01 September, 2017

IAA Frankfurt news roundup - September

Vehicle manufacturers are gearing up for the Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung (IAA - International Automobile Exhibition) in Frankfurt, with new models and updated fleets ready to go on display in the halls of the Messe showground.

With alternative fuels and automation expected to take centre stage, carmakers are expected to bring examples of each, together with concepts that will highlight what the car of the future will look like. Alongside them, technology suppliers will give visitors the opportunity to see the systems that lie behind these new ideas.

BMW recently announced the electric Mini would be built at the company’s plant in Cowley, UK, and will present an electrified concept model on its IAA stand. The electric vehicle (EV) will feature a single electric motor powering the compact model. The concept builds off the existing Mini two-door hatchback, with its hexagonal radiator grille and circular headlights in keeping with the Mini family. The design also uses colour cues to suggest electrification, in a move similar to other manufacturers. In the Mini’s case, these are bright yellow, similar to the upcoming Mini E model.

‘With its characteristic go-kart feel and powerful electric motor, the Mini Electric Concept is great fun to drive while also being completely suitable for everyday use – and producing zero emissions to boot. That’s how we at Mini envisage electric mobility in tomorrow’s world,' said Peter Schwarzenbauer, member of the board of management of BMW AG, responsible for Mini, Rolls-Royce and motorcycle brand BMW Motorrad.

Japanese manufacturer Honda will also show an electric concept vehicle at the show, which it says is a preview to a new EV aimed at the European market.

The Urban EV Concept ‘sets the direction of a future production model,’ Honda said a statement, without going into detail. The model will become a key part of the company’s aim to have electric powertrains in two-thirds of all its cars sold in Europe by 2025.

The company has only released teaser images of the vehicle; however, the ‘Urban’ part of the name suggests a compact car, perhaps similar in size to the market-leading Nissan Leaf. The company had previously been sceptical of EVs; however, it has since changed this stance with the integration of an electric vehicle division in its research and development business, to work on future powertrains and platforms.

As part of its electrification plan, the Japanese automaker will also show a prototype hybrid version of the new CR-V compact SUV at Frankfurt in advance of a future production model for the region. It marks the first time the new CR-V has been shown in Europe.

Meanwhile, Toyota’s presentation at the Frankfurt motor show will cover the increasing success of hybrid technology, which the manufacturer was a pioneer in bringing to the mass market with the Prius, and the company’s 65-years of heritage in the SUV sector. These will be represented by a newly designed C-HR Crossover concept and the world premiere of the new Land Cruiser. 

The C-HR Hy-Power concept is a design study developed by Toyota’s European studio, ED2, and it will hint at a future expansion of Toyota’s hybrid powertrain line-up within its core models. The new Land Cruiser features ‘a unique-in-class body-on-frame construction,’ according to the company’s statement.

Finally, technology supplier Bosch will be presenting its ‘innovations for the future of mobility’ on its stand. This includes its automated valet parking vehicle, developed in association with Daimler, and its ‘electric E-axle’, a compact and cost-optimised solution for EV and hybrid powertrains, which reduces complexity and could reduce the development time of such systems, according to the company.