For me, attention was held most by a phenomenon outside the halls: there, platoons of electric BMW i3s silently swept weary journalists from one end of the complex to the other.
This is not a new car – it’s been shown in final production form for some time. But looking at an immobile car under artificial light is very different from seeing one functioning in real life and, for me, it resulted in what I believe is called a moment of clarity.
There and then I realised that this is the first electric car that will sell for reasons other than being electric. It looks funky and modern, an item of real quality and not at all like something Noddy might have dreamt up in his abstract phase. Above all it looked credible, and if you buy one with the little range-extender engine option that gives it a range of more than 300 miles, credible it will be. Cleverly, showing the i3 in action also made BMW’s other electric car – the hybrid i8 supercar that was on view inside – seem more real, too.
I think both will prove showroom gold and, worryingly for Mercedes and Audi (who also rented entire halls to peddle their wares), they seem to have nothing up their sleeves with which to punch back. Which is not to say they didn’t come to Frankfurt full of surprises.