Power players: German car makers leading the hybrid and electric charge
Germany is making design news. In our April 2019 issue (W*241), we shined a light on its bold new Bauhaus Museum, and its pioneering fashion collectives redefining everyday dressing. Here, from the supplement, we explore the country’s power surge of electrifying autos.
BMW 530e iPerformance (pictured top)
BMW’s electric strategy seems to be taking two routes. On the one hand, you have the acclaimed i3 and i8 – still two of the most futuristic cars on the road some eight years after the designs were first seen. And on the other, you have the slow, inexorable hybridisation of every other model in the fleet. The new 530e iPerformance is a case in point. As a plug-in hybrid, it leaves it down to the driver whether to make the most of EV power, offering up a more than serviceable petrol alternative if the batteries are flat. Make the most of both options, however, and you have a hyper-efficient business saloon, full of cutting-edge but discreet technology. It drives with the spirited verve that defines every BMW saloon, while encouraging you to make the most energy-efficient progress you possibly can. From £49,950, bmw.com
Mercedes-Benz has launched a dedicated electric sub-brand, EQ, to focus its EV strategy (there are already a host of hybrid variants of the marque’s regular models). The EQC is the first production model to appear, a relatively conservative, big SUV that doesn’t break any moulds but instead offers a familiar form to those wavering between old-school engines and the zero-emission future. In fact rather sleeker than its combustion-engined siblings, the EQC benefits from a more minimalist touch. Access to the Ionity fast-charge network and a projected range of 280 miles make it competitive, while the slick evolution of the Mercedes-Benz interior will also win fans. Expect more EQ models in the coming months, both big and small, topped by a rumoured all-electric alternative to the flagship S-Class saloon. Approximately £60,000-£70,000, mercedes-benz.com/EQ
Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo
A concept that’s not far from reality, Porsche’s Mission E Cross Turismo is related to the upcoming Taycan – the marque’s first all-electric production car – but has a slightly higher ride and an extended luggage compartment. Porsche is already a master of hybrid tech, as seen in the 918 supercar, the Panamera, the Cayenne and the forthcoming 911; its pure EVs will take things further. To retain its status as the world’s biggest sports car-maker, Porsche needs to make its Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo EVs ultra-desirable. As a result, its designers have spent half a decade honing the Taycan, starting with the original Mission E concept in 2015. The model will have a fast-charge system that will give 80 per cent range in just 15 minutes, using the Ionity network. Variants are sure to follow, all with Porsche levels of performance as standard. The concept seen here could be a part of a major shift in performance motoring. Concept only, porsche.com
Despite Volkswagen’s garage-full of new electric cars due to roll out at the start of the next decade, there are still plenty of takers for the simplest option: an electric Golf. The e-Golf has been a long-term project, with the first prototypes arriving in 2011. Since then, it has continued to evolve and improve its range, to the point that it is a truly credible alternative to the combustion-engine classic. At one point, the e-Golf was the best-selling car in EV-mad Norway, for example. However, despite its appeal, this may be your last chance, at least for a while, to grab one. While a Golf Mk8 will be released this year, the e-Golf is likely to give way to the company’s new ID range of pure electric cars. From £32,550, vw.com §