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German carmaker at the IAA 2019: Too green to be true


The IAA is dominated by the climate crisis. In view of announced protests by environmental activists, the manufacturers outdo themselves at the IAA with ecological superlatives. The reality on the stands looks different.

On a tour, the IAA acts like a weekly market, where market barkers sell their goods, the louder the better. In the exhibition halls, so it is said, a competition is currently being held on who has the most environmentally friendly cars on offer. The manufacturers outbid each other with arguments as to who completes the green turnaround the most committed and fastest.

Take BMW, for example: "By the end of 2021, we want to put a total of one million electrified vehicles on the road," says Oliver Zipse, Member of the Board at BMW at the Frankfurt Motor Show. By 2023, 25 electrified models are to be offered, more than half of which are all-electric. Future generations of electric motors will be produced "without rare earths, and the cobalt for the battery cells will be sourced directly from mines in Australia and Morocco".

No other manufacturer sold more electrified cars than BMW in 2019, says Zipse proudly. In Norway, three out of four vehicles sold are now e-vehicles. For about ten minutes, the board spans the curve of BMW's sustainability efforts, until finally the first premiere rolls onto the stage: the BMW Concept 4, a fully electric coupe that will be launched in 2021 as the BMW i4.

Little electric, a lot of horsepower

Sounds good first. But if you take a closer look at the booth, the reality is different. Instead of numerous electric cars there are powerful coupes or fat SUVs around, monoliths from the distant past. Many of the exhibited vehicles have six or eight cylinders and often 600 hp under the hood.

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IAA 2019: Too green to be true

The factual premieres of Bavaria at the fair. The BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe, or the new BMW M8 Coupe with V8 engine, 625 hp and a top speed of 305 km / h. However, these models do not roll onto the stage at the press conference, it almost seems as if BMW is trying to conceal the bitter truth. Whether this is due to the fact that such PS cars could further fuel the irritable mood in the climate debate, which was announced with protests at the IAA for the weekend, can only be speculated.

Even at Audi, the selection of electrical innovations is thin. Nevertheless, the Ingolstadt announces great and green. "The future is electric," rejoices Audi board member Bram Schot. Audi plans to launch 30 electrified models by 2025, including 20 pure E models. "We are the clock for everyday e-mobility," Schot boasts.

Audi shows electric moon car

The full-bodied announcement then follows - nothing: The only electrical novelty that rolls Audi on the stage, is the concept car Audi Ai Trail: a fully electric off-roader with a novel body concept, the car looks like a lunar vehicle. Audi board member Bram Schot still calls it "the most beautiful form of sustainable mobility". Series production? Rather unlikely.

The second IAA premiere then does not fit the proclaimed electric revolution: the new Audi RS7 Sportback with four-liter V8 engine, 600 hp and optional top speed of 305 km / h. So the model e-tron remains the only available Stromer from Ingolstadt until further notice.

One hall further has Daimler CEO Ola Källenius also big plans: By 2022, the vehicle production of Mercedes in Europe should be completely CO2-neutral, by 2030, every second vehicle sold should be an e-car and by 2039, finally, the entire fleet CO2 be neutral.

Honda drives up, Mercedes stays behind

At the fair, the electric offensive at Mercedes but still in the distant future. There is the study EQ S an electrical alternative to the S-Class. The future top model of the electric EQ family with a 450 hp engine should have a range of up to 700 kilometers. The maximum speed is according to Mercedes at more than 200 km / h. With the EQV Mercedes also shows the electric version of the V-Class, which will come on the market from 2020 onwards. The only currently available E-model is the EQC.

The electrical innovations at Mercedes are flanked by five new plug-in hybrids of the A- and B-Class, and two SUV derivatives of the GLE and GLC, which can at least partially drive electrically. But also among the Stuttgart people, especially powerful models shape the picture at the fair. Among them, for example, the new Mercedes-AMG GLE Coupe with six-cylinder engine and 435 hp.

For example, Opel also demonstrates that it can do something else with its compact Corsa-e electric car with 136 hp and a range of 330 kilometers. The Japanese manufacturer Honda shows the production-ready Honda e with 153 hp and 220 kilometers range.

VW holds back - and delivers

Among the major German manufacturers, the VW brand is relatively restrained. Although CEO Herbert Diess announced plans to bring nearly 70 new electric cars on the market by 2028, he estimated that this would mean "a total of 22 million electric cars" by then. However, VW focused on the presentation of the new electric car ID 3, with which the electric mobility is to be mass suitable. Otherwise, VW showed next to a new version of the electric small car e-Up nor the T-Roc convertible as a premiere at the exhibition stand. However, there was no over-motorized luxury sedans or high-horsepower SUVs.

The fact that many large manufacturers continue to rely on large fuel guzzlers has two reasons: First, SUVs are still in great demand among customers, around one in five newly registered cars is an SUV. Second, the big cars in China are still selling well. With a share of 40 percent of all cars sold, China is the most important sales market for the VW Group. At Daimler and BMW, this share is around one quarter. But since China is increasingly driving forward the switch to e-mobility through laws and subsidies, German manufacturers must also rethink there. The IAA would have been a great way to do that.

Source: spiegel

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