From Tesla to Porsche, New EVs Revealed at Germany’s International Motor Show | Kanebridge News
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From Tesla to Porsche, New EVs Revealed at Germany’s International Motor Show

By Jim Motavalli
Tue, Sep 12, 2023 8:54amGrey Clock 5 min

Roped off on the Volkswagen Group stand at the IAA Mobility auto show in Germany was perhaps the sexiest car present, the Porsche Mission X concept. The supercar is aimed at being the fastest road-legal vehicle at the Nürburgring race track’s Nordschleife loop. The inspiration, on Porsche’s 75th anniversary, was the legendary 1985 959, the fastest series-production car of its time, capable of traveling 196 miles per hour. A more modern ancestor was the 918 Spyder of 2013.

Of late, Porsche, Rimac, and Tesla have been battling back and forth over the electric record at the German track. Rimac took the title Aug. 18 via its Nevera, but the Tesla Model S Plaid Edition with Track Pack has also been a contender, beating Porsche’s Taycan Turbo S.

Despite its racing mission, the Mission X will be a production car and appears totally ready for road work, with a luxurious leather-clad interior. The steering wheel looks like a video game controller, though, and the passenger-side stopwatch is for timing events—with both an analog and digital display. The road version seems likely to become a limited-edition special edition, and if so it should sell out quickly—even at what is likely to be a pretty high price.

The Tesla Model 3 gets a new nose, among several other refinements.
Jim Motavalli

Over at the Tesla booth was the revamped Model 3, which now has a much kinder and more aerodynamic built-to-be-electric nose. It no longer appears to be missing its grille.

Other Model 3 improvements in 2023 include new head and tail lamps, new wheels, fresh aluminium, and textile trim on the interior, customisable ambient lighting and ventilated seats, a quieter cabin thanks to sound-deadening materials and acoustic glass, dual wireless phone charging, available 17-speaker audio and, a somewhat dubious achievement, delete of the turn-signal stalk. Instead, in the name of decluttering the interior, there are a pair of touch-sensitive buttons on the steering wheel. Unfortunately, the wheel turns around so the buttons are not always in the same place. It seems confusing and unnecessary.

Audi’s Q6 e-tron had “Prototype” written all over it.
Jim Motavalli

BMW’s most striking exhibit was the Vision Neue Klasse sedan, reviving a name the company used to introduce its winning line of cars in the 1960s. The car sits on a new EV platform that will support six or seven Neue Klasse models between 2025 and 2027. Combining that platform with the sixth-generation BMW eDrive powertrain and more efficient batteries is said to yield a 30% range and 25% efficiency gain over previous models. The concept shown is striking and uncluttered, managing to be futuristic and slightly retro at the same time. The cabin on view was very airy, with large windows and a panoramic sunroof, an interior-dominating central screen, and seats with avocado inserts.

From Audi came the 2025 Q6 e-tron, which is slotted between the Q4 and Q8, and has been tested in 373 and 479 horsepower variants.

Volkswagen itself showcased another electric, the ID. GTI “hot hatch” concept based on the ID.2 (an entry-level EV we didn’t get in the U.S.) The GTI model has always been welcomed by American buyers, so this one could be too. The European price when it goes on sale in 2026 will be approximately US$32,000. VW also displayed the ID.7, a larger EV sedan aimed at executives with a 77-kilowatt-hour battery and a US$67,000 price as shown.

VW displayed the larger “executive” ID.7 electric.

Chinese brands haven’t penetrated the American market yet, but they were out in force in Munich. BYD, the best0selling brand in China, has a large dealer network in Germany already, and showed off its marine mammal-themed Dolphin and Seal models. The Seal is an electric sedan, and its new Seal U variant is a small SUV that uses its technology. The Seal U will have both 71- and 87-kilowatt-hour battery options, and 218 horsepower. That’s not hugely impressive, but the affordable price ($48,000 in Europe) will be a convincer for many buyers. Both Seals had impressive fit and finish, auguring that—if the road performance matches the appearance—BYD is probably ready for U.S. competition.

