IAA - Frankfurt Motor Show 2011 (1): VW, BMW, and Daimler

Lineup of compact cars, EVs, and PHVs are enhanced, including VW up!, BMW i, and Mercedes-Benz B-Cla



 The IAA 64 Frankfurt Motor Show 2011 was held at Messe Frankfurt in Frankfurt, Germany from September 15th to 25th, 2011 (press days were on September 13th and 14th). During this period, 928,000 people (announced by the organizer) visited the Motor Show which was up by 10% from the previous Motor Show that was held in 2009.

 Major OEMs that exhibited their products were as follows: (1) three Germany-based OEMs: VW, BMW, and Daimler, (2) European OEMs: Renault, PSA, and Fiat (including Chrysler's Jeep brand which is under its umbrella), (3) U.S. OEMs: GM (Opel, Chevrolet, and Cadillac brands) and Ford, (4) Japanese OEMs: Toyota (including its Lexus brand), Nissan (only its Infiniti brand), Honda, Mazda, Suzuki, Subaru, and Mitsubishi (small-scale exhibition in an EV-related booth), and (5) Korean OEM: Hyundai Group which displayed products under its Hyundai and Kia brands.

 In our report, we will (plan to) provide a summary on each OEM's exhibition which will be broken down into three reports. The first report is on the exhibition by the three Germany-based OEMs: VW, BMW, and Daimler. These three OEMs all introduced their new compact cars and unveiled their EV/PHV concept cars. Concerning compact cars, VW introduced its smallest model under the brand, the up! BMW unveiled its new 1 Series and Daimler unveiled its new B-Class.

 The EV/PHV concept cars that the three OEMs unveiled are divided into three types. The first type is the 1/2-seater, ultra-compact commuter EV. VW's Nils and Audi's Audi urban concept are among them (Renault's Twizy and Opel's RAK e, which will be reported in another report, are also the same type). The second type is the compact EV/PHV. Among these models are the VW e-up!, BMW i3 concept, and Daimler's Mercedes-Benz B-Class E-cell Plus concept car. The third type is the slightly large car: the BMW i8, a sports car PHV, and Daimler's F125!, a plug-in fuel cell vehicle.

VW Group: Smallest model under VW brand, up!, makes debut and EV concept cars under VW/Audi brand are showcased

 For the first time, VW unveiled the up! which is its smallest model under its VW brand. This model is the first among its products that VW calls "New Small Family." During the Frankfurt Motor Show, a large number of visitors gathered to see the up!

 Many EV concept cars were also exhibited. It can be seen that focus is being put on EVs, including investment in electrification. The EV concept cars that were exhibited under the VW brand were the e-up!, the EV version of the up! mentioned above, and the Nils 1-seater model; and under the Audi brand were the Audi urban concept 2-seater model and the A2 concept.

 Under the SEAT and Skoda brands, large sedan/hatchback concept cars were exhibited.

 As for the venue, the VW Group and the brands under its umbrella exclusively used the ground floor of the third hall. Audi exhibited its models in a temporary-built dome with a lane for a test drive.

VW's smallest model, the up! The up! EV version, one of the six concept models.
VW's smallest model, the up!

The up! EV version, one of the six concept models of the up! VW plans to launch it in 2013.

VW's new compact car, up!

Overall length of 3.5m The up! is VW's smallest 3-door, 4-seater compact car for urban areas. It has a size of 3,540L×1,641W×1,478H (mm) with a wheelbase of 2,420mm. In comparison with the VW Polo 5-door compact car, this model is about 400mm shorter in length but its wheelbase is only about 50mm shorter.
3-cylinder, 1L engine The engines available for this model are two versions of a newly-developed, naturally-aspirated, 3-cylinder, 1L gasoline engine (maximum output of 44kW/60PS or 55kW/75PS) and a CNG engine (50kW/68PS). The company has also developed a new transmission; a 5-speed AT and a 5-speed MT are available.
Fuel economy The European combined cycle fuel economy of the BlueMotion version, equipped with an idle reduction system and a regenerative braking system, is 4.2L/100km (60PS engine) or 4.3L/100km (75PS engine).
Automatic emergency braking system (According to VW) An automatic emergency braking system is available in this model as an option which is the first among the models of this class. When the vehicle is running at 30km/h or slower, a laser sensor scans an area of 10m ahead. If it detects the risk for collision, it mitigates damage by automatic braking.
From 9,850 euros The lowest selling price (in Germany) is 9,850 euros. The initial launch of this model was in Germany in September 2011. It is scheduled to be released across Europe in December of the same year.
New Small Family This model is the first of an entry-level compact car series which VW calls "New Small Family." It is said that models such as the coupe and minivan will also be introduced in this series in the future. In addition, derivative models of this series are also planned under the Skoda and SEAT brands which are under the umbrella of VW.
(Notes) 1. VW also exhibited six other concept cars of the up! (1) The cross up!, a 5-door model; it is said that production will begin in the near future. (2) The GT up!, a model with improved driving performance (3) The eco up!, a model with a CNG engine which will be launched as early as 2012 (4) The e-up!, an EV model which will be launched in 2013 (5) The buggy up!, a 2-seater buggy model (6) The up! azzurra sailing team, a 2-seater model with no roof and no doors which an Italian designer designed, imagining a yacht.
2. Skoda unveiled the Citigo, its own version of the up!, on September 27th, 2011. This model shares the same specifications with the up! except for the exterior in which Skoda made some alterations. The company will release the model in Czech Republic in 2011 and in other European countries in the summer of 2012. Initially, a 3-door model is only available; however, a 5-door model will be added in 2012. The price has yet to be made public.

