Tide turns against combustion engines as carmakers including BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Renault showcase battery vehicles

When Angela Merkel addressed the Frankfurt motor show, it was not to a backdrop of revving engines but an exhibition of noiseless electric Golfs, South Korean hybrids and Japanese fuel-cell cars.

The silence should have pleased the chancellor, who in the wake of the VW emissions scandal has hinted at a possible ban on sales of the diesel cars for which German manufacturers are renowned. German cities plagued by air pollution, including Munich, home of BMW, are mulling over the banning of diesels from their centres.

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