Wait, weren't autonomous vehicles supposed to be all the rage?
But the run-up to this week's Frankfurt auto show has been all about electric vehicles — and not just new EVs but new EV strategies. It feels like the 2009 Frankfurt show.
The show that year was summed up in one word: "electrification." Virtually every manufacturer unveiled a vehicle using the latest battery technology. Among the concepts in 2009 were the Audi e-tron, Mercedes-Benz Vision S 500 Plug-in Hybrid, Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid and the Volkswagen E-Up pure-electric version of VW's Up city car. Oh, and Tesla's Model S.
Now EVs are the talk of Frankfurt again.
As part of the show buildup, BMW Group last week announced it will offer 25 electrified vehicles, including 12 EVs, by 2025. Mercedes-Benz said it will showcase its upcoming EQ subbrand for electric cars with the EQ A concept — and, by the way, plans 10 long-range electric vehicles by 2025.
Volkswagen said it will show a new version of its I.D. Crozz full-electric crossover in Frankfurt — part of a plan to introduce 30 new EVs by 2025.
Jaguar Land Rover also weighed in last week, saying all its new vehicles will be available with full electric, plug-in hybrid or mild-hybrid technology, starting in 2020.
How much of this is Tesla envy?
Well, when Volkswagen brand chief Herbert Diess was asked by an internal company publication this summer to name VW's competitors, he said: "In the old world, it is Toyota, Hyundai and the French carmakers. In the new world, it is Tesla."