Audi A2 Concept

Smaller body than the A1 The A2 concept is a 4-seater compact concept car with a size of 3.80L×1.69W×1.49H (m). Compared to the Audi A1 (one class lower), it is about 17cm shorter in length and about 5cm shorter in width, but is 5cm higher in height; the company says that four adult occupants can be seated comfortably. The body is mainly made of aluminum parts and carbon fiber reinforced polymer parts. The total weight is 1,150kg.
Electric powertrain The powertrain is electric. The maximum output of the front-wheel-drive motor is 85kW (116PS). The capacity of the Li-ion battery is 31 kWh. The cruising range is about 200km. It takes about four hours to fully charge the battery on a standard household outlet (230V) and about one and a half hours on a 400V rapid charge. This model is equipped with a wireless battery charger.
New technology This model is equipped with advanced technology. It has a next-generation LED technology called Matrix beam, a high beam that avoids blinding a driver of an oncoming vehicle by switching off some diodes. A glass roof that can be made transparent with a touch of a button. A by-wire technology that informs the vehicle of the entire driving operation. A system that lights a band of red lamps from the front to rear door panels based on the strength of braking.


The A2 Concept
The A2 Concept. Audi has used the model name, A2, again; it has been six years since this name was last used.


VW/Audi's 1/2-seater ultra-compact EV concepts, VW Nils and Audi urban concept

VW Nils The VW Nils is a 1-seater EV concept car that has a long and thin-shaped aluminum body, wing doors, and wheels that project outward. It is a very compact car with a size of 3.04L×0.86W×1.2H (m). The weight of the body is only 460kg. It is a concept car that is assumed to be used mainly for commuting. In addition, this model is equipped with an automatic emergency braking system and safety equipment that automatically keeps a safe distance.
The capacity of its Li-ion battery is 5.3 kWh (Note). The cruising range is about 65km. It takes about two hours to charge the battery (230V). The maximum output of a motor weighing 19kg is 25kW. The maximum speed is 130km/h. The motor, battery, transmission, and inverter are housed in the rear part of the vehicle body as an integrated drive unit to drive the rear wheels.
Audi urban concept The Audi urban concept is a 2-seater urban EV concept car. The body of this model is made of carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP). The wheels are projected outside the body. It has a size of 3,219L×1,678W×1,189H (mm) and weighs 480kg. A coupe type and a roadster type are available. The seats of this 2-seater model are not located side by side; the passenger seat is located 30cm behind the driver's seat which is a way to minimize the width.
The powertrain is electric. Two motors are set between the rear wheels; the combined maximum output is 15kW (20PS). The Li-ion battery with a capacity of 7.1kWh is loaded behind the seat. The cruising range is about 73km. It takes about an hour to fully charge the battery on a standard household outlet (230V) and about 20 minutes on a 400V rapid charge. This model is equipped with a wireless battery charger.

(Note) VW says that the 5.3 kWh battery used in the Nils curbs cost and the cruising range is enough for this type of (commuter) vehicle.


VW's 1-seater EV concept car, the Nils Audi's 2-seater EV concept car, Audi urban concept
VW's 1-seater EV concept car, the Nils Audi's 2-seater EV concept car, Audi urban concept (roadster type)

Concept cars under SEAT and Skoda brands

SEAT IBL concept car The SEAT IBL concept car shows the design of SEAT's next-generation sports sedan. It is characterized by a lamp that utilizes LED technology and a coupe-like roof line. It is 4.67m long and 1.85m wide, being as large as a full-size sedan.
Skoda MissonL The Skoda MissonL is a hatchback design concept car. It is about 4.6m long and will soon go into production. The company is scheduled to launch this model in Europe, Russia, and China in 2012 as Skoda's sixth model. Skoda says that it is a model that will decide the direction of its design for the company to achieve a sales goal of 1.5 million units under the Skoda brand in 2018.


