20th March 2018
Geneva 2018 – models and technology of interest to fleet managers and company car drivers
Taking our customary look at the Geneva International Motor Show, widely regarded as the most important each year, what concepts, reveals, announcements and technical developments stood out in 2018 that are of particular interest to fleet managers and company car drivers?
In the first part of our Geneva roundup, we look at models and technology that will soon make their way onto organisations’ fleets, plus a mind-boggling concept that could revolutionise what was formerly one of the motor car’s most humble components – the tyre.
Likely company car contenders
While other shows like Detroit and Frankfurt have recently shone primary attention on end-to-end mobility concepts, autonomous vehicles and even ones that fly, Geneva resolutely focussed on debuting exciting automotive metal1, some attendees remarking on this year’s show’s unapologetic air of opulence as one of its key take-home themes2.
Away from the £240,000 Range Rover SV Coupe, Bugatti Chiron Sport, Mercedes’ new S-Class, a plug-in hybrid Bentley Bentayga and an electric Aston Martin concept, Geneva 2018 nonetheless presented a number of cars that will appear on certain organisations’ fleets in the near future3.
With SUV perceived by many as the must-have body-style, company car drivers will love the Italian style on offer from the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, and the bewildering array of A8-matching technology stuffed into the new Audi A6. Audi also tested their Tesla Model X-rivalling e-tron electric SUV on roads outside the venue.
Facelifts of BMW’s 2-Series Active Tourer and X4 SUV may not have sent fleet managers’ spines tingling, but those with an early adopter mindset will relish being able to offer their staff Honda’s all-electric and aesthetically pleasing Urban EV hatchback in 2019, the car once again featured at Geneva.
For fleets that require large, spacious vehicles with four-wheel drive, Hyundai’s new Santa Fe looks an exciting prospect and is set to feature plenty of safety and autonomous technology, while the new Kia Ceed, the moniker’s apostrophe now dropped, will tick many boxes for fleets seeking all-round value.
Mercedes’ A-Class hatchback has long topped contract hire and leasing charts and it’s unarguable that company car drivers will be smitten with the attractively styled new version complete with a stunning interior. For fleet drivers requiring a saloon but wanting to stand out from the crowd, Peugeot revealed its all-new 508, which has adopted the trendy ‘fastback’ silhouette. The new Volvo V60 should also win many fans based on its beautiful looks, while Renault’s updated Zoe R110 now features more power and an improved range.
The real star of the show was probably the Jaguar I-PACE, though, blending style, luxury and sporty performance with that all important full-EV status that fleet managers are increasingly aiming for, with range anxiety not a concern.
Technology that will benefit fleets
Big data and connected cars now feature in a growing number of fleet managers’ roles with, for example, self-diagnosing vehicles able to automatically communicate problems which can then be rectified more efficiently, minimising the length of time cars and vans are taken out of service.
Goodyear’s intelligent tyre prototype4 involves sensors and cloud-based algorithms continuously working in unison to appraise fleet operators of a tyre’s condition in real time, from temperature and pressure to wear and tread depth. Proactive maintenance will help fleet managers extend the life of their vehicles’ tyres, which will become increasingly pertinent as shared mobility continues to grow.
A stunning environmental concept
Goodyear’s other Geneva 2018 concept, called Oxygene5, is remarkably filled with living moss, while its smart tread pattern absorbs and circulates moisture and water from the road surface, replacing CO2 with O2 as it rotates, like a rolling photosynthesis laboratory. Designed to address the air quality and pollution problems in urban environments, this incredible tyre concept would be 3D printed using powder from recycled conventional tyres, concurrently easing the burden on natural resources. With no air inside, it would even be immune to punctures. Its benefits don’t stop there, though, as Oxygene has been envisioned to contain its own artificial intelligence connected to the IoT, and would even feature an LED strip in the sidewall, with different colours displayed depending on what manoeuvre a vehicle is undertaking. Granted, it’s a pipedream at this stage, but some of the technological components are already becoming a reality.
Read the second part of our Geneva International Motor Show 2018 blog to discover the exciting fuel-related presentations that were made and will undoubtedly intensify one of the foremost debates in fleet management.
3. https://www.carmagazine.co.uk/car-news/motor-shows-events/geneva/geneva-motor-show-preview-a-z-of-all-the-new-cars/#2018 Geneva motor show A-Z listing
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