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2009 Frankfurt Motor Show - Autoline Daily TV Report: Europe Backs Off Diesels, EVs Dominate Frankfurt, VW Wants To Add Brands

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Frankfurt September 15th, 2009; Is Europe turning its back on diesels? The Frankfurt Auto show is dominated by electric cars. Volkswagen looks at adding two more brands to its portfolio. All that and more, plus more unveils from the Frankfurt Auto Show. Click Play to Watch

Here are today’s top headlines. Is Europe turning its back on diesels? The Frankfurt Auto show is dominated by electric cars. And Volkswagen looks at adding two more brands to its portfolio.

Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.

This is Autoline Daily for Tuesday, September 15, 2009. And now, the news.

Electric cars are all the rage at the Frankfurt show, and Renault is clearly out to grab the high ground. It introduced four different electric cars, in three different sizes. The smallest is the Twizy, a two-passenger city car with tandem seating. It’s 2.3 meters long, about seven-and-a-half feet, and only a little over one meter wide, or just over three feet. Renault says it offers the performance of a 125 cc motorcycle.

The Renault Zoe is aimed at people who have more than one car. It has 21-inch wheels, and a very unique rear door to allow passengers easier access to the rear seat, as well as access to the trunk.

The Renault Fluence is the most conventional looking electric car the French automaker unveiled, at least on the outside. But when you look inside this family car it looks a lot more like a futuristic fantasy machine, which of course, is what concept cars are all about.

The Kangoo will also look familiar since it’s already in production, though not as an electric vehicle. This concept version is designed to meet the needs of delivery or transport companies with its high opening tailgate and flat loading floor. Renault plans to put all these vehicles into production in the next three years.

Peugeot unveiled this EV called the BB1. You’ll note the car’s windshield that runs up to the roof and continues all the way to the back of the car. It also features suicide doors, and a steering wheel that’s more like the handle bars on a bike. The BB1 can also seat four people even though it’s only 2.5 meters long, a little over eight feet.

Not all the news at Frankfurt was about EVs. The Wall Street Journal reports that Volkswagen is interested in adding two more brands to its portfolio, and that doesn’t include Porsche. The Journal says VW’s new brands could include Ducati, the motorcycle maker, Suzuki, which we’ve reported on already, and MAN, the big truck and diesel engine manufacturer.

After the break we’ll show you Audi’s outrageous electric version of the R8, the new van that Ford will be bringing to the American market and even more from the Frankfurt auto show.

While most automakers seem to be focusing on electrifying compact cars, Audi went with the e-tron, an electrified version of the R8. With a water-cooled 42 kilowatt lithium-ion battery onboard it should have a range of 248 kilometers or around 150 miles. It has four electric motors, two on each axle, delivering a total of 313 horsepower and get this – 3,319 pound-feet of torque! From a standstill it should hit 100 kilometers an hour in about 4.8 seconds.

Bugatti showed the Galibier, named after an Alpine mountain pass. According Autoblog, this top-dollar four-door features a two-tone outer shell made of dark-blue carbon fiber and polished aluminum. The look is stunning and unlike anything else out there. Expect it to share the same 8.0-liter W16 engine with the Veyron, except the Galibier can run on ethanol. Top speed is rumored to be 217 miles an hour!

Ford announced more details about its EcoBoost engine lineup. It’s premiered two four-cylinder versions at Frankfurt. A 1.6-liter unit will cover the 150 to 180 horsepower end of the market, while a larger 2.0-liter version is good for 200 horses and beyond. The company has confirmed that the two-point-oh will launch globally INCLUDING North America next year.

Ford introduced two C-MAX models at Frankfurt. One, a five-seat version, the other a seven-seater called the Grand C-MAX which will make its way to North America in 2011. It seems to be aimed right at Chrysler’s minivans with features like sliding doors on each side and a seat stowage system that allows the middle seat in the second row to fold under the two outer seats. The two C-MAX models are the first vehicles to launch on Ford’s all-new global C-platform. The two vehicles go on sale in Europe next year.

Citroen introduced a rechargeable hybrid car, called the REVOLTE. The small car features an engine mated to an electric motor that are both able to drive the wheels. It has the ability to run in all-electric mode and it can also recharge the batteries to supply the electric motor. Solar panels cover the front hood, that help operate some of the cars electric functions. Inside it resembles a lounge with a three seat set up and features suicide doors for easier access.

Volkswagen introduced an electric version of the Up, called the E-Up!. The electric motor is powered by lithium-ion batteries which allow it to travel 130 kilometers, or 81 miles. The roof is equipped with solar panels to help power the cars electrical system. It also features a unique layout inside to fit more passengers in the vehicle.

Before we go, I wanted to mention that NEXT WEEK MONDAY – that’s September 21st – we’re having Tom Stephens, GM’s Vice Chairman of Product Development in the studio. Starting around 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time, you’ll be able to watch LIVE as we tape an episode of Autoline Detroit. Then the discussion will continue in an exclusive web-only broadcast in which we’ll be taking some of your questions and comments.

You can submit questions in two ways starting TODAY. One, you can send an e-mail to, just make sure you put “Tom Stephens Question” in the Subject Line so we can find it easily. Two, you can leave us a voice message by dialing 1-620-288-6546.

Anyway, that’s it for today’s top auto news. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.