SEAT's concept car, the IBL concept car Skoda's concept car, the MissonL
SEAT's concept car, the IBL concept car Skoda's concept car, the MissonL


BMW: i3 EV concept, i8 PHV concept, and new 1 series compact car make global debut

 BMW held a press conference, before any other OEM, (8:30 local time on September 13th) to unveil its i3 EV concept and i8 PHV concept. These concept cars are under its sub-brand, BMW i, which was introduced in February 2011. The i3 is scheduled to be launched in the second half of 2013 and the i8 is planned to be launched a little later than the i3. Under the BMW brand, the company unveiled its 2nd-generation 1 Series compact car to the world premiere; it will be launched in the fall of 2011. In addition, under the MINI brand, the MINI coupe made a global debut.

 BMW exhibited its products in the newest exhibition hall (11th hall) at the venue. The company set up a lane that was connected to the platform stage, where the company held the presentation; the lane was used to bring vehicles in when the press conference was held. During the regular exhibition, BMW drove its vehicles, including the former well-known ones, and the sound of the engines echoed in the exhibition hall.

New sub-brand, BMW i

BMW i BMW i is BMW's sub-brand of its next-generation eco-friendly vehicles. It will launch the i3 EV in the second half of 2013 and the i8 PHV a little later, and will produce these two models at its Leipzig plant in Germany. The company is said to be considering another model that will fill the gap between these two-model lineups.
Body structure The body consists of two units: the Drive Module and the Life Module. The Drive Module is a chassis in which a drive system, battery, and suspension are assembled onto an aluminum structure. The Life Module is a vehicle interior of which carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) is used for the frames. The body has achieved weight reduction and high collision safety.


The EV BMW i3 Sports car type PHV, the BMW i8
The BMW i3 EV Sports car type PHV, the BMW i8

BMW i3 EV concept & i8 PHV concept

i3 concept The i3 concept is an EV that was previously called the Mega City Vehicle. It is a 4-seater model with double doors (with no B-pillar). The motor is housed behind the seat and drives the rear wheels. The Li-ion battery is mounted under the center of the Drive Module where it achieves a low center of gravity and also secures a spacious interior so that an occupant can easily move to the left or right of either the front or rear seats.
In addition to the regular acceleration, the accelerator pedal of the i3 concept has two other functions, deceleration and neutral. When the driver's foot lifts off from the accelerator pedal, the motor starts to work as a generator to recover deceleration energy and, at the same time, decelerate the vehicle. In addition, the accelerator pedal has a neutral position. In neutral position, the energy is not recovered when the driver's foot lifts off from the accelerator pedal and the vehicle coasts.
A compact gasoline engine, called REx, is available as an option to extend the cruising range. This engine is also mounted at the rear part of the body (specifications are not made public).
i8 concept The i8 concept is a 2+2 seater PHV sports car that is based on a concept car called the Vision EfficientDynamics. A front-mounted motor drives the front wheels while a rear-mounted gasoline engine drives the rear wheels (the two drivelines are not connected). A Li-ion battery is housed in the center tunnel; the weight distribution ratio of the front and rear wheel is 50:50.
The front-mounted motor is the same as that of the i3, but has been improved for PHVs. In addition, the rear-mounted engine is a newly-developed 1.5L 3-cylinder gasoline engine which can charge a battery through a generator that is attached to the engine.

(Note) For the above BMW i vehicles, BMW's unique kidney grill remains upon having it framed in blue. Yet, the rear part of the kidney grill is covered because it does not need to take in air for cooling.

Main specifications of BMW i3 concept and i8 concept

i3 concept i8 concept
Length/Height/Width 3845mm/1537mm/2011mm 4632mm/1280mm/1955mm
Wheelbase 2570mm 2800mm
Seating capacity 4 2 + (2)
Vehicle weight 1250kg 1480kg
Max. output/Max. torque 125kW / 250Nm System max. output/max. torque: 260kW/550Nm Of which gasoline engine: 164kW/300Nm, motor: 96kW/250Nm
Max. speed 150km/h[93mph] Controls to 250km/h [155mph]
Fuel consumption rate (EU cycle) - 2.7L/100km ≒104mpg imp(66 g/km CO2)
Cruising range in EV mode Normal driving condition: 130-160km FTP72 cycle: 225km approx.35km
Battery charging time Standard: 6 hours to charge 100% Rapid charge: 1 hour to charge 80% Standard: 1:45 hours to charge 100%

