Wednesday 7th March 2018.


Coming up today, more manufacturers stop selling diesels in favour of hybrids whilst one very large one commits to diesel.  Plus more from today’s Geneva Motor Show like the Hyundai Kona which we’ll talk about on the show tomorrow.



  • But first of all something I teased at the start of the podcast yesterday, as it was being announced, was the first ever electrified Bentley.
  • The Bentayga Hybrid will come with a 3.0 litre petrol engine combined with a plug in hybrid system capable of 31 miles of silent running.
  • Bentley said this was the “worlds’ first luxury hybrid”. Let’s just give Land Rover a call and see if they would class their recent Range Rover Sport Plug In as either luxury or hybrid. I’m thinking they would.
  • The Bentley can be selected to drive in EV mode, or the common Hold mode, should you be driving into one of the urban areas soon to ban or charge a levy for driving diesels, you can hold the charge and opt run on electrons when you need to.
  • Charging is what you would expect for a battery around 10-15kWh, they said it would fully fast charge in 2hr 30mins, although nowhere could I find the size of the battery or the motor.
  • The combined power from the electric motor means it should get 75g/km on the NEDC measurement here in Europe. A reminder that from later this year all cars will have to move to WLTP standard which is much more like real world driving, and is said to be far less flattering on those big engine luxury cars which have been adding small batteries to achieve theoretical low emissions. The Bentayga is coming in the second half of 2018.



  • It has been a busy day of statements from car makers, any one of which would be headline news on another day, but the new kept on coming.
  • First I heard that Honda announced they were cutting diesels from their model line ups.
  • And then Toyota popped up in my news feed, as they said they would stop the sales of diesels in Europe and shift all their focus on electric hybrids, from this year.
  • They said it was due to customer reaction and you can see why, with less than 10% of their fleet being diesels, they’re hardly making a sacrifice. However it will not only generate good publicity but add to the pain for other car makers who commit to diesel, and Toyota are said to be one of the only ones who might achieve the strict new EU rules. More on that later on the show.
  • Toyota has sold over 400,000 hybrids in Europe and are committed to soft hybrids rather than plug in. They aren’t expected to market pure BEV’s until at least 2020. In fact their recent TV ads featured charging stations covered in cobwebs, as they actively tried to take aim at those who want to plug in their cars, with campaigns for their luxury Lexus brand saying they charge themselves. Which sounds like you’re stretching the truth about as far as you can. They’re not magical, they just burn fossils



  • Next do you remember the Honda Urban EV Concept unveiled a few months back at the Frankfurt Motor Show? It’s the cirlcle-eyed, tech laden concept with two bench seats for passengers. And now today at Geneva, Honda confirmed “a production version” is coming.
  • Speaking during Honda’s 2018 Geneva motor show press conference, Senior Vice President, Honda Motor Europe, Philip Ross confirmed the news, “A production version of this highly acclaimed concept will be introduced to Europe during late 2019, and in response to the positive feedback to this model, we expect to open order banks for the Urban EV during early 2019.”



  • Talking of concepts which have been confirmed, BMW said in Geneva the concept they showed off in Frankfurt will be coming.
  • It’s part of a line up of 25 full BEVs or electrified cars. The concept was, what BMW called, the future of e-mobility. Now it will be made in Munich as the i4.
  • And then they noted the specs which, at concept stage, don’t mean too much to be honest. 0-62mph in 4secs, top speed 120mph, 373 miles ranges and a new battery system made of magical fairy dust.
  • Really the specs don’t mean a thing apart from what sort of segment they might be aiming this at, plus add a little range for optimism. So this puts it in Model S territory. However there’s no date set, and all they say is their range will be complete by 2025. So really having a car which can do what a Tesla did 10 years before it, isn’t too much to boast about.
  • I wonder sometimes if auto execs and their PR handlers know things like this before making these kind of statements. Tesla was so far ahead of its time and continues to innovate, with increasing autopilot sophistication and the Model 3 interior, it doesn’t blow me away to hear a BMW will match a Tesla by 2025.



  • Onto a car which is here, almost. The Porsche Mission E will be here in 2019 and plans are well advanced, including the installation of 800-volt charging stations at all their dealerships in North America to make use of the 350kW charging in the Mission-E.
  • Yesterday at Geneva Porsche showed off a new model called the Mission E Cross Turismo. This is a crossover utility vehicle, which has all-wheel drive, four doors and room for cargo.
  • The specs mirror that of the Mission-E so 310 miles range with 250 miles added in just 15 minutes of charging time.
  • Although a future model, Porsche says it’s road-ready as it’s built on the work they’ve already done.
  • Given the price it will be up there with Tesla Model S and X territory so will have to be very special, from the pictures, it does look it.



  • Aston Martin confirmed at Geneva they’re bringing back their legendary Lagonda brand for all their future electric cars.
  • CEO Andy Palmer explained: “We believe people associate luxury in their cars with a certain traditional and even old fashioned approach because, to date, that is all that’s been available to them. Lagonda exists to challenge that thinking and prove that being modern and luxurious are not mutually exclusive concepts.”
  • So they’re going more the way of Tesla than Bentley, in that automation and pure electrification.
  • Their aim is to work with solid state batteries, they think 400 miles range is the sweet spot and they want to find a way to use induction charging to top the battery in 15 minutes. If some of that sounds a little pie in the sky, it is, because Aston Martin don’t have the deep pockets of their rivals. so they’ll need a partner to achieve those ambitions.



  • And now, if you felt the room go a little cold, let’s finally get onto someone who made big headlines yesterday ? Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller.
  • The more I think about this statement the more I don’t think he would have wanted the press to pick up on one phrase, when English is his second language.
  • However let’s see what he said to Bloomberg: “Diesel will see a renaissance in the not-too-distant future because people who drove diesels will realize that it was a very comfortable drive concept. Once the knowledge that diesels are eco-friendly turns up in people’s minds, then for me there’s no reason not to buy one.”
  • “The rules of the game in the EU in relation to climate protection and emissions goals on CO2 are so challenging that governments cannot do without diesel,” he said.
  • And this from a company which would have an extra $30billion in the bank were it not for Dieselgate. From that we’ve seen cities introduce diesel bans in the future, other makers run away from the fuel, and even in Germany they’re talking about bans.
  • The problem comes from European Union regulations to cut carbon dioxide. CO2 was the focus of pollution many years ago and diesel at the time was seen at the answer, without the full dire consequences on public health realised from particulates and Nitrogen Oxides.
  • The next target on the horizon is an EU rule that fleet emissions from all cars sold by each brand should be 95g of CO2 per km by 2021. Meeting that would be slightly easier with diesel, but since Dieselgate, public opinion has turned.
  • Saying that, Mueller told reporters VW won’t miss those targets. Which doesn’t make sense ? if VW can hit the targets, why the panic? Because these are hefty fines coming for those that miss the target. Diesel sales fell 19% in Germany last month, and in the UK last month were 35% down from 50% in 2014.
  • Last October investment research house MSCI warned all carmakers apart from Toyota are at risk of being fined by the EU for missing targets



  • Finally, I don’t often read a government tweet, but this one caught my attention. In the UK a tax exemption for taxi drivers starts next month in April, to get an extra £1550 off a new electric cab. Zero emission taxis also have no road tax to pay.
  • Each London diesel cab replied with an electric REX saves 7 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, and there are 75,000 on the roads.
  • Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond said: “This is a victory for the environment and new technologies, which I am determined to support as we build an economy fit for the future. Ensuring the air in our bustling towns and cities is free from pollution is part of our quest to become the first government to leave the environment in a better state than we found it.


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