Auto Salon Trends 2017

In 2014 & 2015 we published Geneva Auto Salon documentaries in the form of “following our visitor” who is looking (but not too urgently) to replace his Volvo. In 2017 we set out to repeat the exercise, but rapid technical changes within the auto industry have motivated us to do more.  So we offer four separately themed videos.  Go here to start the video tour or read more below to gain an overview.

In video one we focus on display techniques like impressively moving back-drops or LED panels joined into huge displays – “immense” is a good descriptor for several of them. Or the transparent projection system you see in our featured image above. This first video is thus “in and around the cars” – plus two concept cars at opposite ends of the size and price spectrum – but each having future technology at their heart.

Video two is “green movement” – we were expecting more hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric cars in general, but what has been an eye-opener is the use of electric motors in the power chain of high end and high performance cars. Good news if the technology will trickle down, or even waterfall down, to mainstream use.
As history suggests, the racing industry with the e-formula will be no doubt be a good contributor here.

Our film looks at four main categories of green evolution:

Green12341. biogas-fuelled internal combustion
2. battery-powered electric
3. hybrids using internal combustion and electric (plug-in or not) in some configuration of power train where both units are involved in driving the wheels
4. Fuel cell vehicles where hydrogen is converted to electricity to drive electric motors.

We found also one car (there might be others we didn’t find) which doesn’t fit any of these categories. It consists of a turbine – a jet engine basically – which is used uniquely to charge batteries in an otherwise electric-only vehicle. Thus, it does not fit into the hybrid category (hybrids use more than one power source to drive the wheels). This is a close-to-production concept car, and it is an expensive experiment in a car estimated to cost one million (francs, dollars, euros, whatever). However we found the idea fascinating and believe it can be a major future solution to both range limitation and costs/weight/space of using a conventional hybrid chain.
(TechRules, China)

Other encouraging technology we found is the use of the more conventional hybrid chain configured to eliminate the gear box entirely by using electric motors (which have high initial torque) on low speeds. There seems to be a transfer of railway locomotive hybrid configurations to the restricted space of the automobile.
(Regera made by Koenigsegg of Sweden: see video 4)

On the electric-only list (in video 2) we discovered the Rimac supercar – a Croatian company making their own batteries and already supplying them to other high-end car producers.

There was much less evidence of bio-fuel cars this year (Audi g-tron prominent) – and the two manufacturers of fuel cell vehicles noticed were Hyundai and Honda – maybe biogas as well as hydrogen distribution networks will be the barrier, rather than the technology.

Video three continues our “visitor looking” series  – and surely we must soon reach a conclusion – so this year’s title is “seriously looking” !!

Video four is reserved for the unbelievable high performance, state-of-the-art, specialised, limited production – mega/super/hyper cars. And some traditional luxury cars as well. So, title is “over the top