The 6 most exciting EVs from the Geneva Motor Show 2024 – from Renault to BYD

A Renault and MG electric car parked
(Image credit: Renault / MG)

The Geneva Motor Show was once the highlight of the European automotive calendar. In previous years, the likes of Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Renault and Volkswagen would all duke it out in a fight to construct the most lavish stands and compete with headline-grabbing concept vehicles.

Times have changed and – for various political reasons we won't get into – the show is now a much smaller, more intimate affair. In fact, you may as well rename this year's offering the Renault 5 E-Tech Show, because the French hatchback commanded more attention that anything else there.

Two Renault electric cars at the Geneva Motor Show

(Image credit: GIMS)

Regardless, a handful of Chinese manufacturers were keen on reiterating their commitment to Europe with a smattering of compelling reveals, while the lure of cheaper show fees for newcomers meant we caught sight of some interesting new tech that would have otherwise been dwarfed by the automotive giants.

This list is more an 'everything that was there' roundup of the Geneva Motor Show 2024, but here is what we deemed to be the most important stars of the show… a show that may not be around for much longer.

1. Renault 5 E-Tech

Renault 5 E-Tech Electric

(Image credit: Renault)

Car fans have been waiting with bated breath for the arrival of the electric Renault 5 since the French marque unveiled the concept back in 2021. European buyers will have to wait until early next year to get their hands on one, but the production model doesn't disappoint.

Chief designer Gilles Vidale and interiors lead Paula Fabregat have ensured that the concept's bold exterior styling and quirky interior have remained faithful to both the concept and the model that sold millions of units during its heyday in the 70s and 80s.

The low, squat stance evokes images of the original Renault 5 Turbo, while a series of eye-popping exterior colors are designed to inject some classic French fun into today's sometimes staid EV landscape. 

Inside, there are dual 10-inch displays, 3D-printed accessories and a new AI assistant called Reno. The little floating Renault logo, complete with animated gloved hands and a cheeky face, brings to mind Clippy, the Office Assistant in Microsoft Word. Just slightly less nannying and annoying. 

Renault 5 E-Tech

(Image credit: Renault)

The Reno assistant can handle lots of vehicle functionality through voice commands and connects to ChatGPT for wider queries and searches. Search the Renault 5 E-Tech’s interior further and you’ll find it can be specified with a clip-on bread basket, capable of carefully transporting a baguette or bouquet of flowers.

These slightly bonkers touches are mated to genuinely arresting exterior styling and an electric platform that is offered with either a 40kWh or a 52kWh battery pack, depending on your demands and budget. The exterior charge status indicator, which comprises the 5 logo and sits where air vents once resided on the original 1970s car's bonnet, is a stroke of genius, while the winking front headlights are cute but also classy touches. 

Renault CEO Luca de Meo says he wants this to be the car that "democratizes EVs", drawing comparisons with today's environment and the tough landscape the original 5 was launched into. "The Renault 5 was the embodiment of everything about the company: joyful, eccentric and affordable," he said. With Renault betting big on electric, this latest model is likely to be just as important to the French firm's continuing success.

2. BYD Seal U and Yangwang U8

BYD Seal U

(Image credit: BYD)

Leading Chinese EV manufacturer BYD is busy making waves in Europe, winning plaudits for its Dolphin, Atto 3 and Seal – the latter was treated to a hybrid makeover for its debut at Geneva this year. Badged Seal U DM-i, in reference to the 'Dual-Mode' powertrain at play here, it takes the form of a slightly taller, slightly more raised and slightly more SUV-ish version of the existing Seal.

But powering the machine is the one-two punch of a 1.5-liter petrol engine and a 18.3kWh battery pack. In pure electric mode, it can travel for around 60-miles on a single charge, but the combined range is more than 310 miles. 

Better still, the Seal U features both AC and DC charging inputs, meaning the diminutive battery packs can be charged a lot faster than most. It takes around 35 minutes to go from 30 to 80 per cent, according to the brand.

Yangwang U8

(Image credit: BYD/Yangwang)

Also taking pride of place on BYD's stand was the gargantuan, military-inspired Yangwang U8 SUV, which boasts almost 1200bhp from its potent 'range-extender' powertrain and has the ability to float on water. It’s already on sale in China, but an appearance at Geneva surely means it is set to spread its wings further, right? 

Well, it has been confirmed that it will go on sale in Brazil, but we will still have to wait and see about other markets. Although we're not sure if Europe's roads are quite ready for it.

3. MG3

MG3 Hybrid

(Image credit: MG Motors)

Although beloved of classic British sportscar enthusiasts, MG is another brand that has undergone enormous transformation under Chinese ownership. The petrol-powered MG3 was among the first produced under new ownership and has proven a success thanks to its cheap, no-fuss approach to motoring.

That model is now due to be replaced by a new and greatly improved hybrid version that looks set to do battle with some seriously established players in the hotly contested supermini class. Its Hybrid Plus system mates a 1.5-liter petrol engine with a small electric motor powered by an equally diminutive 1.83kWh battery pack.

