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Automakers Hope to Charge Things Up at Frankfurt

Assortment of hybrids, plug-ins and battery-electric models debuting at auto show.

by on Sep.09, 2013

The Audi Sport Quattro Concept features a 700-hp plug-in hybrid drivetrain.

With sales slipping to two-decade lows in recent months, the European automotive market has come unplugged – which may be why brands as diverse as BMW, Volkswagen and Porsche are hoping to charge things up with the many hybrids, plug-ins and battery-electric vehicles making their debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week.

Manufacturers see a number of potential benefits from electric propulsion, especially in a market where regular unleaded gasoline is going for the equivalent of more than $9 a gallon in some market. The technology also will prove critical if makers hope to meet Europe’s increasingly stringent restrictions on CO2 emissions – a particularly tough challenge for high-line manufacturer like Mercedes-Benz, which will introduce a new plug-in version of its big S-Class sedan at the Frankfurt show.

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The range of new battery-based offerings will be “all over the map,” suggested Stephanie Brinley, an industry analyst with IHS Automotive – from the little Volkswagen e-Golf to the plug-in diesel hybrid being introduced by Land Rover for its flagship Range Rover SUV. (more…)

Ford Planning C-Max Hybrid

Maker will offer 5 hybrids in Europe by 2013.

by on May.10, 2010

Ford will add two hybrid versions of the C-Max people mover, shown here at last year's Frankfurt Motor Show.

Ford will launch a hybrid version of its C-Max people mover in 2013, making it the first of five hybrids the automaker plans to offer in Europe.

Two separate battery-based versions of the C-Max will be offered: a full hybrid, capable of running for just brief distances on electric power alone, and a plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle, or PHEV, that will be able to make longer runs on battery power.

The $410 million project will be based at Ford’s Valencia plant, and is getting off the ground with the assistance of grants from both the Spanish government and Valencia regional authorities.

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The C-Max is being updated for the 2011 model-year and will be offered in five and seven-seat versions – though the hybrids will use only the smaller configuration.  Along with the two electric drivelines, Ford offers the people mover with several gasoline and diesel powertrains, as well.