The Paris Motor Show has, and will see, the reveal and/or debut of a large number of electric vehicles (production and concept) by major French and German auto manufacturers that are clearly following in Tesla’s footsteps, and intend to position as competitors (whether in real life or just via PR).
How should someone interpret this?
Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, and others seem to simply be playing catchup to Tesla, and BMW is apparently even keeping its top execs elsewhere for a “rethink” on electric vehicles rather than having them attend the show, while also bumping up the BMW i3’s range.
Are the companies in question actually going to do anything solid? Is there too much of a profit incentive to continue putting a serious entrance into the EV world off? Is it sinking in that if they don’t, then they will lose significant market share in the coming years?
It’s interesting when you think about it that the industry show is featuring so many vehicles that are seemingly responses to Tesla’s offerings and plans, when Tesla doesn’t even seem to think that the show is that important. Something definitely seems to be shifting in the industry.
With regard to reveals and debuts in question, Automotive News provided a nice overview:
Mercedes-Benz said it will show a concept that “embodies its vision for a new range of purpose-built electric cars.” The brand did not reveal any more details ahead of the concept’s debut, but it’s expected to be an all-electric crossover based on the GLC with a range of 320 miles on one charge. Mercedes plans six new models with electric powertrains between 2018 and 2024. They won’t form a separate subbrand like BMW’s i marque, as some media reports have said, but will be a clearly recognizable product family delineated by a striking design and nomenclature, sources told Automobilwoche, a sibling publication of Automotive News.
Volkswagen will debut its first purpose-built EV. The near-production concept will preview an EV that VW says will be similar in size to its Golf compact hatchback with a range on a single charge of 250 to 300 miles. Its interior space rivals that of the Passat midsize model thanks to its new MEB (modular electrification kit) platform. It has been developed specifically for electric cars and packages the battery pack beneath the car’s floor. The EV will have a distinctive design to differentiate it from VW’s nonelectric cars. VW brand is expected to launch the car in early 2018 or 2019. It will be followed by other EVs, including a minivan based on the BUDD-e concept unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in January and a successor to the Phaeton sedan.
There’s also the Renault Trezor, and Renault’s announcement that the ZOE is getting a range boost to 400 kilometers (300 km in real-world driving).