The 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show shouldn’t disappoint car fans, with new models for 2015, 2016 and beyond, as well as forward-thinking concepts for the automobile of tomorrow.
Getting a lot of attention at the Frankfurt auto show was the Porsche Mission E, a futuristic, sleek, fully electric sports car from the German luxury car maker. Unlike anything on the road at the moment, it has no rear view mirrors, but instead relies on cameras to cover the blind spots. Capable of travelling 500 km on a single charge, it can replenish its batteries within minutes.
A taste of the car of the future according to its maker: “Since with a concept car you would like to really give a glimpse of the future, you have as a designer much more freedom. You can dare to do things that at least nowadays are not yet legal, but you hope that they will become legal in the future. So we have more freedom,” says chief designer Michael Mauer.
Another concept car that caught attention in Frankfurt was the Mercedes Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile.
A one-off showcase of the brand’s aerodynamic prowess, it boasts a drag coefficient of just 0.19. To accomplish this unprecedented level of slipperiness, Mercedes has developed a dynamic, adaptable body structure that literally changes shape with the push of a button. Even the wheels reduce their indentation to become completely flat, allowing air to slip down the car’s sides.
According to Steffen Koehl, head of Global Advanced Design at Mercedes-Benz, “all the ingredients that are transforming here, that are changing several areas of the car, are technologically totally needed to achieve this fantastic aerodynamic value.”
For motor bike fans who may secretly wish their bikes behaved a bit more like cars, Honda has unveiled its Project 2&4 concept. This car-motorbike hybrid is the result of a contest where designers were asked to put four wheels and a steering wheel on a motorbike engine. The winner, Martin Petersson, came up with a design that looks like a mini formula one car.
“What we tried to do is get that involving immersive riding experience from a motorcycle in to a familiar package, with a steering wheel, with pedals, in to this rather crazy layout to be frank,” he explains.
Bugatti unveiled its Vision Gran Turismo concept car, inspired by the video game of the same name.
While it might look out of this world – it’s not as far fetched as some of the other concepts. Bugatti engineers have calculated that the Vision Gran Turismo, in the virtual world, should be able to hit 400 kilometres per hour at no less than four sections of the famous Le Mans race track. It remains to be seen whether that can be replicated in the real world.
Of course, the Frankfurt Motor Show is all about showing off technical prowess. But there is more to it, according to automobile expert Mark Vaughn, who likens the event to an haute couture fashion show: “Well, a concept car is a chance to dream, to stretch your ideas, to represent an extreme. If you look at a fashion show, ladies fashion for instance, and you see them coming down the runway, what is that stuff? It looks like a huge paper bag, one looks like a trash can on your head. It is just wacky stuff that you are never going to actually make in any great numbers. It is just an idea,” he says.
“It is taking an idea and exploring it to its bitter end sometimes. Same with car concepts. A lot of times it is just a chance to say, ‘We could do this’, or ‘Wow, isn’t this a neat idea?’, or generate some interest in the brand, or take away attention from the fact that there’s nothing else interesting being presented.”
One thing is for sure: the Frankfurt Motor Show More is a chance for more than a thousand exhibitors from 40 different countries to put on an impressive show over the course of ten days devoted to the latest and the coolest in tomorrow’s automobiles.