BMW’s Vision Neue Klasse introduces styling that will be seen on many production models
Jim Motavalli

The venerable British sports car brand MG (an abbreviation of “Morris Garages”) is now Chinese-owned, like Volvo and Polestar. MG has been selling gas, hybrid, and electric SUVs in Europe (16 countries), but at Munich it showed the new Cyberster, a pretty two-seat roadster concept with an electric powertrain. It resembles a beefier Miata more than it does a classic MGB, but it’s definitely attractive. U.S. sales of what was once a popular brand could happen in five to eight years.

Many suppliers were at the show hoping to catch the attention of major automakers. Rimac, which makes its Nevera supercar in tiny numbers, had a stand offering its cutting-edge electric components to other manufacturers. Michigan-based Gentech, a leading maker of the world’s rear-view mirrors, was there showing how technology—from cameras to driver monitoring systems and back-seat kid detection—can be embedded in what was once a simple device. Gentech announced a stake in Israel’s Adasky, which makes tiny thermal cameras that fit just about anywhere.

The MG Cyberster is the first sports car from the reborn brand, now China-owned.

Israel-based Mobileye and Canadian parts supplier Magna International demonstrated their technology for automated driving. Massachusetts-based Nodar revealed its stereo cameras’ ability to see objects in the road at great distances. New York-based J.P. Morgan Chase’s offering was an all-in-one plan for mobility payments—loans, car subscriptions, parking, tolling, and electric vehicle charging. It debuts later this year. And SAE, the standards agency, announced a move into Europe and work on a Battery Passport that will trace the origins of minerals used in their production. “Just as we don’t want blood diamonds, we don’t want blood batteries,” said Fabian Koark, chief operating officer of SAE Europe.


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GENOA, Italy—Renato Zanelli crossed the finish line with a rusty iron hanging from his neck while pulling 140 pounds of trash on an improvised sled fashioned from a slab of plastic waste.

Zanelli, a retired IT specialist, flashed a tired smile, but he suspected his garbage haul wouldn’t be enough to defend his title as world champion of plogging—a sport that combines running with trash collecting.

A rival had just finished the race with a chair around his neck and dragging three tires, a television and four sacks of trash. Another crossed the line with muscles bulging, towing a large refrigerator. But the strongest challenger was Manuel Jesus Ortega Garcia, a Spanish plumber who arrived at the finish pulling a fridge, a dishwasher, a propane gas tank, a fire extinguisher and a host of other odds and ends.

“The competition is intense this year,” said Zanelli. Now 71, he used his fitness and knack for finding trash to compete against athletes half his age. “I’m here to help the environment, but I also want to win.”

Italy, a land of beauty, is also a land of uncollected trash. The country struggles with chronic littering, inefficient garbage collection in many cities, and illegal dumping in the countryside of everything from washing machines to construction waste. Rome has become an emblem of Italy’s inability to fix its trash problem.

So it was fitting that at the recent World Plogging Championship more than 70 athletes from 16 countries tested their talents in this northern Italian city. During the six hours of the race, contestants collect points by racking up miles and vertical distance, and by carrying as much trash across the finish line as they can. Trash gets scored based on its weight and environmental impact. Batteries and electronic equipment earn the most points.

A mobile app ensures runners stay within the race’s permitted area, approximately 12 square miles. Athletes have to pass through checkpoints in the rugged, hilly park. They are issued gloves and four plastic bags to fill with garbage, and are also allowed to carry up to three bulky finds, such as tires or TVs.

Genoa, a gritty industrial port city in the country’s mountainous northwest, has a trash problem that gets worse the further one gets away from its relatively clean historic core. The park that hosted the plogging championship has long been plagued by garbage big and small.

