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E-cars make headlines at Frankfurt Motor Show (updated)

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FRANKFURT, Germany (Sept. 17, 2015) — Electric-powered vehicles from Porsche A.G. and Audi A.G. have grabbed headlines at the 66th annual Frankfurt motor show, but the use of alternative power trains is just one direction the world’s car makers are taking at this biennial gathering.

Daimler-Benz A.G. also has plans for an electric-powered Tesla fighter in the next few years, although it does not at this time have a prototype on display.

Germany’s sports car maker Porsche headline grabber is Mission E, a white, flowing all-electric four-seat concept looks like a cross between a 911, 918 and Panamera.

Porsche A.G. photo Porsche Mission E concept.

The Mission E is powered by an 800-volt drive system, good for 600 hp sent through all four wheels. Two “permanently excited” synchronous motors power the car and recover braking energy. The E also comes with all-wheel steering, would clock a 3.5-second 60 mph sprint and takes about 12 seconds to get up to 124 mph, according to Porsche.

Porsche claims the Mission E can travel 310 miles on a single charge and batteries can be recharged 80 percent in just 15 minutes. Doubling the voltage to 800 has the advantages of shortening charging times and lowering weight, due to the fact that it can use smaller-gauge cables for energy transport, the car maker said.

It can also be charged at a 400-volt quick-charging station or replenished at home via induction. The battery runs the length of the vehicle from front to rear axles, distributing weight evenly and helping keep a low center of gravity.

VW’s Audi brand is showing e-tron Quattro, an all-electric concept that the car maker that resembles a chiseled Q5 and which provides a look at a planned electric SUV from the company, which should arrive in early 2018.

Audi, quattro, electric
Audi A.G. photo Audi's e-tron quattro concept.

The e-tron concept uses three electric motors: One motor drives the front wheels and two drive the rears. Total output is 429 hp normally and 496 during small events of boost. Torque, good from zero rpm, is pegged at 590 lb-ft. Top speed is 130 mph while the sprint to 62 mph takes 4.6 seconds.

The 95kWh-battery is good for a range of 310 miles while a full charge with a 150kW charger takes about 50 minutes, according to Audi.

The concept gets an adaptive air suspension which can lower the car to reduce drag at speed. All-wheel steering makes the vehicle more maneuverable at low speeds and more stable at high speed, according to Audi.

Mercedes, Tesla, aerodynamic, Frankfurt
Automotive News photo Mercedes-Benz's Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile concept, being shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Mercedes plans to begin selling an electric vehicle with a range of 250 to 310 miles within a few years, possibly in 2018, Thomas Weber, Daimler board member in charge of Mercedes-Benz car development, told Automotive News in an interview.

The planned EV isn’t meant to be competitive with the company’s electric versions of the Smart ForTwo, Mercedes B class or the Mercedes-AMG SLS, Mr. Weber said, but instead likely will need to be a larger vehicle to accommodate the size of the battery pack necessary for that proposed range.

Some of the aerodynamic features shown in the auto maker’s Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile concept unveiled at the Frankfurt auto show on Tuesday could be used to help extend electric range, Mr. Weber said.

Other highlights of the first couple of days at the Frankfurt Motor Show include:

Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. showed the Gripz, a concept that’s supposed to represent a new take on its ubiquitous Z sports car, but the concept is much closer to a crossover The Maxima-nosed 4X4 concept supposedly was inspired by the Safari Rally-winning Datsun 240Zs of yore, displaying the hallmarks of Nissan’s “emotionalgeometry” styling language.

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This report is based on reporting by Automotive News and Autoweek magazines, sister publications of Tire Business.

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