The biennial Paris Motor Show closed its doors to the public on 16 October 2016, having attracted car enthusiasts from around the world. Since 2008, the Global Environmental Society has been promoting the concept of more environmentally friendly cars, and it seems that the car industry has finally caught on. There was a much heavier focus on green cars at this year’s Auto Salon than ever before, whilst several luxury brands, like Lamborghini and McLaren, were conspicuously absent.
Is this a sign that automakers, or rather the consumers they aim to please, are finally more committed to a sustainable future? Surely the Volkswagen diesel scandal and lower battery prices have played a role as well. Whatever the reasons, we are delighted to see green cars steal the stage this year, and have summarised the highlights.
Mercedes-Benz Generation EQ
Celebrating its world premiere at the Paris Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz unveiled its new product brand for electric mobility: EQ. The name stands for “Electric Intelligence” and encompasses all key aspects for customer-focused electric mobility and extends beyond the vehicle itself. EQ offers a comprehensive electric mobility ecosystem of products, services, technologies and innovations, ranging from electric vehicles to wallboxes and charging services to home energy storage units.
The concept vehicle, with the appearance of a sporty SUV coupé, gives a preview of a new generation of vehicles with battery-electric drives. The dynamic exterior design with its new electro-look underlines the focus on the powerful electric drive system: Two electric motors, with a system output that can be increased to up to 300 kW thanks to scalable battery components, and permanent all-wheel drive deliver the guarantee of dynamic high-level performance.
With a range of up to 500 kilometres and the typical Mercedes strengths of safety, comfort, functionality and connectivity, “Generation EQ” meets every demand in terms of contemporary, sustainable mobility. Also on the inside, the vehicle offers innovative solutions, including a completely new interior concept.
Volkswagen’s ID is the forerunner of a new range of all-electric cars. This new concept electric vehicle could be a smart way for the Volkswagen Group to bounce back from the diesel scandal. The concept ID is a Golf-sized five-door all-electric hatchback. It will have a 125kW motor and a 400-600km range, but as with the Mercedes Generation EQ concept, the powertrain it uses is scalable, meaning it can be adapted for use with larger or smaller electric vehicles in the future. Although this car is scheduled for a 2020 launch, VW aims to also make it available with full autonomous capabilities by 2025. According to VW, it will even receive parcels using a new delivery service if you’re not at home.
Opel’s premiere of the Ampera-e in Paris offers an impressive range of more than 500 kilometres (electric range), which is at least 100 km more than its nearest segment rival currently on the road. Effortless starts from a standing position (such as at traffic lights) or highway access are two of the Opel Ampera-e’s main strengths. The compact electric car covers the sprint from zero to 50 km/h in just 3.2 seconds, on par with sportscars. In addition, it completes mid-range acceleration from 80 to 120 km/h, which is especially important for overtaking, in just 4.5 seconds (provisional figures). The Ampera-e thus performs at the same level as OPC models, the sporty spearheads of Opel.
The unique, compact proportions of the Ampera-e are driven by the battery pack being mounted flat, under the vehicle floor. The efficient packaging of the battery also enables a roomy interior providing comfortable seating for five passengers and trunk space comparable with that of a five-door car in the compact class.
As the pioneer of all-electric mobility and Europe’s number one seller of electric vehicles, Renault has stepped up its innovation programme and the deployment of its Zero Emission strategy. Fitted with the new Z.E. 40 battery, the Renault ZOE now delivers a driving range of 400 kilometres, which is twice the distance from its original launch and one of the best of any mainstream all-electric vehicle available. At the same, ZOE owners can benefit from a range of new connected services and equipment upgrades. The new ZOE with the 40 battery will be available for delivery before the end of the year.
The Z.E. 40 battery’s charging rate is similar to that of the standard battery, so ‘topping up’ doesn’t take long at all. For example, just 30 minutes are required on average to charge the battery for an extra 80 kilometres of driving range when plugged into one of the many public charging points in operation in Europe. The ZOE continues to be equipped with the Quick Charge function to take full advantage of the maximum capacity of fast charging points located predominantly along motorway corridors.
The Trezor is a concept car infused with a fresh design philosophy. The two-seater electric coupé impresses with stylish lines both inside and out. The Trezor’s motor derives from the Renault e.dams, two-time winner of the Formula E Teams’ world title. With maximum power of 260kW (350hp) and peak torque of 380Nm, it provides acceleration from zero to 100km/h in less than four seconds.
The Trezor features two batteries, each of which has its own cooling system optimised by the variable-geometry air intake incorporated in the bonnet. Thanks to its batteries being located separately, one at the front and the other at the rear, the Trezor has optimal weight distribution. Its rear-wheel-drive system ensures that power is delivered to the road more efficiently to enhance driving pleasure.
The Rio is the Korean manufacturer’s global best-selling model, with more than 473,000 sold around the world in 2015, accounting for 16% of Kia’s annual sales. The new Rio is built on the outgoing model’s key strengths – design, low running costs and a practical nature – with higher desirability, a more enjoyable drive and some of the most advanced safety features in its class. It will offer motorists a modern new cabin design, featuring sculptural forms and a more ergonomic layout than its predecessor.
The Rio is powered by a range of gasoline and diesel engines. In particular, the Rio features Kia’s latest three-cylinder 1.0-liter T-GDI (turbo gasoline direct injection) engines, offering high efficiency and low emissions. The lightweight nature of the new downsized T-GDI engines means the Rio benefits from keen front-end handling, with less mass and inertia for the car to work against under cornering.
smart electric drive
The new smart electric drive makes opting into electric mobility more attractive than ever. This is because it combines the agility of the smart with local emission-free driving – the ideal combination for urban mobility. Fourth-generation electric driving pleasure can be experienced not only in the smart fortwo coupé and smart fortwo cabrio, but for the first time also in the four-seater smart forfour. In future smart will be the only car manufacturer worldwide to offer its model range with both combustion engines and pure battery-electric drive. The smart electric drive will celebrate its market launch in Europe in spring 2017.
Citroen New C3
Citroen’s New C3, with its perky, colourful personality, is a versatile hatchback. The design was guided throughout by the Citroën Advanced Comfort®. The seats are visually as well
as physically comfortable, the panoramic sunroof floods the passenger compartment in light, the storage features are clever, and space is generously allocated.
New C3 brings up-to-the-minutes technologies, starting with the world première of Citroën ConnectedCam™, a fully integrated and connected HD camera system that films your on-the-road experience for immediate sharing on the social network or for subsequent viewing (or as evidence in the event of an incident, for example). Advanced driver assistance systems include: 3D connected navigation with speech recognition, reversing camera, lane departure alert, and blind spot monitoring. The efficiency of New C3 also extends to a full range of high-performance, high-efficiency engines (PureTech petrol, BlueHDi diesel) and the EAT6 latest-generation automatic transmission.
A new EV luxury sport car was unveiled by the new GLM product line. It signals a fresh start into the automotive upmarket scenario, introducing a high-end electric car to the international market.
System total output is above 1000Nm and 540PS (400kW) with a twin motor application that allows lively splitting torque depending on the driving mode. As a result, the vehicle accelerates 0-100km/h in less than 3.7 seconds and allows cruising at 250km/h.