The European auto show of spring opened its doors to the public on the 6th of March. Just as we expected, it took off in force. One day before its official debut, the companies taking part in the event welcomed over 10,000 journalists to take a sneak peek at the many surprises they had up their sleeve. What they saw will simply blow you away. Over 250 exhibitors presented almost 150 world premiers at this year's edition, most of them concept cars, all fighting to steal the spotlight. Each more innovative and spectacular than the other, the 2014 Geneva Motor Show turned into a technological show-window of the future.
Say hello to autonomous vehicles with business class interiors, cars that can drive themselves, space-ships on four wheels, vanity projects that are not only sexy and powerful, they can also protect the environment. This year, the attention goes toward design and detail. Therefore, the great names on the auto scene presented new models filled with personality. While electric cars have gradually become accessible for everyone, it should be noted that great efforts have been made to transform the electric car into a prestigious high-tech vehicle. All these exotic premiers can be seen up close until the 16th of March, when the 84th edition of the Geneva Motor Show closes its curtains.
So let's have a closer look at the hottest concept cars at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, groundbreaking auto prototypes that transformed the showroom into a playground for Sci-Fi models of the future. However, leaving aside all technicalities, none of these cars would be as glamorous if it wasn't for the beautiful show girls presenting them, an accessory they simply cannot go without.
5 Honda FCEV
A glimpse at the next generation of Honda vehicles, the FCEV is a space ship on four wheels. The five seat car seems borrowed from the pages of a Sci-Fi novel. Powered by Honda's acclaimed fuel-cell, it is considered a teaser for future hydrogen propelled vehicles. Honda claims it has a 300 miles autonomy, but the prototype has drawn many critics regarding its futuristic design, and especially because the company refuses to comment on the expenses the hydrogen fuel system involves. Nevertheless, the guys at Honda hope that the car will be seen on the streets beginning with 2015.
The entire propulsion system is placed in the engine compartment, which means that passengers can enjoy more space. A thermal engine turns the hydrogen in the fuel tank into electricity. There are obvious advantages. Steam is the only emission coming out of the exhaust pipe, and hydrogen is the most abundant chemical element in the Universe, which means that it is highly unlikely that it will ever run out. On the other hand, it is very difficult to store hydrogen in safe conditions. Also, the distribution network is almost absent, with only 10 refueling plants in the U.S.
4 Maserati Alfieri
With the occasion of the Geneva Motor Show, Maserati celebrated its centennial in style, showcasing an excellent new model that prefigures an innovative luxury sports coupe, the descendant of the successful GranTurismo. The design is both revolutionary and evolutionary. Elegance and refinement are the first two words that come to mind upon seeing this beauty.
Meet the future of Italian luxury cars. It is an exotic surprise, with unique proportions denoting good taste and luxury all over. The front boasts an aggressive and unorthodox nose, a bit futuristic as compared to the Maserati models we're used to. However, the fluid car body lines and high-tech layout of the driver cockpit are simply gorgeous.
Minimalism is the word. With a classic steering wheel and digital dashboard with analogical indicators that are the reminiscences of the company's passionate past, all buttons and switches have been eliminated, and all functions are controlled by a display. It could easily be mistaken for a game room rather than a cockpit. Maserati's reply to German and British luxury cars is powered by a massive 4.7-liter V8 engine generating 460 horsepower. Featuring the same chassis as the GranTurismo MC Stradale, but with a narrower cockpit and custom-designed wheels, the model is expected to be launched on the market in the second half of this decade.
3 EDAG Genesis
Take a good look at the future of car manufacturing. The most intriguing concept at the Geneva Motor Show this year is a car built using a 3D printer. The chassis is printed in 3D from thermoplastic and carbon fiber, which guarantee enhanced Resistance and comfort. To create a car without using any tool would be a great revolution for the industry. Resembling an avant-garde sculpture rather than a car body, its design is based on the style of a turtle shell, with an innovative cockpit concept, a world premier. Is it possible to build a complete one-piece car body using a single production process? Sounds like a dream, right? Well, the guys at EDAG beg to differ.
German company EDAG presented the most futuristic model the Geneva Auto Show has seen so far. The bold prototype was called Genesis and aims to push the boundaries of the industry. The Germans are convinced that 3D printing is the solution of the future, as conventional tools will no longer be able to provide the same results. However, experts appreciate that it will be another decade from now that such a car will actually be built for the road. For now, it is no more than a vision. Since the body is more important than the engine and functions, there are no available technical details. So, it's back to the drawing board for now for the Germans.
2 NanoFlowcell Quant e-Sportslimousine
Meet the future of electric propulsion; liquid electric propulsion. This futuristic electric limousine came with a revolutionary technology up its sleeve at the Geneva Motor Show this year. NanoFlowcell is a company from one of the world's smallest locations; Lichtenstein. The lilliputian state might as well become the new center of ecological vehicle technology after they perfected the liquid batteries technology.
The spaceship-like vehicle of Rolls Royce sizes boasts dazzling performances. A feat of strength, the Quat e-Sportslimousine is over 16 feet long, longer than the Coupe S-Class for example. However, more important than the body is the unconventional electric propulsion system, based on liquid batteries. The two electrolytes necessary for reactions in a normal battery are stored in two separate containers and flow through a circuit allowing reactions producing electricity. This way, it is no longer necessary to store energy in voluminous batteries with reduced efficiency. Plus, the charging time is reduced to the time it normally takes to refuel, as the liquid electrolyte can be replaced just as easily.
It is equipped with four electric engines, one for each wheel, guaranteeing a maximum power of 925 horsepower. Analyze this, the car has a peak horsepower double than the most potent Bugatti Veyron. However, at normal usage it settles for “only” 653 horsepower, and it takes 2.8 seconds to reach 62 mph, while its maximum speed is 236 mph.
1 Rinspeed XchangE
The car of the future that can drive itself is the absolute star of the Geneva Motor Show this year. Thanks to the automatic pilot, the driver and passengers can watch movies, surf the net, play games, or even sip a cup of steaming coffee while the vehicle takes them safely to their destination. That's what's in store for us in a few decades from now, and the XchangE is the most explicit proposal, materialized by the Swiss company Rinspeed.
Inspired by the business class seats of planes, the seats offer 20 positions that adapt to each passenger. The ultra-tech steering wheel slides along the dashboard with a four foot long display along the entire length, with fingerprint recognition and multifunctional tasks. The interior is lighted by 358 LEDs. What's more, the plexiglass roof reflects the sunlight in the colors of the rainbow. The electric propulsion prototype comes with a luxury interior and unlimited Internet access, permanently connected to the environment and traffic participants through the Car2X Communication System. This way, passengers are entertained by the 32-inch screen and the cockpit can be transformed into a cinema, office, game room, livingroom, or bedroom on wheels. After all, we are talking about an autonomous car. When it is not driven, it drives itself.