There Were Tons of EVs and Hybrids in Paris This Year
This is the eco-friendly side of the Paris Motor Showby Ciprian Florea, on
Hybrids and EVs were a rare breed a couple of decades ago and finding them at major auto shows was a difficult mission. But things have changed as all major automakers are making big efforts toward electrification and auto shows are packed with eco-friendly vehicles. The 2018 Paris Motor is solid proof of that, with more than ten hybrids and EVs on display.
Granted, many of them are still in concept form, but the majority of these show cars will make it into production in a couple of years, while others will inspire future products. Let’s take a closer look at the most important hybrids and EVs from this year’s Paris Motor Show.
Continue reading for the full story.
The fifth-generation Toyota RAV4 went into production just a few months ago. The Japanese firm didn’t waste any time and introduced a hybrid version at the Paris Motor Show. Virtually identical to the standard model, the crossover looks better than ever. It’s more angular cues give it a sportier look, while the front and rear fascia feel a bit more imposing.
More importantly, there’s a new hybrid system to talk about.
The powertrain combines a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 222 horsepower, 25 more than the old model, and an electric motor integrated into the all-wheel-drive system.
Toyota says this layout reduces weight and lowers fuel consumption while providing better performance on slippery roads. It also features a new automatic limited-slip differential control in Trail Mode. The hybrid SUV sprints to 62 mph in 8.1 seconds and needs an expected 4.5 liters of fuel per 100 km. That converts to around 52.3 U.S. mpg.
Check our more news on the 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.
This isn’t exactly a car, but a technology that we will find in future vehicles. The good news is that Mazda confirmed there will be a new rotary engine.
The bad news is that the Wankel mill will be used as a range extender and not as a main rig.
Part of the company’s new "Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030" program, the Wankel will arrive in 2019, when Mazda is planning to launch its first all-electric vehicles. One of them will use the rotary unit as a range extender.
There isn’t much info to run by, but it’s a new concept for production cars. Sure, it’s a bit disappointing that we won’t get a rotary-powered successor to the RX-7, but at least Mazda is still thinking out of the box. According to the firm, "the rotary engine’s small size and high power output make multiple electrification technology solutions possible via a shared packaging layout." The car in question will likely compete against the Renault ZOE in the city car segment.
Check out more news on the Mazda rotary engine range extender
The EQC was unveiled before the Paris Motor Show, but it came to France to showcase its unique exterior and EV drivetrain. About the same size as the GLC, the EQC stands out thanks to its bespoke front fascia and wheels.
Mercedes developed a new drivetrain specifically for this SUV, pairing two electric motors configured differently in order to reduce power consumption.
Specifically, the front motor was optimized to drive the SUV with the best possible efficiency in the low to medium load range, while the rear motor kicks in when you floor the pedal for spirited driving. Powered by a new-generation Lithium-ion battery made from 384 cells, the motors generate 402 horsepower and up to 564 pound-feet of torque together. Located deep into the floor to help save room inside the cabin, the battery has a modular design with two modules with 48 cells each and four clusters with 72 cells each. The EQC brings Mercedes into a new era that will see many more EVs hit the market into the future.
Read our full review on the 2019 Mercedes-Benz EQC.
Smart may be a small company with just a handful of models, but it’s been playing in the electric car market since 2007, when it began testing the Fortwo EV. More than 10 years later and it’s still selling electric cars, like the EQ Fortwo, and developing new ones. The Forease is the company’s latest effort in the field. Although only a concept car for now, it proves that EVs don’t need to be big in order to be cool.
Based on the latest Fortwo, the Forease is a funky but gorgeous little roadster with speedster-style rollover hoops, aerodynamics wheels, headlamps with LED lights shaped like tiger claws.
It’s an urban fashion statement with zero emissions. Smart used the EQ Fortwo’s drivetrain for this one, pairing an 80-horsepower electric motor to a 17.6-kWh battery pack. It delivers 100 miles of range on a full charge, which isn’t bad at all given the size and purpose of the vehicle.
Read our full review on the 2018 Smart Forease Concept.
Having already announced plug-in version of the popular Clio, Megane, and Captur, Renault also began working on expanding its small lineup of electric vehicles. The K-ZE Concept previews its first crossover EV.
Based on the Renault Kwid on the outside, the K-ZE has a more striking front fascia and rides on bigger concept wheels.
It won’t look like this when it goes into production, but it’s definitely cute to look at.
Renault didn’t have much to say about its electric motor and battery, but mentioned that the drivetrain provides a 155-mile range on a single charge. However, this figure is based on the old NEDC testing framework and not the new WLTP guidelines. The all-electric SUV will go on sale in China in 2019, with European deliveries likely to follow in 2020.
Read our full review on the 2018 Renault K-ZE Concept
While it’s name suggests a different version of the performance-oriented Yaris GRMN, the GR Sport is actually a regular hybrid with some unique features and chassis tweaks. The first GR Sport model launched in Europe, this Yaris features the same hybrid drivetrain as the standard hatchback, which pairs a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor. The combo develops 99 horsepower, versus the GRMN’s 209-horsepower rating.
Thankfully, the GR Sport comes with a few highlights, like exclusive 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza tires and performance upgrades to the chassis.
The suspension now features Sachs Performance dampers and a solid anti-roll bar for added rigidity. The hatchback sits 11 mm (0.43 inches) closer to the ground compared to the standard Yaris. Inside the cabin you’ll find GR-branded seats, the sports steering wheel of the GT86 model, and "GR" logos on the digital instrument cluster.
Check out more news on the 2019 Toyota Yaris GR Sport
Unlike other cars in this list, the i4 wasn’t revealed at the 2018 Paris Motor Show. That’s because the i4 doesn’t exist yet.
Instead, BMW used the event to confirm that the electric vehicle will arrive in 2021 to round off an all-electric vehicle lineup consisting of five models.
It’s not yet clear whether the i4 will replace the i3 or not, but it will have a more conventional four-door design.
We know this because the i4 was actually previewed by the i Vision Dynamic Concept at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. The sleek concept runs from standstill to 62 mph in four seconds and up to a top speed of at least 120 mph. BMW says the concept has a range of up to 373 miles on a single charge. We already made a rendering of what the i4 might look like so make sure you check out our speculative review.
Read our full speculative review on the BMW i4
One of the most popular sedans in North America, the Toyota Camry has been missing from European dealerships for more than a decade now. This will change in 2019, when Toyota will bring it to Western Europe to replace the Avensis.
The sedan made its European debut in Paris with a hybrid drivetrain.
Based on the XV70-generation model launched in 2017, the Camry Hybrid is just as sleek as its standard sibling, featuring Lexus-inspired features inside and out. The new sedan also climbed a few steps higher on the premium ladder, offering more upscale features than ever.
Under the hood, a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor team up to offer solid fuel efficiency, low emissions, and quiet operation. Total output comes in at 215 horsepower and 163 pound-feet. It’s not exactly sporty in this setup, as it needs 8.3 seconds to hit 62 mph and tops out at 112 mph, but it’s one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in its class. Specifically, it needs only 4.2 liters of gas to run for 100 km on average. Needless to say, it’s great to see the Camry return to Europe after 14 years.
Read our full review on the 2018 Toyota Camry.
The C5 Aircross isn’t exactly a new vehicle. It was introduced in 2017 and it’s being built in China, in the same factory as the Peugeot 4008 and 5008. However, the hybrid version showcased in Paris is as new as they get. Although it’s just a concept for now, it looks ready to go into production as is.
Essentially identical to the regular model inside and out, the Aircross Hybrid is the company's first-ever plug-in hybrid.
The drivetrain provides a combined out of 222 horsepower, sent to the wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The battery, placed under the floor, returns an all-electric range of 31 miles and pushes the SUV to a top speed of 83 mph. The concept will become a production model in 2019, when it will be offered in European dealerships.
Check out more news on the Citroen C5 Aircross Hybrid Concept
The E-Legend is one of the most spectacular concept cars shown in Paris.
Although it was built by a rather conservative company, the E-Legend looks like a full-blown muscle car, a rare image for European automakers.
The concept seems to be a throwback to classic coupe from the late 1960s, like the 504, but it’s significantly more aggressive compared to almost everything Peugeot has designed so far. While the styling reminds me a bit of the Ford Mustang, it has a unique flair that only French carmakers can summon.
The interior is pretty spectacular too, mostly because it includes no fewer than 16 screens. There are 29-inch displays in the door panels and 12-inch screens in the sunshades. Peugeot says the fully electric drivetrain generates 456 horsepower to all four wheels. The 0 to 62 mph sprint takes less than four seconds. More impressively, Peugeot claims a range of 370 miles and fast charging that will let you top up more than 80 percent of the battery in only 25 minutes. Let’s hope these spectacular claims will go into production.
Read our full review on the 2018 Peugeot E-Legend Concept
The DS3 Crossback broke cover back in September and came to Paris to show off to a wider audience. Sporting a daring, fancy design specific to the luxury brand owned by PSA, the Crossback takes the DS3 hatchback to a new level by adding new styling cues, bigger wheels, and a taller ride height. The big news is the E-Tense version, which is identical to the gasoline and diesel Crossback inside and out, but with an electric drivetrain under the skin.
The electric motor isn't particularly powerful at 136 horsepower, but charging to 62 mph takes 8.7 seconds, which isn't bad at all.
The 50-kWh battery provides a maximum range of 186 miles and it can be charged to 80-percent capacity in only 80 minutes. Use a wallbox charger at home and you can charge the entire battery in five hours. Expect the E-Tense to go on sale in Europe in mid-2019.
Read our full review on the 2019 Citroen DS3 Crossback
By far the most futuristic concept displayed in Paris, the EZ-Ultima isn’t your regular daily driver.
The long and streamlined vehicle that appears to have no windows is a fully autonomous car that takes you wherever you need to go without owning it. In short, it's a robo-vehicle destined to work through a rental service.
However, instead of providing taxi-like services, it was designed to offer a premium experience. And you can notice this as soon as you take a look inside the cabin, where Renault added a swiveling chair, a couch, and luxury appointments.
There’s not much info about the drivetrain, but the EZ-Ultimo has an electric motor and Level 4 autonomy, which means it can by itself without any input from a driver. It has active suspension and four-wheel steering. Will it go into production? Not very soon, but expect to find something similar on the road when fully autonomous cars become the norm. That’s probably at least a decade away, though.
Check out more news on the Renault EZ-Ultimo
Unlike some wild concepts here, the Vision RS looks like it could make it into production soon.
Described as "a look ahead at a future Skoda model in the popular compact segment," this concept could preview a hot-hatchback version of the next-generation Rapid or a competitor for the Volkswagen Golf GTI and the Ford Focus ST. A first for Skoda, the Vision RS is a plug-in hybrid.
The Czech firm paired a 1.5-liter gasoline engine rated at 150 PS (148 horsepower) and a 75-kW electric motor. Total output is rated at 245 PS (242 horsepower). Skoda says the Vision RS needs 7.1 seconds to hit 62 mph on its way to a top speed of 210 km/h (130 mph). Powered by a 13-kWh battery, it can run on electricity only for up to 70 km (around 44 miles). The battery can be charged in only two and a half hours. We definitely need a production version of this car.
Read our full review on the 2018 Skoda Vision RS