In a climate of economic austerity in which European car sales have declined over the past few years, the renewable and other emerging technologies on display during the recent 2012 Paris Motor Show offered a glimmer of hope.
The two-week event that ended on October 14 featured the latest in electric vehicle and hybrid technology. Automakers, like BMW, that have been slow to enter the hybrid and EV markets, showed off concept vehicles while others demonstrated the latest technologies for squeezing more miles and kilometers out of each gallon or liter of gas.
Click on the image below to see some of the cars on display at the show.
The BMW i8 Concept can run on electric power alone. The energy supplied by the application-designed battery (installed between the front and rear axles) to the electric motor at the front axle gives the BMW i8 Concept an all-electric driving range of about 20 miles. The battery can be fully recharged in two hours in a standard power socket.
Anne, when crude oil pricings are rising up, obliviously peoples will look for vehicles with alternate energy source. As of now EV is the only alternate source and in coming years more and more alternate energy sources may be identified. Very recently I had read an article in EE times that in some university researchers had produced petroleum from Air. Such alternative energy sources will be helpful for automobile business.
I love looking at the concept cars. BMW always offers something to drool over. Peugeot and Infiniti did a good job too. I'd drive an Onyx!
This slide show specifically shows only the electrics but it would be nice to see what else is at the show.
Outside of the concept cars, I don't see any interesting designs. I'm the last person to wax nostalgic about the 50's or 60's but at least the cars made a statement. Designers brought (or were allowed to bring) a unique look and feel to cars.
One thing that strikes me is that most of these cars are small and underpowered. I point this out becuase we have seen the sale of elecric and hybrid vehicles slow down. This is partly becuase of the economy (EVs and hybrids require a much higher up front payment) and partly because they do not provide what people seem to want. Believe it or not, sales of SUVs and crossovers have risen in Europe. Even with their high gas prices this class of vehicle is becoming more popular. I prefer more of an aerodynamic car myself, but I am not typical, it seems.
I am most dissiapointed in BMW and Mercedes Benz. Their market is not price sensitive. Fuel economy is not important to their customers. The battery on the SLS-AMG in slide 20 is outrageous. The battery in the Tesla Roadster, with comparable performance, is 75% of the battery in this car. They are going the wrong way.
Peugot has some of the best in new technology. In slide 22 the sports car they show has some great high-tech materials and performance that might be of interest to a wider audience. The crossover in slide 24 has reasonable horsepower for once.
I agree with Rob: Great slideshow, Anne. It's interesting to see how many of these EVs are concept cars. Concept cars give the automakers a chance to dip a toe in the water and enhance their images at the same time by showing off environmentally-conscious vehicle designs.
I agree with you, Naperlou, but we're unfortunately seeing that EVs and plug-in hybrids are a better fit for the luxury segment, largely because lithium-ion batteries are so expensive. I would hate to think how much the 60-kWh battery in the Mercedes SLS AMG costs.
Rob, we are already there. I'd venture to guess that Europe will be leading the "charge" in this arena since their standard electricity is already 240 volt. There is no question about performance. Look at this month's Motor Trend and see how the Tesla S Faired with the Porsche, BMW M5, and Mercedes 100k cars.
Hard for me to believe anyone would mention "underpowered" as these cars are hitting 0-60 in under 4 seconds.
Whether you want to believe it or not, EVs are HERE to stay this time!
It looks like naperlou strikes out with the statement that most of these cars are small and underpowered... and to relate that to the sale of electric and hybrid cars makes little sense. The people that read the blurbs at the bottom clearly saw the incredible speed and power of some of the vehicles. Others, that push the boundries of distance use less power and get lighter. You think a Chevy volt or the BMW and many other HEVs and Electrics would disagree vehemently that these cars are underpowered. Electric car technology is the future of car design, and this show proves it. There will be many ways to get the electricity to run the cars, but the simplicity of electric will lead to less expensive cars that just don't have the kind of breakdowns, failures and maintenance costs of ICE based autos. For now, we will continue to stick ICE engines in them to increase distance issues, until we find better ways to store the power we need, even though many Americans work within the range of available electrics.
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