BMW 1 Series: 2nd-generation compact rear-wheel-drive model

 The new BMW 1 Series is the 2nd-generation premium compact hatchback. It is a rear-wheel-drive model with a longitudinal engine. The size of the body is larger than the former model; the body is longer by 85mm (4,324mm) and is wider by 17mm (1,765mm) with a longer wheelbase by 30mm (2,690mm) (the overall height is the same). This model is produced at the Regensburg plant in Germany.
 This model comes with a newly-developed, in-line 4-cylinder direct-injection 1.6L turbo gasoline engine or an in-line 4-cylinder 2.0L turbo diesel engine and an 8-speed AT or a 6-speed MT. The fuel efficiency is 5.5-5.9L/100km for a gasoline model and 4.4-4.6L/100km for a diesel model. The entire version is equipped with a start-stop system.

Mini Coupe: 5th model under Mini brand

 The Mini Coupe is the first 2-seater, 3-box car under the MINI brand. This model is almost as long and wide as the MINI hatchback, but the height is lower by 52mm. It is characterized by a design called "Helmet Roof" which consists of a roof spoiler and a rounded roof line. The active rear spoiler automatically rises at 80km/h.


The BMW 1 Series The sixth model under the Mini brand, the Mini Coupe
The BMW 1 Series. It is the second-generation model of BMW's premium compact hatchback. The fifth model under the Mini brand, the Mini Coupe


Daimler: Exhibits fuel cell concept car, F125!, and new B-Class

 Under the Mercedes-Benz brand, Daimler exhibited models such as the F125! which is a research model of its future fuel cell vehicle, the new B-class compact car which is scheduled to be launched in November 2011, and the B-Class E-cell Plus PHV concept which is based on the new B-class. Under the smart brand, the company showcased models such as the EV version of its smart fortwo which will be launched in 2012 and its EV concept car, the smart forvision.

 Daimler displayed models on each floor on a grand scale by setting up a temporary-built, three-story, open exhibition space in the exhibition hall.

Daimler's FCV research model, the F125!
Daimler's FCV research model, the F125!

Mercedes-Benz F125!: Plug-in fuel cell research vehicle

F125! The F125! is an FCV research vehicle in commemoration of the automobile's 125th anniversary. This model is a plug-in FCV that can be charged from an external power source. It is imaged as a future S-class model of more than two generations ahead, in the year of 2025 and later. The cruising range is 1,000km. A motor is attached to each of the four wheels, allowing torque control of each wheel (dubbed the e4MATIC).
Square hydrogen tank The company plans to fill 7.5kg of hydrogen into a square tank at a pressure of 30 bars or less. Hydrogen is currently filled at a pressure of 700 bars; therefore, a cylindrical tank is needed. Yet, a square tank allows a more flexible design, including layout. This technology is still in the basic research stage. The company is aiming to begin production in 2025.
Lithium sulfur battery The company uses a lithium sulfur battery (capacity of 10kWh), which is called a next-generation secondary battery, for a storage cell. It aims to nearly double the energy density of the lithium sulfur battery to 350Wh/kg from the current technology level. The company is currently developing the product, also aiming to start production in 2025.
(Notes) 1. The hydrogen fuel stack is an improved version of the B-class F-cell. The motor is an improved version of the SLS AMG E-cell.
2. The lithium sulfur battery is one type of Li-ion battery that uses sulfur for cathode and lithium for anode.

Mercedes-Benz New B-Class:Compact sports tourer

B-class The B-class is the new model of its compact hatchback that Daimler calls "compact sports tourer." In November 2011, the company will start marketing this model in Europe. The price of this model in Germany remains at about 26,000 euros (including VAT) or higher.
Body It has a size of 4,359L/1,786W/1,557H (mm). The length is 84mm longer but the height is 48mm lower than the former model, and it has a more sporty appearance. The height of the seat is 86mm lower which allows securing a wider interior. This model has an excellent aerodynamic characteristic (Cd value 0.26) which is close to that of the E-class Coupe (0.24).
Powertrain The powertrain is a direct-injection 4-cylinder 1.6L gasoline engine (two types: maximum output of 90kW [122hp] and 115kW [156hp]) or a 1.8L turbo diesel engine, all of which are newly developed. The engines have smaller displacement than those of the former model. This model comes with a newly-developed, 6-speed MT as standard equipment. A new 7-speed, dual-clutch transmission is available as an option.
Fuel efficiency The fuel economy of the gasoline engine model is 5.9L/100km (137-138g CO2/km) which has been improved by 12% from the former model. The fuel economy of the diesel engine model is 4.4L/100km (114-115g CO2/km) which has been improved by 21% from the former model.
Safety equipment This model is equipped with a radar collision warning system (Collision Prevention Assist) and a drowsiness detection system (Attention Assist) as standard equipment.

