental conscience sacrifices must be made. ESFLOW is here to address that misconception.

Owning an ecologically sound car does not have to come at the expense of driving enjoyment. The briefest glance at the ESFLOW is enough to tell you what kind of car it is: a long bonnet leading into a steeply raked, wrap around windscreen, the compact cabin placing the occupants bang on the car’s centre of gravity, hunched arches over ultra-low profile tyres wrapped around six spoke wheels. ESFLOW is unmistakably a sports car, and those in the know will recognise its heritage – hints of classic and contemporary Nissan sports cars abound.

Vitally, ESFLOW is not an existing ICE (internal combustion engine) powered vehicle that has been adapted to run on electricity, but a sports car that’s been designed from the outset as a Zero Emission vehicle. This means that Nissan’s forward thinking designers have had free rein to place the power train and batteries in the optimum positions to benefit the car’s handling and performance and enhancing the thrill of driving.

Mazda Minagi

Mazda will showcase its All-new SKYACTIV technologies and a new design theme, KODO – Soul of Motion with the global debut of the new Mazda Minagi compact crossover SUV concept car, at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show (March 1-13).  The exciting Minagi concept is the forerunner to the launch of Mazda’s upcoming next-generation products and symbolises the evolution of the Mazda brand for a new era.

The Minagi’s new SKYACTIV technologies have been carefully developed to build harmony between driving pleasure and outstanding environmental and safety performance.  The Minagi is equipped with a SKYACTIV engine and SKYACTIV transmission fitted to a SKYACTIV body and chassis.  These combine in a low-weight yet highly safe package. 

Meanwhile, the Minagi’s KODO design evokes a powerful and emotive sense of pent-up energy and vitality – helping the vehicle stand out in a sprawling urban cityscape.  

Mitsubishi Concept Global Small

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) will give the global premiere of the Mitsubishi Concept Global Small (show model), a concept car based on the features of "compact", "affordability", and "high fuel efficiency" at the 81st Geneva International Motor Show which runs from March 1 through March 13 at the Geneva Palexpo exhibition and conference complex (opening to the general public on March 3). MMC will display a total of 12 vehicles (6 during press days), including vehicles already on sale in Europe, in addition to the 100% electric i-MiEV, of which about 2,500 units1 have already been shipped to Europe within three months since its start of production and shipment in October 2010.

“BamBoo” - the Pure Roots of Mobility

The names of the concept cars from Swiss car visionary Frank M. Rinderknecht are more than marketing-driven slick onomatopoeia that polls well with focus groups. At Rinspeed names often have a deeper meaning.  That is also true for the latest creation from Rinderknecht. “BamBoo” is the name of his latest ‘baby’ that resembles a grown-up golf cart and is bound to evokes plenty of admiration at the next Geneva Motor Show which runs from March 3rd through 13th, 2011.

Nomen est omen - the name says it all - is immediately apparent: Many interior components are made from bamboo fibers. But the four-seater “BamBoo” takes it to a whole new level – to the Meta level so to speak: This open-top vehicle awakens the longing for sun, summer, for lightness and easiness, the desire to be at the beach. It is a reminiscence of the Seventies, of the south of France and St. Tropez. And one would expect to find Brigitte Bardot behind the wheel with playboy Gunther Sachs at her side heading towards Tahiti beach...

Anyone who might think that this is simple retro design for nostalgia’s sake underestimates the boss of the Swiss concept powerhouse. Yes, Rinderknecht incorporates the automobile references of the time. But he doesn’t leave it at that. He reinterprets them and evolves them into the future. And he focuses in them the yearning to get back to the roots, paired with the absolute desire to be in harmony with creation. That makes electric drive, also for the onboard foldable two wheeler for the last “mile”, a must.

Infiniti ETHEREA

“ETHEREA is about a new type of luxury for younger buyers,” said Toru Saito, Corporate Vice President and Leader of the Global Infiniti Business Unit. “It is not just a smaller version of a typically conservative and traditional luxury car.”  Designed under the direction of Senior Vice President of Design Shiro Nakamura, ETHEREA blends elements of coupé, sedan, hatchback and even crossover in one highly sculptural, near-mono volume form.

At 4.4m it is highly compact but at the same time it is space efficient and practical thanks to a new mechanical layout and innovative access arrangements. Among its surprises are high-tech new interpretations of traditional Japanese materials and finishes, and several design cues set to make their mark on future production models – including the highly distinctive crescent-shaped C-pillar first seen on the Essence concept.