Paris Motor Show preview: highlights so far

September 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Quick round-up of the upcoming highlights (for me, anyway) at the Paris Motor Show, which opens 29th September. How cute is this? The Smart Forstars is a longer-wheelbase, wider-bodied concept based on the  Brabus electric-drive (60kW motor). It’s got more luggage space than the current Fortwo and looks like a much more usable proposition. Could probably live without the smartphone/rear-view camera in place of a trusty mirror, but the media system with a Bluetooth/iPhone-driven video projector is a nice touch – park up in front of a blank wall and screen a film show, soundtracked via a powerful set of speakers. Apparently the battery’s heavy-duty enough to handle all of this. Full picture gallery and more details here. And btw, the Fortwo has just gone through crash tests by ADAC and was the only car of its size to protect the driver against life-threatening chest injuries in an offset frontal impact. More on that here.

  • Mercedes-Benz is previewing the B-Class Electric Drive: more here. 100kW, 229 lb ft of torque, a range of 200km, fast-charging compatibility, on sale 2014.
  • Citroen is showing an electrified DS3 concept: the Electrum, with two 65kW motors and fast-charging, though a range of only 75 miles. More practically, there’s the Numero 9 concept (first seen at Beijing) which previews new C/D-sector models in the DS line – this is a 295bhp plug-in hybrid putting out 39g/km and offering an all-electric range of 50km. Citroen will also be talking about its Multicity mobility concept: this includes a car-share scheme using the C-Zero EV, already up and running in Berlin, and the French pilot trials have just been expanded to add peer-to-peer car hire and carpooling.
  • Nissan is showing  a hydrogen fuel cell concept called TeRRA: this uses e-drive tech from the Leaf, plus motors in each of the rear wheels, and is said to be production-ready. It’s an SUV-style vehicle mid-way between the Juke and Qashqai in size. More here.
  • Am liking the Peugeot Onyx concept: a sleek supercar with a 600bhp hybrid powertrain (3.7 V8 diesel engine plus KERS, giving an extra 80bhp on-demand boost) and a polished-copper/carbonfibre body, developed from Peugeot’s Le Mans car. The dashboard material is derived from recycled newspapers and the interior upholstery from compressed felt. Unlikely to make production, but there will be Onyx-inspired/branded bikes and scooters.
  • BMW is showing a front-wheel drive, plug-in hybrid mini-MPV concept called Active Tourer, based on upcoming Mini underpinnings. Powertrain’s a 1.5-litre theee-cylinder petrol engine plus e-motor (driving the rear wheels) giving a total 188bhp, combined 113mpg-plus, less than 60g/km of CO2 and an electric-only range of up to 18 miles.
  • Korea’s Ssangyong has a concept called e-XIV, a mini-SUV with a range-extended powertrain and roof-mounted solar cells. Mitsubishi is (finally) launching the Outlander PHEV plug-in hybrid. Lexus has confirmed the LF-LC hybrid coupe concept (see below) and Infiniti the LE (ditto).

Paris Motor Show: Lotus City Car

October 4, 2010 § Leave a comment

Here’s a standalone picture of the most relevant of all the Lotus prototypes, if not the most spectacular-looking. The City Car, one of the Proton EMAS trio, is a serious contender for production, but Lotus is said to be looking for a joint-venture partner to make it happen. It’s the upmarket model of the EMAS cars, and a potential rival for the Aston Martin Cygnet  – and basically, it’s a handy way for Lotus to bring down its corporate average CO2 output and to flog an auxilliary runaround to its sports car customers. It features the 1.2-litre, three-cylinder ‘Omnivore’ engine as a range-extender, has an all-in range of 500km, an all-electric range of 60km and a respectable 0-60 time of nine seconds, plus a top speed of 170kph; overall CO2 emissions stand at 60g/km.

Paris Motor Show: Lotus Eterne

October 4, 2010 § Leave a comment

Pics of the six Lotus prototypes unveiled in Paris are all over the web by now (apologies for tardiness, but y’know, paid work takes precedence) and I’m not exactly convinced by all their eco-credentials,  so I’ll keep this brief: Eterne. Four-door saloon, on lengthened Elite underpinnings. Like Elite and new Esprit, gets KERS option (Kinetic Energy Recovery System). Plus supercharged 5.0 V8, possibly Lexus-sourced. Production planned for 2015, if Lotus’s owner Proton, which is pumping money into the British firm, doesn’t get cold feet or run out of cash itself.

Paris Motor Show: Venturi America EV Dune Buggy

October 4, 2010 § Leave a comment

Now this looks fun. French EV-maker, consultancy and aftermarket converter Venturi has built this two-seater Dune Buggy (a high-riding open sports car) with the specific aim of launching it in America – and it’s opened a Stateside HQ in Columbus, Ohio, to sell it. The Buggy, designed by Sacha Lakic, has the same 300bhp/380Nm motor and 54kW battery pack as the 2011 Fetish coupe (see below), and promises a 300km range, presumably cross-country.

Paris Motor Show: Venturi Fetish

October 4, 2010 § Leave a comment

Venturi has been doing the electric supercar thing longer than most, but has only made 10 examples of the Fetish, first seen in 2004. It’s planning to up production to ten a year now, however, and has lowered the price tag to a marginally more accessible E300,000 to entice buyers. For 2011, the Fetish has a revised nose and interior, a new rear spoiler plus a new battery pack and a 295bhp motor said to give 200kph and 0-60 in four seconds. Range is upped to 340km.

Paris Motor Show: Renault DeZir

September 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

The first concept styled for Renault under new design boss Laurens van den Acker, the DeZir’s intended to preview future work from Renault’s studios. Buzzwords for its genesis were “simple”, “sensuous” and “warm”, and it’s certainly prettier than some of Patrick Le Quement’s creations. Anyway, the key points of interest for DTF are its KERS-style energy recovery system and its 150bhp/226Nm electric drivetrain, capable of a 100-mile range, 112mph, and 0-62 in five seconds.

Paris Motor Show: Renault Twizy

September 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

Renault is now taking orders for the Twizy, an electric quadricycle with open bodywork. The Twizy, built in Spain, delivers 20bhp/57Nm, and can carry two, the passenger sitting bike-style behind the driver. It can be driven within a full driving licence in some countries and will do up to 47mph (limited to 28mph in some countries), and has a 60-mile range. Its roofed structure offers more crash protection than a scooter, along with its four-wheeled stability, and equipment includes a driver’s airbag and four-point harness, and a three-point seatbelt for the rear passenger. Billed as a commuter vehicle, it has up to 55 litres of luggage capacity as well. Renault is offering it with a monthly subscription to cover battery rental and associated services, as with the Fluence and Kangoo ZE.

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