Paris Motor Show 2016 preview
The Paris Motor Show, also known as the Mondial de l’Automobile is probably the world’s biggest motor show. The doors are open to the public from 1-16 October 2016, but the press day is 29 September, just two weeks away.
This year is especially important to electric cars. The Tesla Model 3 has already over 400.000 paid reservations and GM is about to launch its “affordable” electric car with over 200 miles (323 km) range. The Chevrolet Bolt EV, is launched ten years after the release of the documentary film “Who Killed the Electric Car?”.
As always I purposely ignore cars that are more than one year away, so I won’t write about Volkswagen endless press releases that promise great electric cars for a distant and uncertain future.
Regarding electric cars, PHEVs will dominate the show, but I’ll focus on BEVs.
This is what I expect to see:
Opel Ampera-e will be the BEV star of the show, hands down.
Nissan Leaf arrived in late 2010 to set the standard, almost every BEV that came later had a similar range and cost. Now GM is doing the same, every new BEV will be compared to the Chevrolet Bolt EV and the Opel Ampera-e.
The Alliance is expected to show the facelifted Nissan Leaf and the Renault Zoe R400 with a new 43-45 kWh battery. Both EVs will be great cheaper alternatives to the star of the show, the Opel Ampera-e.
It’s also a good time to finally introduce a bigger battery to Renault Kangoo ZE and Nissan e-NV200 EVALIA. The electric vans should already be testing the 60 kWh battery that will be used in the second generation Leaf, but even the 43-45 kWh battery would be a great upgrade.
As a low cost electric car Renault should introduce the Twingo ZE, since the similar Smart ForFour ED will also be in Paris.
The new generation Nissan Micra will be unveiled. Why is this important? The new Micra will be ready to have electric and hybrid versions. We might see a Nissan Micra EV in 2017, it will share the cool factor with the Zoe, but that is lacking in the current Leaf.
BMW is happy selling the improved range BMW i3 and the electric scooter BMW C Evolution as its only BEV offers. The company is currently betting in PHEVs and we should see a lot of them displayed. As for new BEV models, they should arrive only in 2018. The i5 electric SUV is being prepared to be a Tesla Model X alternative. Also in 2018, we might see a MINI with BEV and PHEV variants.
In Paris Volkswagen will continue to show electric cars for a distant future, to undermine electric cars by stating that the technology isn’t ready yet, so the automaker can continue to sell polluting cars.
For the near future Volkswagen has battery upgrades planned for its entire fleet. In 2017 every Volkswagen plug-in car will have 37 Ah cells that replace 25-28 Ah cells that are currently used to make the battery packs.
For example the Volkswagen e-Golf will get a 35,8 kWh battery and a more powerful electric motor in January 2017. The EPA range should be around 124 miles (200 km), while the optimistic NEDC range will surpass 300 km.
The sister companies are primarily betting in hybrids. Hyundai will show its already known IONIQ car, while Kia will unveil the new 2017 Kia Soul EV with improved range. There is still no word about the range, but I think it will have a 36 kWh battery made with 192 SK Innovation 50 Ah cells (96s2p). This will be enough for 110 miles (177 km) EPA range, the NEDC range should be 250 km. If the Kia Soul EV gets a plus 40 kWh battery I’ll be pleasantly surprised.
We’ll finally get more details about Smart’s new electric cars. The Smart ForTwo ED and the Smart ForFour ED. Price, range and technical details should be available.
Mercedes-Benz B250e new battery will no longer be made by Tesla Motors with Panasonic cells. This electric car will get new generation cells made by SK Innovation, it would be great to know the future range.
This Japanese automaker is still in la la land with its hybrid and fuel cell cars. The best this automaker has to show is the Toyota Prius Plug-in, also known as the Toyota Prius Prime.
The 2017 Honda Clarity will be in Paris. This big car will have three variants: fuel cell, electric and plug-in hybrid. If Honda’s prices are fair, the electric version will be the cheapest and most popular.
Honda is releasing the fuel cell variant first, only later the electric and plug-in hybrid variants will come. This decision to first release the only variant that hasn’t the refueling infrastructure ready is ridiculous. What Honda should be doing is releasing an affordable Honda Fit EV with a 45-50 kWh battery.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA)
Once Fiat was popular in Europe, now it’s a dying automaker. I would really like to see the Fiat 500e be sold in Europe with a 35-40 kWh battery. What better way to bring an obsolete company back to life than emerging with new technology?!
Other big automakers such as PSA, Mitsubishi and Volvo were ignored because they don’t expect to introduce any BEV in the near future.
To consider the Paris Auto Show a successful display of cars, it must have cars that most Europeans like and buy. By this I mean superminis, not big SUVs or luxury cars. Finally, those superminis have to be battery electric vehicles (BEVs). I’ll be happy if these two requirements are fulfilled.
What do you want to be unveiled at Paris Motor Show 2016?