Thanks to striking British Airways pilots, we took the train from London to Frankfurt (just one change at Brussels, if you’re interested). 

The German city's impressive Victorian main station was festooned with posters advertising hybrid cars as well as very large ‘lifestyle’ ads from Volkswagen, signalling the company’s new ID electric car family and brand re-launch at the Frankfurt motor show.

Frankfurt motor show 2019: live news and updates

Four years is not a long time in the car industry, which makes VW’s massive electric re-tooling in that period highly impressive. A new electric platform, specialist factories and a deal to sell Ford its electric MEB ‘skateboard’ chassis, on which the ID range will be based, is very fast work.

Dieselgate broke almost exactly four years ago, with Volkswagen caught cheating in the US market, hiding the fact its cars could not meet strict US pollution laws.

The scandal rolled back to Europe where the cheating was less outrageous, but it was clear that a combination of inadequate EU lab testing and too-clever-by-half manufacturer tricks rather undermined diesel as the fuel that would help lower fleet CO2 levels while being affordable and offering long-range and brisk performance.