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Is our automotive future being revealed at German shows?

Our occasional roundup of new car news and notes

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Instead of the Frankfurt Auto Show, Munich is hosting the IAA 2021 show as well as an IAA Mobility showcase looking at all sorts of sustainable mobility solutions. Automakers are using the events to unveil concept vehicles, including those below:

Audi’s private jet for the roadway

automotive future, Is our automotive future being revealed at German shows?, ClassicCars.com Journal

Calling it “the private jet for the road,” Audi unveiled its Grandsphere luxury sedan concept vehicle at the IAA 2021 auto show in Munich. The electric-powered sedan shows a “new interior concept: free space in the front row,” Audi proclaimed, adding that “automated driving creates an innovative experience sphere.”

In automated mode, “the interior turns into a spacious sphere of experience without a steering wheel, pedals, or displays,” Audi said. “And the front seats become a first-class lounge with maximum space, more open views, and access to all the functions of a holistic digital ecosystem that the Audi Grandsphere is integrated into.”

The vehicle is the second of three “sphere” concepts Audi plans to show. The first was the Skysphere, a roadster with a variable wheelbase designed to enhance driving dynamics whether cruising or in sport mode.

The third “sphere” will be the Urbansphere, coming in 2022.

Porsche’s Mission R for motorsports future

automotive future, Is our automotive future being revealed at German shows?, ClassicCars.com Journal

Porsche’s Mission R concept vehicle is an electric-powered race car that “combines state-of-the-art technologies and sustainable materials, such as natural-fiber-reinforced plastics, with a passion for racing.”

“Porsche is the brand for people who fulfill their dreams,” Oliver Blume, Porsche AG chairman, is quoted. “This is also true in motorsports. We experience our innovative strength on the race track, demonstrate courage in pursuing new avenues and delight car owners with sporting performance. The concept study is our vision of all-electric customer motorsports. The Mission R embodies everything that makes Porsche strong: performance, design and sustainability.”

Mission R has all-wheel drive, nearly 1,100 horsepower and a top speed of more than 185 mph. The powertrain is designed so it can be recharged from 5 percent to 80 percent capacity in 15 minutes.

The basic material of the car’s body and interior is produced from flax fibers. 

When not on the track, the cockpit is designed to be used as an esports video-game simulator, Porsche added.

Cupra shows UrbanRebel concept

automotive future, Is our automotive future being revealed at German shows?, ClassicCars.com Journal

Cupra, the performance division of Spanish automaker SEAT, unveiled its UrbanRebel Concept in Munich, where the former Frankfurt auto show has been transformed into the international auto show at the IAA Mobility event.

Cupra says the concept “pushes the limits to deliver a radical interpretation of the company’s future urban all-electric car,” a vehicle scheduled to debut in 2025.

“The urban electric car is a key strategic project not only for our company, but also for the Volkswagen Group, as our aim is to produce more than 500,000 urban electric cars per year in Martorell for different Group brands,” Cupra chief executive Wayne Griffiths was quoted. “The urban electric car will democratize and make accessible electromobility to the masses.”

Cupra calls the concept “a gamification look” coming from the virtual to the real world. It adds that the 320kW powertrain takes the car to 100 km/h in 3.2 seconds.

The concept is based on VW’s MEB short platform, which makes us wonder if this not only is a future Cupra model, but perhaps the next Volkswagen GTI?

BMW  i Vision Circular showcases ‘circular economy’

automotive future, Is our automotive future being revealed at German shows?, ClassicCars.com Journal
automotive future, Is our automotive future being revealed at German shows?, ClassicCars.com Journal

BMW showed its i Vision Circular, a concept “demonstrating the consistent design of a car according to the principles of a circular economy,” it said. “The overall design goal of this visionary vehicle was to create a vehicle that is optimized for closed material cycles and achieves a rate of 100% recycled materials or 100% recyclability. In addition to bio-based and certified raw materials, materials that have already passed through a product life cycle – so-called secondary materials – are used for this purpose. 

“This also applies to the energy storage system: The solid-state battery of the BMW i Vision Circular is 100% recyclable and almost completely made from recycled materials. At the same time, it will achieve a considerably higher energy density with significantly fewer of the most valuable resources.”

