Trends: ZEV and Hybrids Reach Critical Mass

In this past year we’ve witnessed zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) reaching a tipping point, with nearly every major OEM showcasing examples for sale in the near-future. Two different approaches are emerging, typified by Volkswagen and BMW.

Volkswagen is positioning the e-Golf and e-Up! as extensions of their Bluemotion sub-brand, with subtle but clear design signature motifs on the exterior such as C-shaped DRL lamps and a blue-edged VW logo. The Mercedes B-Class and Audi e-Tron take a similar approach.

Meanwhile, in the other camp, BMW, Toyota and Nissan are taking a more holistic approach with unique models designed to allow customers to show their green credentials more overtly. The i3 is case in point, with BMW having developed an entirely new sub-brand to cater specifically to an conscious clientele hell-bent on sustainability.

Toyota focused completely on their hybrid model leadership at the IAA in Frankfurt, having sold the Prius for over a decade. The Yaris Hybrid-R is a deliberate attempt to showcase hybrid technology for maximum performance and increased driving pleasure, rather than humble economy.

Renault’s Zoe falls somewhere between: it has unique exterior panels but is closely related to the donor Clio. Which will prevail?


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