It will only be capable of short hops on electric power alone but the name of the game here is efficiency, with MG stating that its new 3 can offer up to 64mpg and it emits 100g/km of CO2, making it much cleaner than before.

MG3 Hybrid Interior

(Image credit: MG)

On top of this, there is greater refinement and a focus on noise suppression, while a three-speed automatic gearbox is said to offer faster and smoother acceleration than much of the hybrid competition out there.

As with MG's other products, namely its super popular MG4 EV, the 3 is due to get a lot of equipment for the money, with a 7-inch digital driver display and a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system in place, which is now more responsive and more capable than ever.

In terms of a value proposition, things don’t get much cheaper, as rumors suggest the new MG3 will go on sale for around £20,000 (around $25,000 / AUS$39,000). It’s also part of a 20-strong onslaught of "new energy" vehicles that are due to land over the next three years. So we’ll be seeing a lot more of MG before the decade is over. 

4. Silence S04 Nanocar

Silence Nanocar

(Image credit: Silence)

The battery swapping revolution is already in full swing in certain markets, with the likes of Gogoro sweeping much of Asia and Spiro turning vast swathes of Africa onto the notion of small electric scooters that can effectively be charged in seconds.

Barcelona-based company Silence is focussed on Europe, where it says it currently has over 5,000 battery swaps a day taking place across its network in Spain and further afield. Right now, it offers the S01, S01+ and S02 two-wheelers, with some of those scooters able to hit 62mph and cruise for around 80 miles on a single charge.

Now it wants to expand its offering with the latest S04 Nanocar – a model that is powered by two of its bespoke removable battery packs but is no less easy to live with. Simply pull a handle under the car and the entire battery pack neatly comes away, while built-in trolley wheels make it easy to maneuver.

Silence Nanocar

(Image credit: Silence)

Sold as a quadricycle, it is exactly the width of two Silence scooters, meaning it can fit in designated motorcycle parking bays, yet it has air conditioning and a place to house and charge a smartphone.

Think Citroen Ami or Renault Twizy, but this traffic-beater can hit 52mph and travel for around 92-miles on a full charge. It can also top up from a standard plug socket and has enough room inside for two, with space at the rear for shopping bags and luggage.

With a retail price of £15,995 ($20,000 / AUS$31,000), it feels comparatively costly, but Silence offers the opportunity to slash the outlay by 40 per cent when customers choose to rent the battery packs on a monthly basis, rather than purchase them outright. 

Alternatively, pay a monthly membership fee and get access to a fleet of scooters and Nanocars whenever you need.

5. IM L6


(Image credit: MG/IM)

A recent trend has seen some of the biggest names in the automotive game spawn sub-brands that are dedicated to advanced technology and future electrified platforms.

Renault announced it with its Ampere division and now IM, which stands of Intelligent Mobility, has been born out of the MG stable and "will operate in the premium sector with a clear focus on executive saloons and larger SUVs," according to its founders.

The first model to appear outside of China is the L6, which is a premium pure electric offering that hopes to rival the like of Tesla and Lucid, a brand that just so happened to be located next door on the show floor. Oh the irony.

According to IM, the L6 is capable of a 497-mile range, thanks to the latest in solid state battery technology, as well as a 0-62mph acceleration time of under three seconds in the most potent variant.

The car on stand in Geneva was decked out in a sort of skin tone beige with matching alloy wheels – not exactly the most striking piece of design on display but it is clearly packing the latest advances in technology, including numerous cameras, sensors and radar dotted around its curvaceous bodywork.

Naturally, high levels of autonomous driving systems will feature, as will the latest connected infotainment technology. It is slated for a 2025 release in Europe, with essential info, like pricing and specification, due at a later date.

6. Lucid Gravity

Lucid Gravity

(Image credit: Lucid Motors)

Lucid used the Geneva Motor Show as a platform to announce its expansion in Europe, while simultaneously revealing that its premium SUV, badged Gravity, will also be hitting Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Norway later this year.

As a reminder, the Lucid Gravity can accelerate from 0-62mph in 3.5 seconds and has an official WLTP range of over 435 miles. There is seating for seven people inside, with a highly modular interior that sees all seats slide, fold and stow away for storage.

Infotainment is taken care of by a mammoth 34-inch 'floating' screen, complete with 6K display, while a similarly large 'frunk' is roomy enough to turn into an impromptu picnic bench. 

What's more, Lucid says it is also bringing the Air Sapphire model to Europe, complete with its tai-motor, 1,251bhp powertrain, as well as an Air Pure RWD (rear wheel drive) version that is said to be the most efficient model in the range. 

It can reach up to 465 miles on a single charge and will start at €85,000 (£73,000 / $92,000 / AUS$141,000), making it also the most affordable Lucid models yet.

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Leon Poultney

Leon has been navigating a world where automotive and tech collide for almost 20 years, reporting on everything from in-car entertainment to robotised manufacturing plants. Currently, EVs are the focus of his attentions, but give it a few years and it will be electric vertical take-off and landing craft. Outside of work hours, he can be found tinkering with distinctly analogue motorcycles, because electric motors are no replacement for an old Honda inline four.