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Top 5 green cars at Frankfurt Motor Show 2013

It’s less than a week until the doors of the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA2013) are flung open for twelve days of automotive ogling.

With around 1,000 exhibitors spread over 230k square meters, there’s plenty to go at, however we’ve highlighted some of the greenest cars set to appear at this season’s most important car show.

Volkswagen’s electric debut

IAA2013 will provide the stage for the world premiere of Volkswagen’s first-ever fully electric cars.

The e-up! – a 100% electric version of VW’s city car - will make the jump from conceptland to showroom when it arrives here at early 2014. It uses an 60kW electric motor to drive up to 99 miles with a 86mph top speed and 12.4 second 0-62 dash.

Following halfway through 2014, the e-Golf packs a stronger 85kW electric motor to deliver a 118 mile maximum range, sprinting to 62mph in 10.4 seconds with an electronically limited 80mph top speed.

IAA2013 will provide the stage for the world premiere of Volkswagen’s first-ever fully electric cars.

All the electric technology such as the motors, gearboxes and lithium-ion batteries have been developed in-house at VW and manufactured at the brand’s large component plants in Germany.

Pricing and spec-lists are expected to be revealed during their unveiling on September 10 - the opening day of the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Toyota’s hybrid showcase

Heading to one of the world’s biggest motoring events without any new metal for car-nuts to pour over would be seen as a risky move for some car makers, however Toyota don’t seem too bothered.

Instead, the Japanese hybrid kings will use its Frankfurt exhibition space to show off some of the tech destined for future Toyota and Lexus hybrids including the next Prius, due 2015.

New more compact powertrains, lighter in weight and cheaper to produce, will aim to maintain the Prius’ record for reducing CO2 emissions by 10% with each new generation.

Toyota will use its Frankfurt exhibition space to show off some of the tech destined for future Toyota and Lexus hybrids

The next Prius will feature smaller electric motors with a higher power density four times that of the original Prius in 1999, as will improved batteries with greater energy storage capacity.

Toyota has ramped up research, development and production capacity for both nickel metal-hydride and lithium-ion batteries as well as new battery technologies such as solid state and lithium-air, and chemistries beyond lithium, such as magnesium and other low-valence materials.

The Prius Plug-In may not even necessarily need to be plugged-in next time round with the likely inclusion of a new wireless charging system which produces resonance between an on-floor coil and an on-board coil to transmit power to the battery.

Meanwhile, the high performance Hybrid-R concept will be unveiled. The model, based on the current Yaris Hybrid, combines a high-power internal combustion engine with electric motors to achieve a maximum power output of more than 400bhp (298kW).

Toyota will also reveal more on its plans to launch a fuel cell vehicle by 2015 (more on that here).

Peugeot’s 208 goes hybrid

Whatever you think of Peugeot’s hybrid history (less said about the 3008 HYbrid4, the better), the motivation behind the Peugeot 208 Hybrid FE concept is certainly admirable.

Its mission couldn’t be simpler: reduce CO2 emissions of the lowest-emitting 208 (a three-cylinder 1L with 99g/km CO2) by half.

With a 49g/km CO2 output, it’s fair to say it succeeds (we’ll let it off 0.5g) and performance is impressive, dashing to 62mph in eight seconds.

Its hybrid powertrain consists of the same three-cylinder engine and the battery and electric motor from Peugeot's Sport's Endurance Programme: boosting efficiency by 10 per cent.

The 208 Hybrid concept cuts CO2 emissions by half, compared to the next lowest emitting model

Mercedes-Benz plugs-in the S-Class

Frankfurt 2013 could go down as the year of the plug-in with Germany’s most influential car makers unveiling brand new production-ready plug-in vehicles.

We mentioned VW, the other is Mercedes-Benz with its S500 – aka the plug-in S-Class (BMW is third with the X5 but more on that later).

Aside from 3-litre turbocharged petrol engine under its bonnet, the S500 uses an 80kW electric motor which allows it to cover around 18 miles on purely electric power.

This beautiful marriage of petrol and electric propulsion results in a 94.2 combined mpg with just 69g/km of CO2 slipping out the back-end.

The hybrid is no slouch either with a claimed 0-62mph time of 5.5seconds and a 155mph top speed.

The S500 uses an 80kW electric motor which allows it to cover around 18 miles on purely electric power.

BMW’s plug-in baby

BMW’s plug-inable X5 may be appearing in Frankfurt as a concept but we’re counting on the powers-that-be green-lighting it after attracting buckets of interest (we hope).

The X5 Plug-In uses an improved version of the eDrive hybrid powertrain which appeared in BMW’s Concept Active Tourer, revealed at the Paris Motor Show in September 2012.

With a fully electric range of up to 19 miles at speeds of up to 75mph, the SUV boasts a combined fuel economy figure of 74.3mpg and 90g/km CO2 output, marking a huge step forward on the next best X5 - the 30d SE - which emits 162g/km.

The third generation X5 hits UK showrooms this November but we wouldn’t expect to see a plug-in version, estimated to cost £70k, to arrive until 2015 at best.

The BMW x5 concept has a fully electric range of up to 19 miles

Frankfurt Motor Show opens for media previews on September 10-11 before public visitors are allowed in from the 12th until September 22. Visit iaa.de/en/visitors/ for more details.

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John Simpson

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