Mercedes-Benz B-Class E-cell Plus PHV concept

B-class E-cell Plus concept The B-class E-cell Plus concept is a PHV concept car that is based on the new B-class. It can run up to 100km in EV mode. When a 3-cylinder 1.0L turbo gasoline engine is activated, the cruising range can be extended up to 600km. The company aims to begin production in 2014.
Powertrain The powertrain is a motor with a maximum output of 100kW/rated output of 70kW and a 50kW gasoline engine to drive the front wheels. The gasoline engine mainly charges the Li-ion battery through a generator when the vehicle is running at 60km/h or slower (series mode) and jointly delivers drive force with the motor to the front wheels when the vehicle is running at over 60km/h (parallel mode).
Battery The Li-ion battery that will be used is supplied by Deutsche Accumotive, a joint venture company between Daimler and Evonik (details are not made public).

(Note) Daimler calls it an electric car with range extender.

The new Mercedes-Benz B-Class The B-Class E-cell Plus concept
The new Mercedes-Benz B-Class The B-Class E-cell Plus concept, a PHV that is based on the new B-Class

Mercedes-Benz Concept A-Class

Concept A-class The Concept A-class is a 2-door, low hatchback concept car with a long hood. It debuted at the Shanghai Motor Show that was held in April 2011. This model has a sporty appearance as it is lower in height than the current model. It comes with a direct-injection, 4-cylinder, 2.0L gasoline engine (maximum output of 155kW [210hp]) and a 7-speed, dual-clutch transmission. The new A-Class is likely to be launched in 2012.


The Mercedes-Benz Concept A-Class
The Mercedes-Benz Concept A-Class. It is scheduled to be launched in 2012.

smart fortwo electric drive: First commercial EV under smart brand

smart fortwo electric drive The smart fortwo electric drive is Daimler's 3rd-generation EV under the smart brand which will be launched in 30 countries worldwide in the spring of 2012. This model is produced at the Hambach plant in France, and it is targeting to produce "a five-figure-number" units. The company is considering a selling price of 16,000 euros (excluding VAT) or less.
Electric powertrain The electric powertrain is a motor with a maximum output of 55kW and a maximum speed of 120km/h (rear-wheel-drive), which is made by EM-motive, a joint venture company with Bosch. A Li-ion battery (capacity of 17.6 kWh), supplied by Deutsche Accumotive, is loaded on the floor, under the seat. The cruising range is about 140km. The company newly added a rapid charging function, making it possible to charge the battery in slightly less than an hour.
Network connection Through the charging cable, this model can access the internet. The user can confirm the possible range of cruising on a special website before starting to drive or can start the air conditioner beforehand. In addition, a special application is available for iPhone users.

(Note) The production of the 2nd-generation model was limited to slightly more than 2,000 units. The maximum output and maximum speed of this model's motor are 30kW and 100km/h, respectively. The Li-ion battery is supplied by Tesla.

smart forvision: Concept car that demonstrates latest technology for EVs

smart forvision The smart forvision is an ultra-compact EV concept car that is jointly developed with Daimler and BASF, a Germany-based major chemical company. To extend the cruising range of the EV, they utilized new technology in three fields: energy efficiency, weight saving, and temperature control. They say that, with these technologies, the cruising range of the EV can be increased up to 20% in the future.
Energy efficiency On the roof, a hexagonal transparent organic solar cell and a transparent LED interior light are equipped. With these, the roof passes light and also works as a glass roof. The solar battery supplies electricity to the multimedia system and ventilation system to minimize the extra drain of drive battery.
Weight saving This model adopts a producible, whole-plastic wheel which is molded with continuous fiber reinforced plastic. The companies say that a weight saving of 3kg per wheel is possible. In addition, carbon fiber reinforced resin is also used for the vehicle body and door.
Temperature control Efficient seat heating and a light-weight seat have been achieved by using thin/light-weight, conducting fiber, e-textile. The intrusion of heat into the vehicle interior or the rise in temperature of the vehicle surface has been minimized by using an infrared ray-reflection coating/painting on glass parts and vehicle body surface.


The smart fortwo electric drive EV concept car, the smart forvision
The smart fortwo electric drive. It is scheduled to be launched in the spring of 2012. EV concept car, the smart forvision

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