This year’s Shanghai Auto show was dominated by New Energy Vehicles (NEVs) with almost all OEMs showing off their NEV capabilities through production ready models and/or concept cars. With domestic and international exhibitors showcasing 1,400 cars; including 113 world premieres-at the biennial Shanghai auto show. According to the event’s organisers, 159 of all cares exhibited where electric cars, plug-in hybrids and fuel-cell cars, making it just over 10% of all cars exhibited. However, it was the NEVs that took centre stage this year.
New Players on the Block: The NEV start-ups
The NIO stand drew much attention as they revealed their long-awaited SUV ES8 (to start production by end of the year), as well as, showcasing its electric supercar – the EP9. NIO’s self-driving concept EVE was much in tune with other OEMs concept with a sleek and aerodynamic design, that is carried over in the minimalistic and functional interior.
After revealing its executive production MPV Seven to the world just before the Autoshow, Iconiq, who is working together with the acclaimed W Motors, was also receiving much interest. The Seven has a more aggressive styling than the usual MPV yet still maintains an air of exclusivity. It is, however, the interior that makes the MPV Seven so interesting. The Premium model boasts two 17’’ screens, surround sound with noise cancelling capability, and comfortable rotating middle seats, making this a car you want to be driven in.
Also noteworthy are the cars from Yudo and Singleauto that are aimed at the mass market. Simple and efficient designs that are trimmed to the user experience. Both boast a large screen in the middle of the IP, a la Tesla, offering a whole host of connected services. Singleauto is trying to turn some eyes by offering LCD displays on the front and rear that displays the companies name in illuminated letters that move. These can be customized to show pretty much anything (at the Autoshow one of the cars flashed an I “Heart” You).
Existing OEMs and NEVs
For the Local OEMs Most prolific NEVs where the electrified versions of existing petrol engine models. The focus lay more on extending range. Not unexpected, is that in the MMC screens are getting bigger and the offering of connected services is growing as well.
Qoros had their very aggressive and futuristic looking Model K-EV concept on display. With an impressive acceleration to 100km/h in 2.6 seconds and claiming a range of over 500km. It’s asymmetric doors and an unorthodox hood design makes it stand out from the crowd.
The Germans also made an effort to show their NEV development. With the VW group making the biggest push; VW’s electric crossover concept that features both coupe and SUV characteristics; Audi with it’s e-tron Sportback Concept; Skoda with Vision E that had no B-Pillar and counteropening doors.
A special mention needs to be made for the Jaguar I-Pace that got a lot of attention. The working prototype, that was shown off at the Autoshow, used the new packaging for electric components and maximized its wheelbase allowing to maximize the cabin, as well as battery tray space. That combined with its modern exterior look will make it one of the models to watch out for when it will be available during the second half of 2018.
Also the two new players, Geely’s Lynk&Co and Borgward, showed off their existing car-lines which clear indications of developing plug-ins and full electric vehicles in the near future.
These are just some of the noteworthy mentions from the Autoshow, there have been many left out. Such as the Hybrid Kinetic Group with its very exuberant models, Mercedes concept that showed a possible new direction in exterior design, Ford’s long awaited entrance of the F-150 Raptor and GT into the Chinese market and Lincoln’s display of high-end extravagance, Red Flag’s ever increasing range of models, etc, etc.
The 2017 Shanghai Autoshow shows clearly that the market is beginning to change and that connectivity and electrification are the next step followed by automation. It is also visible that designers are embracing more and more the new design possibilities of these new technologies.