“It’s ironic to have the World Plogging Championship in a country that’s not always as clean as it could be. But maybe it will help bring awareness and things will improve,” said Francesco Carcioffo, chief executive of Acea Pinerolese Industriale, an energy and recycling company that’s been involved in sponsoring and organizing the race since its first edition in 2021. All three world championships so far have been held in Italy.

Events that combine running and trash-collecting go back to at least 2010. The sport gained traction about seven years ago when a Swede, Erik Ahlström, coined the name plogging, a mashup of plocka upp, Swedish for “pick up,” and jogging.

“If you don’t have a catchy name you might as well not exist,” said Roberto Cavallo, an Italian environmental consultant and longtime plogger, who is on the world championship organizing committee together with Ahlström.

Saturday’s event brought together a mix of wiry trail runners and environmental activists, some of whom looked less like elite athletes.

“We like plogging because it makes us feel a little less guilty about the way things are going with the environment,” said Elena Canuto, 29, as she warmed up before the start. She came in first in the women’s ranking two years ago. “This year I’m taking it a bit easier because I’m three months pregnant.”

Around two-thirds of the contestants were Italians. The rest came from other European countries, as well as Japan, Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, Algeria, Ghana and Senegal.

“I hope to win so people in Senegal get enthusiastic about plogging,” said Issa Ba, a 30-year-old Senegalese-born factory worker who has lived in Italy for eight years.

“Three, two, one, go,” Cavallo shouted over a loudspeaker, and the athletes sprinted off in different directions. Some stopped 20 yards from the starting line to collect their first trash. Others took off to be the first to exploit richer pickings on wooded hilltops, where batteries and home appliances lay waiting.

As the hours went by, the athletes crisscrossed trails and roads, their bags became heavier. They tagged their bulky items and left them at roadsides for later collection. Contestants gathered at refreshment points, discussing what they had found as they fueled up on cookies and juice. Some contestants had brought their own reusable cups.

With 30 minutes left in the race, athletes were gathering so much trash that the organisers decided to tweak the rules: in addition to their four plastic bags, contestants could carry six bulky objects over the finish line rather than three.

“I know it’s like changing the rules halfway through a game of Monopoly, but I know I can rely on your comprehension,” Cavallo announced over the PA as the athletes braced for their final push to the finish line.

The rule change meant some contestants could almost double the weight of their trash, but others smelled a rat.

“That’s fantastic that people found so much stuff, but it’s not really fair to change the rules at the last minute,” said Paul Waye, a Dutch plogging evangelist who had passed up on some bulky trash because of the three-item rule.

Senegal will have to wait at least a year to have a plogging champion. Two hours after the end of Saturday’s race, Ba still hadn’t arrived at the finish line.

“My phone ran out of battery and I got lost,” Ba said later at the awards ceremony. “I’ll be back next year, but with a better phone.”

The race went better for Canuto. She used an abandoned shopping cart to wheel in her loot. It included a baby stroller, which the mother-to-be took as a good omen. Her total haul weighed a relatively modest 100 pounds, but was heavy on electronic equipment, which was enough for her to score her second triumph.

“I don’t know if I’ll be back next year to defend my title. The baby will be six or seven months old,” she said.

In the men’s ranking, Ortega, the Spanish plumber, brought in 310 pounds of waste, racked up more than 16 miles and climbed 7,300 feet to run away with the title.

Zanelli, the defending champion, didn’t make it onto the podium. He said he would take solace from the nearly new Neapolitan coffee maker he found during the first championship two years ago. “I’ll always have my victory and the coffee maker, which I polished and now display in my home,” he said.

Contestants collected more than 6,600 pounds of trash. The haul included fridges, bikes, dozens of tires, baby seats, mattresses, lead pipes, stoves, chairs, TVs, 1980s-era boomboxes with cassettes still inside, motorcycle helmets, electric fans, traffic cones, air rifles, a toilet and a soccer goal.

“This park hasn’t been this clean since the 15 century,” said Genoa’s ambassador for sport, Roberto Giordano.


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