Impressions From Mondial de Paris #MondialParis

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The Paris Motor Show, “Mondial de Paris,” started a day early with a pre-show symposium for a select public: “Tomorrow in Motion.” Even a few journalists were invited, yours truly not among them. But the whole 5 hour happening was live on YouTube. Arriving early in the hotel near Paris and with pencil and paper in hand, the CleanTechnica delegation was ready for it. As a French organized mondial event, half of the presentations were in French. That means that I have no notion what they were about.

The important presentations were the keynotes from the two car CEOs of France, Carlos Ghosn (Renault) and Carlos Tavares (PSA). Each announced as having a “free pass” to present their vision of the future of automobiles and mobility, it was highly anticipated by your critical cleantech reporters. To make sure it was within the confines the organizers thought appropriate, there was a moderator and an extra guest to guide them on their use of their “free pass.”

Nevertheless, Carlos Ghosn did not disappoint. He was clearly the only guest who knew what he was talking about when he started by correcting the moderator that the EV revolution was not coming, but happened 10 years ago when the first EV from Nissan, Renault, and a certain Californian startup entered the market.

Carlos Tavares was asked about the future more than a decade out, something not even Tony Seba would waste much time on. He showed he did give it a lot of thought, but there are just too many possible tomorrows.

An hour after the symposium at the attic above the conference hall Carlos Ghosn showed the greatest news of the week to a handful of journalists. The Renault K-ZE is the first truly low-cost practical EV by a mainstream carmaker ready for volume production next year.

Renault K-ZE revealed in Paris, entering production 2019 in China.

The next day on the exhibition floor the Renault press conference was a swirling show without any interesting content. They did have the normal collection of far-out concept cars. It was without a doubt the press conference with the largest attendance, but all the interesting revelations were made the day before in a press release. The most frustrating part of the Renault exhibition was the omission of the new K-ZE. Announced the day before, hidden from the press at the press conference.

The promised three electrified models (PHEV) of the current best-sellers were also conspicuously missing. I have been to three car shows for CleanTechnica now — Frankfurt, Geneva, and Paris. Three times, the Renault press conference was about a far-out concept car, and any substance was announced ahead of the show and not shown at the show. I feel peopled by Renault. This is no way to treat serious press.

I will write a lot about Renault and Carlos Ghosn in another article. But there is nothing important to tell about Renault from the Mondial de Paris.

After Renault, it was Citroën’s turn for a press event. It did not even pretend that it had anything to tell the press. It was a very loud video presentation that was dangerous to people susceptible to migraines or epileptic seizures. There was no text, just sounds and flashing lights. Time for coffee.

How to do it right was next shown by Kia. After a short introduction the new Kia e-Niro was introduced. It was described as a small SUV with a 485 km range. And instead of unveiling the car on a podium, the presentation switched to a location during the early morning in the Auvergne, about 485 kilometer from the exposition halls. The car was introduced by its driver and then started on its journey to Paris, suggesting it could reach the noon press conference in time. I don’t know whether they made it to Paris that day, without any charging on the way. If they did it, they probably used some hypermiling to get that distance without running out of charge. But it was a great demonstration about what they think the car can do.

The last press event was Audi. It proudly did show its e-Tron 55 Quatro, and the amazing concept sport car. Professional, informative, with seats for the press to sit on and water to drink. It was to us the most entertaining press show.

Audi clearly knew what they were in Paris for, the Audi e-tron 55 quatro.

Now it was time to walk the floor. There were a lot of interesting electric cars to see. The Hyundai (Beauty) and Peugeot (Beast) concepts that were close to real cars, a BMW iX3 concept mockup, the real DS 3 crossback, the Hyundai Ioniq and Kona, Smart EQ series, Audi e-Tron, Mercedes EQC, E-Moke electric buggies, and the long anticipated Porsche Taycan.

Oooops, something went wrong. At the Porsche stand, there were a lot of 911 classics in model year 2019 dress, but when I asked where I could find its car of the future, the people looked at me like I was not completely right in the head. Nobody at the information desk new what I was talking about. This was Porsche, just showing their next incarnation of a real car. They nearly laughed us off their stand.

The three Musketeers — 508, 508SW, 3008.

Also missing was the Peugeot 208 electric drive. Besides the Beast, Peugeot was showing three new PHEV versions of the 3008, 508, and 508 SW.

The 3008 even had a 4 wheel drive with a second electric motor at the rear axle, but there is enough exciting news about fully electric cars that we feel justified to skip the hybrids. We were promised that the fully electric Peugeot 208 would be at the show in Geneva next year, with availability expected in 2020. Keeping the 208 for the next show is a bit disappointing to me, but very understandable.

Related: The Beauty & The Beast At #MondialParis

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Maarten Vinkhuyzen

Grumpy old man. The best thing I did with my life was raising two kids. Only finished primary education, but when you don’t go to school, you have lots of time to read. I switched from accounting to software development and ended my career as system integrator and architect. My 2007 boss got two electric Lotus Elise cars to show policymakers the future direction of energy and transportation. And I have been looking to replace my diesel cars with electric vehicles ever since. At the end of 2019 I succeeded, I replaced my Twingo diesel for a Zoe fully electric.

Maarten Vinkhuyzen has 280 posts and counting. See all posts by Maarten Vinkhuyzen