BMW Group design head Adrian van Hooydonk said the car’s circular design is based on four principles — Re:Think, Re:Duce, Re:Use and Re:Cycles.

BMW offers 2-wheel solution

automotive future, Is our automotive future being revealed at German shows?, ClassicCars.com Journal

BMW Motorrad presented Concept CE 02, which is called “a 

new interpretation of smart, urban single-track mobility… (an) electric vehicle concept, which is neither a classic motorcycle nor a scooter, is an exciting and highly emotional mobility offer.”

“The Concept CE 02 features new proportions and modern forms of single-track mobility in an urban environment,” said Edgar Heinrich, head of design for BMW Motorrad.

Designed to appeal to those age 16 and older who have not previously ridden a motorbike but are open to new experiences. BMW suggests the CE 02 would be a successor to a skateboard. It is designed to be customized, weighs around 265 pounds, has a top speed of 55 mph and a range of around 55 miles.

AMG version of electric Mercedes

automotive future, Is our automotive future being revealed at German shows?, ClassicCars.com Journal

“100 percent emotions, zero percent emissions” is the headline on the news release about the 2022 Mercedes-AMG EQS, the electrified luxury sedan that has been to Affalterbach for some performance tweaks. 

“At the heart of the new Mercedes-AMG EQS is its performance-oriented drive concept with two motors,” the announcement notes. “The powerful electric powertrain with one motor each at the front and rear axles has fully-variable AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive, which optimally transmits the drive power to the asphalt in all driving conditions. 

“The basic version achieves a maximum total output of 649 hp, with a maximum motor torque of 700 lb-ft. Further, the standard AMG Dynamic Plus package briefly increases maximum output to up to 751 hp while using Race Start mode with boost function. The maximum motor torque also increases up to 752 lb-ft.”

The motors in the AMG version are AMG-specific, the new release points out.

But wait, there’s more:

“Mercedes-AMG models have always stood for emotionality,” the company said. “The vehicle sound has always been an important part of the hallmark AMG driving experience. This will continue to be the case in the future. The AMG EQS brings a new, powerfully sonorous sound to electric driving. Its sound system uses special loudspeakers, subwoofers and a sound generator to create a special sound experience in two versions: ‘Authentic’ or ‘Performance.’ 

“This exclusive AMG Sound Experience is generated inside and out with a tonality and intensity to match the current driving status, the selected driving mode or the driver’s preference.”

Mercedes-Benz also unveiled a slew of electric vehicles including the Concept EQG, based on a potential G-Class model; the Mercedes-Maybach EQS concept; the 7-seat EQB, which will be offered soon in Europe and China and in the US in 2022; and the EQE, an electrified E-Class sedan. 

And yet there’s more…

Noting that BCI — brain-computer interface — technology already is being used in medical science, Mercedes is preparing for the day when a vehicle occupant will select such things as navigation destination, ambient light settings and radio stations by thought control. It is using its Vision AVTR, first seen at CES in Las Vegas in 2020, as a test bed for automotive applications of BCI.

Michelin says it will make tires from trash

automotive future, Is our automotive future being revealed at German shows?, ClassicCars.com Journal

Need to recycle a dozen plastic water bottles and as many as 143 yogurt cups? Michelin says that by using high-tech recycling processes, those bottles and cups can become ingredients in a passenger car tire.

During the IAA Mobility showcase in Munich, the French tire company has six teams in downtown Munich collecting discarded bottles and cups that it says it will use to produce as many as 100 tires. 

“As early as 2024, the first Michelin tires containing recycled yogurt cups and PET bottles will hit the road, with the potential for around four billion PET bottles to be recycled every year as raw material for tires,” the company said.

“We want to address society’s plastic problem and offer solutions,” added Anish Taneja, chief executive of Michelin Europe North.

Visitors to the Michelin book could learn about the technology involved and how the company is recycling wood, plastic and packaging waste. Michelin plans to use 40 percent sustainable materials in its tires by 2030, and to boost that percentage to 100 by 2050.

The company also is using the IAA event to demonstrate prototypes of its airless Uptis tire and its Michelin Vision Concept vehicle.

Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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