While the Covid-19 pandemic continues to ravage the world, we were quite fortunate to witness the Auto Shanghai 2021 actually take place. Since March 2020, Covid-19 has disrupted several important auto shows around the world, with the Auto Shanghai 2021 being one of the first major international auto shows to take place in over a year. And in true auto show fashion, the event saw unveiling of several new concepts and prototypes from carmakers around the world. So here's our pick of the top 5 new vehicles showcased at the Auto Shanghai 2021, the ones which made the biggest headlines.
The Toyota bZ4X electric crossover concept is the first vehicle that previews Toyota's new bZ range of electric models, where bZ stands for 'Beyond Zero'. This vehicle is underpinned by Toyota’s new e-TNGA platform that has been co-developed with Subaru. One of the most striking things about the bZ4X is its design. The sharp and aggressive exterior styling combined with minimalistic, yet futuristic driver cockpit preview a new design philosophy for Toyota. Heck, it even gets a solar charging system on board. Toyota has even trademarked the bZ Series in India.
Honda SUV e:prototype
One of the biggest head turners at Auto Shanghai 2021 was certainly the Honda SUV e:prototype. It has essentially evolved out of the Honda e: Concept that was showcased at Auto China 2020 but in reality, it looks more like an all-electric version of the recently unveiled third-gen Honda HR-V. While both SUVs look very similar, the Honda SUV e:prototype differentiates itself with a closed off grille and plenty of lighting tech all around. As Honda hasn't revealed any technical specifications, all we know is that it runs on all-electric propulsion. The carmaker, however, did reveal that it will come equipped with advanced connected tech and driver assistance features.
Audi A6-e tron Concept
It must be said that the Audi A6 e-tron was one of the most beautiful looking concepts at the Auto Shanghai 2021 with an imposing Softback coupe-like design philosophy. The A6 e-tron concept is an electric equivalent to the Audi A6 and it also debuts Audi’s new Premium Platform Electric (PPE) architecture. Audi claims it can deliver a range of over 700km and in typical Audi fashion, it gets some innovative headlight tech that doubles up as a projector for your video games. Technical specifications are still scarce but Audi claims it can sprint from 0-100 kph in under seven seconds. The A6 e-tron will go into production and launch by 2022.
Genesis G80 EV
Apart from concepts and prototypes, Auto Shanghai 2021 also saw the unveiling of a slew of new production-spec vehicles. One that particularly caught our eye was the Genesis G80 EV. The Genesis G80 EV is the brand's first step towards electrification and it will be sold alongside its internal combustion-engined counterpart. The difference here is that it will be powered by a 370PS/700Nm dual-motor electric powertrain setup and can deliver a range of up to 500km. Although its based on the same architecture as its ICE-powered counterpart, the G80 EV gets its own cosmetic updates, several EV-specific bits and even a solar panel on the roof for charging.
Ora Punk Cat EV
Last but not the least, we will end with what has been one of the most controversial new displays at the Auto Shanghai 2021. GWM's electric arm, Ora, unveiled its new electric vehicle dubbed the Punk Cat that uncannily resemblances a Volkswagen Beetle. Said to be inspired by the original Beetle from the 1960s, the Ora Punk Cat EV has even attracted the ire of Volkswagen legal department. Knock 0ff aside, we will admit the Punk Cat does a pretty nice job in honoring what is arguably one of the most iconic designs in the automotive world, albeit with a modern flavor and four doors. This too is an EV, although technical specifications haven't been revealed yet.