Auto industry shows appetite for change

From a technology perspective The Geneva Motorshow, which opened its doors to the press earlier this week, tends to be one the most interesting of the big automotive jamborees.

And this year is no exception. Alongside the trumpeted launch of new supercars like the Ferrari 488 GTB and Mclaren’s 675 LT, the show has also provided a platform for a host of alternatively-powered, wirelessly connected vehicles that provide a useful insight into industry’s direction of travel.

So far we’ve seen the European debut of Honda’s hydrogen fuel cell-powered FCV Concept which is scheduled to go on sale next year; the electric version of Audi’s R8 supercar, and the stunning Koenigsegg Regera hybrid, which combines a combustion engine with an electric drive system. Visitors have even been treated to the bizarre sight of a car with a periscope courtesy of eccentric Swiss concept car developer Rinspeed.

There’s also been some intriguing news from Nissan and Spanish utility company Endesa, who have announced that they will be working together on the development of a mass market vehicle to grid system, a concept that would enable EV owners to charge their vehicles at low demand periods, use electricity stored in the battery when costs are higher, and even potentially feed electricity back into the grid.

But whilst it’s all interesting stuff, what’s perhaps been most striking this year is not the technology itself, but the reaction to it.

Whilst not so long ago, each new electrically powered vehicle was greeted with a fanfare of surprise, alternative technologies have now become so commonplace that industry barely raises an eyebrow.

Even the rumours that Apple and Google are poised to establish themselves as carmakers have failed to ruffle as many feathers as they once would, with some report claiming that rather than feeling threatened, the bosses of the big car companies are positively excited about the imminent arrival of these “disruptive interlopers”.

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March 6, 2015



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