Electric cars make a splash at Paris Motor Show

29 Sep 2016

The electric concept car Trezor. Image: Renault

The Paris Motor Show is one of the biggest car events of the year, with 2016 showing the surge in interest for electric vehicles. Volkswagen, Renault and Mercedes showed off their wares.

Electric cars, followed by autonomous cars, are the future. Hence, some of the keenest interest at the Paris Motor Show revolved around what may be coming down the line.

Last week, we saw that Tesla was getting sued, Nissan put a drone in with its latest electric pickup and Volkswagen built an electric van. This week, concepts were king.

Electric cars Paris Motor Show


The biggest reveal of all was Volkswagen’s first attempt at a fully electric car, ID. The concept vehicle was revealed today, with plans to get it on the streets by 2020, as a “compact” electric vehicle sold in “parallel with the Golf” in terms of both power and price.

This acts as the first of a new fleet of “zero-emission” EVs from Volkswagen ID, with a range of up to 600km. A newer version with fully autonomous driving mode will be released to consumers in 2025.

Given Volkswagen’s emissions-based activity in the media over the past year, that “zero” is a pretty juicy word for the German automobile giant.

Offering a new “spatial experience”, the car’s motor puts out 125kW of electricity, with hopes that Volkswagen can sell 1m electric cars a year by 2025.

The ID is Volkswagen’s first fully autonomous concept. “The ‘ID Pilot’ is activated by touching the VW logo on the steering wheel, which then disappears into the instrument panel and gives the driver an entirely new feeling of space.”


Rather than reinventing the wheel, Renault showed off a new and improved Zoe, doubling its original driving range up to 400km.

This is thanks to a new 41kW/hr battery pack, also almost double the power of previous versions.

“The new battery removes the final psychological barrier that stands in the way of buying an electric car, since Zoe users can now travel further and enjoy a wider variety of driving situations without worry[ing] about charging,” the company is quoted as saying in Green Car Reports. “This makes weekend trips a real possibility.”

Of course it did show of a concept of its own, a fully electric coupé called Trezor.

Renault Trezor electric car Paris Motor Show Renault Trezor electric car Paris Motor Show Renault Trezor electric car Paris Motor Show


Mercedes showcased its Generation EQ at Paris, too. Describing it as a car tailored for connected, autonomous, shared and electric capabilities, Mercedes says it’s different to previous models.

Headlamps and grill are all one digital display unit at the front of the car, with the design “voluptuous and full of volume”, according to Gordon Wagener, VP of design at Daimler AG.

The door unlocks via fingerprint sensor, with a very digital interior. The accelerator pedal sports a big ‘plus’ sign, with the brake a ‘minus’.

With a 500km range, the 24in screen on the dashboard is chock-full of tricks: 3D maps, music and ‘climate control’, all via touch screen devices.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic