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Electric cars in SA

The debate on whether or not Electric Vehicles (EV) are viable in South Africa rages on.

Luxury SUVs and flying cars... 5 auto trends at the Frankfurt auto show

2017-09-18 08:46

Image: AFP / Odd Anderson

Frankfurt - At the 2017 Frankfurt International Motor Show, automakers are pulling out all the stops to dazzle visitors with cars that are greener, smarter and faster than ever.

Supercars, SUVs

We list some of the highlights of the industry showcase, which runs until September 24 and is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of car enthusiasts.

One of the most anticipated cars at the Frankfurt motorshow was that of Mercedes hypercar, the Project one. Also, Bugatti unveiled its new Chiron.

Despitemany concept vehicles revealed, Bild car reporter Dennis Petermann spoke of his disappointment of having to look at concept cars that might never be brought into production. 

Here are five trends at the Frankfurt motorshow: 

1. Supercars

If you've always wanted to feel like Lewis Hamilton, the Mercedes-AMG Project One might be for you.

A hybrid "hypercar" built with Formula 1 technology, it promises 1 000 horsepower and top speeds of over 350km/h. Mercedes plans to make just 275 units, each costing more than R31-million.

"It looks like a shark," was one fairgoer's verdict as a crush of people strained to catch a glimpse of the showstopper.

Ten-year-old Moritz was more generous. "You can tell that Mercedes put in a lot of effort," he told AFP, "but I would have preferred bigger spoilers."

Not to be outdone, Bugatti revealed that its own limited edition supercar - the R37 000 000 Chiron - had just set a heart-stopping new speed record, going from 0 to 400 kmh in 42 seconds.

2. Taking the high road 

They're not quite the flying cars we have long been promised but if a string of start-ups are to be believed, our daily commute could soon come with a bird's eye view.

Fairgoers were abuzz over a pilotless "air taxi" on display at Daimler's stand, an electric, 18-rotor craft being developed with Volocopter.

Dutch start-up PAL-V meanwhile showed off a cross between a gyrocopter and a car, which could whizz you to work from next year - all you need is R7 800 000 and a pilot licence.

3. Battle for the soccer moms 

SUVs reign supreme at this year's IAA. Accounting for more than two thirds of the model launches, they cater to all tastes and wallets, from Volkswagen's sporty T-Roc to the updated budget Dacia Duster.

Chinese automakers are increasingly muscling in on the action, with Chery and high-end Wey both unveiling compact 4x4s.

They may be the wheels of choice for soccer moms everywhere but SUVs are "overrepresented" at the IAA, according to the Inovev consultancy.

4. Promises, promises 

Eager to turn the corner on the 'dieselgate' emissions cheating scandal, carmakers are falling over themselves to present a futuristic vision of sleek, self-driving electric cars that do all the work as you lean back and enjoy the ride.

But observers expressed frustration that most of the cars being dangled were years away from hitting the roads, while Nissan and Tesla - the only two carmakers actually mass producing electric cars - shunned the IAA.

"I don't want some sexy electro-concept that will never happen," said Bild car reporter Dennis Petermann, urging German carmakers to step on the gas in the race against Tesla.

5. Trip down memory lane 

Those who prefer the roar of a souped-up classic motor to the gentle purr of an electric engine should head over to the IAA's "Wild 70s" display to check out the red-and-white Gran Torino made famous by the "Starsky and Hutch" TV series, or a cult 911 Porsche Turbo Targa with rainbow trimming.

"That car has never felt a drop of rain," said Josef Lonsky of the Automobilclub of Germany.

If you're nostalgic for the era's more mellow vibe you may want to check out Volkswagen's new ID Buzz, a re-imagined - and of course, electric - version of the world's best-loved hippiemobile.

With surfboards strapped to its roof and, somewhat bafflingly, a floating, meditating gnome for a dashboard ornament, the neon yellow-and-grey van could be coming to a beach near you in 2020.

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