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The electric car revolution has finally begun…

It was probably the commotion surrounding ‘Dieselgate’ and the impending city-centre driving bans that persuaded the car industry to get its thinking hat on. And in Frankfurt this week, there are some real innovations to be seen…

Audi Aicon

No steering wheel, pedals, or switchgear, but an interior in the style of a first-class aircraft cabin, with comfortable lounge chairs and a digital butler — is this how the autonomous luxury saloon of the future could look like? With its Aicon concept, Audi has finally liberated itself from the burdens of automotive convention and designed a vehicle that could actually meet the needs of the fully networked upper crust. In addition to the lounge interior, the Aicon’s electric drive promises over 800km of range. And instead of regular headlights and taillights, the show car boasts freely configurable displays at the front and the rear. 

BMW i Vision Dynamics

Even though we have to wait until 2021 for it to reach the showrooms, the new BMW i5 — which was revealed at Frankfurt under the working title of ‘BMW i Vision Dynamics’ — could become the most efficient of the in-house electric series, with 600km of range. We can almost hear Elon Musk quaking in his boots. The design is a refreshing departure from the playful look of the i3, with a long wheelbase, newly interpreted radiator grille (which conceals various sensors), and LED lights artfully milled into the body. As of 2025, BMW will offer 25 electric models, of which 12 will be entirely battery-powered. 

Mercedes-Benz Concept EQA

The newest small electric car concept from Mercedes-Benz shows that, in the digital era, the automobile will have many faces. Depending on the driving mode, the grille of the EQA forms either a horizontal bar or vertical struts, akin to the Carrera Panamericana 300SL. For the driving enthusiasts, Mercedes has promised three electric motors — two at the front and another at the rear axle — developing around 270hp and a range of 400km. 

Photos: Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz

Not quite ready for the electric revolution? You can find thousands of conventionally powered cars listed for sale in the Classic Driver Market.