2009 IAA Frankfurt Auto / Motor Show – Tesla Model S and Roadster Sport

Tesla S all electric car: we’d like to call this the first showing of the new model S, however a closer peak at the show car reveals it is exactly that and no more, as doors were fixed shut, interior a mock up and the “chrome” finishing strips around windows etc were cracking under the [...]

Tesla S all-electric saloon

Tesla S all-electric saloon


Tesla S all electric car: we’d like to call this the first showing of the new model S, however a closer peak at the show car reveals it is exactly that and no more, as doors were fixed shut, interior a mock up and the “chrome” finishing strips around windows etc were cracking under the heat of the show’s spotlights. Still, it’s not scheduled to come out the factory doors ’till 2011, so the cake’s got time to bake. It is at least an elegant and realistic shape that has a great chance of breaking into the mainstream if it can pull off it’s range and power goals at an affordable price. Their website announces $50,000 price tag, 300 mile range, unnecessarily fast acceleration, and sufficiently high top speed. Remarkably there’s room for 5 adults + 2 kids, as well as a front and back trunk.

Tesla Roadster Sport

Tesla Roadster Sport


Next to it, a fetching yellow Roadster Sport, that is available now, is a useful reminder that the future model S is a realistic proposition; even if the Roadster’s price compared to a petrol engined Elise makes you gasp. Remember how expensive a large Plasma screen TV was 10 years ago? And now? The 700th electric Roadster was delivered at the Frankfurt show to a German law student.

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2009 IAA Frankfurt Auto / Motor Show – BMW Vision

BMW’s impressive, indoor-track dominated hall featured the Vision hybrid concept car. Adrian van Hooydonk’s design rotated on display as Efficient Dynamics liveried cars from BMW’s lineup sailed past. How cool to have your own track to display and drive right in the exhibition hall ! As we moved over to the Mini stand we could [...]

BMW Vision hybrid concept leads the pack on the track

BMW Vision hybrid concept leads the pack on the track

BMW’s impressive, indoor-track dominated hall featured the Vision hybrid concept car. Adrian van Hooydonk’s design rotated on display as Efficient Dynamics liveried cars from BMW’s lineup sailed past. How cool to have your own track to display and drive right in the exhibition hall ! As we moved over to the Mini stand we could hear some tasteful V8 sounds emanating from above us, proving that there was more to BMW’s display than showing their efforts to control emission outputs and improve efficiency.

BMW Vision hybrid concept

BMW Vision hybrid concept


At the heart of their future eco-plans lies the hybrid chassis that the Vision’s aggressive yet svelte bodywork was draped over. Does this mark a swing away from BMW’s plans for hydrogen fuelled cars? Remember the 7 series hydrogen that was being produced on a limited trial basis. Certainly, the whole eco-car movement has pushed towards hybrids and pure electrics, rather than hydrogen, unless in fuel celled cars. Fuel density and transport problems are mostly responsible, and the convenience of converting existing engine technology which was already looking cynical.

We like the principles enshrined in BMW’s philosophy: eco-cars that retain performance and driving pleasure by cutting down weight, and kinetic and aerodynamic losses. But we do question the weight penalty of carrying around a turbodiesel as well as electric motors. This is still intermediate technology to make the all-important range acceptable to ordinary car users. Lose the combustion engine and it’s electric generator and think how much weight you could save. The world still needs a more efficient battery, despite recent advances.

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