It’s not been an easy time for Germany’s trade show industry, which, according to a report by Bloomberg, suffered $47 billion in losses due to the coronavirus cancelling, well, pretty much everything. With virtual showrooms, contact-less car deliveries, and other digitised interactions gaining traction with each passing day, having some of the most innovative and thrilling concept cars, visible in the metal, under the same roof gave everyone a much-needed throwback to the olden days.
The IAA Mobility Show may not have the pedigree or glamour of a Frankfurt or New York Motor Show, but it is the world’s largest mobility trade show, and, given its future-oriented nature, is the perfect launchpad for several electric concepts, ranging from the soon-to-arrive to the this-will-never-be-a-reality breed of concepts.
Audi Grandsphere Concept
Few brands have been winning the design game as well as Audi, of late. From the sensational-looking e-tron GT supercar to the more commonplace Q2, Audi has shown tasteful restraint in a way its German rivals haven’t. The Audi Grandsphere concept is essentially a glimpse into what the future A8 – the brand’s luxury flagship – will look like. Audi hasn’t given a date as to when the all-electric A8 will break cover, but if it looks anything like the Grandsphere, with its fastback rear, tapering lights, and suicide doors (a concept car staple which rarely makes it to the production version), consider us sold on it.
Porsche Mission R EV
Nothing like a pure-bred electric racing car to get everyone’s attention. Especially, if it’s got a Porsche badge slapped on it. The brand that’s given us the Taycan is using its decades of motorsport success and applying it to an electric racing car. The Mission R makes 1073hp of power in its blisteringly quick “Qualifying mode” and given that it weighs more than Porsche’s road-legal GT3 RS, it uses extra-light composite bodywork to offset the battery weight, including Natural Fiber Reinforced Plastics (sourced from farming produce) which generates far less carbon dioxide. This helps it get from 0-100kph in 2.5 seconds.
To make it more appealing to e-sport fans, Porsche has set up several cameras inside the car, from where the driver’s laps can be livestreamed to fans, much like a live game feed would be. Fans always tend to form a relationship with the digital version of a car, before they can afford the real one, and Porsche has taken cognisance of it, in this electronic age.
BMW iX5 Hydrogen
It’s always heartening to see brands continue to fly the hydrogen mobility flag, even as the battery-electric juggernaut gathers greater momentum. The BMW iX5 Hydrogen may not have been the most sensational electric offering at the IAA, but it certainly was one of the most sensible. Based on the current generation X5, it gets two hydrogen tanks which collectively give the car a range of 500km. Weighing about as much as an X5 Hybrid, the iX5 is not designed to be sold, but to be used for a live trial to see how feasible the technology is.
Let’s hope BMW will debut its electric offerings in India before it does a hydrogen model.
BMW iVision Circular Concept
Historically, BMW has been known to showcase some of the most radical car concepts, and the iVision Circular Concept can be safely added to the list. Designed to truly minimise a car’s environmental impact, the iVision concept is designed to be fully recyclable. The term “Circular” in its name comes from the idea of a circular economy where materials are constantly reused rather than discarded at the end of their lifespan.
The iVision, which, let’s face it, is highly unlikely to ever see the light of day, makes you think about the fact that sustainability in the automotive world, doesn’t just end with tailpipe emissions. Given how radical it is, expect it to go the way of BMW’s flexible skin wearing GINA concept.
Microcars need to make a much-needed comeback and the likes of the Microlino 2.0 are doing their best to bring them back in vogue. Shaped much like a neo-retro BMW Isetta 300, the Microlino is a three-wheeled electric car that you would like to tuck in after it drives you home. Its pup-like countenance notwithstanding, the Microlino 2.0 gets one of three optional battery packs, the biggest one giving it a range of 230km. While it’s unlikely to ever come to India, the stout-little Microlino is certainly a compelling urban mobility solution for India’s overcrowded traffic signals and parking lots.